Mr Frederick Clench
Mr Frederick Clench, 31, of 10, The Flats, Chantry Road, Southampton, had been 19 years at sea, 16 as an able bodied seaman. He completed 6 voyages aboard the Olympic before transferring to the Titanic.
At the time of the collision, he was asleep in his bunk and awoke to "a crunching and jarring sound." He jumped up, went up to the well deck and "saw a lot of ice." Then, after he finished getting dressed, he went to the forecastle deck and "had a smoke." Then, as ordered, he helped uncover lifeboat 11, after which he went port side to work on 16 - he was in the boat, fixing the plug, when it was swung out. He jumped out and aided Second Officer Lightoller with 14, where they put in women and children. He recalled that they loaded three boats.
He reported to the Senate inquiry that there had been no boat drills on the Titanic. Also, that fifth Officer Lowe fired his gun three times as the boats were being filled to frighten off the men trying to rush the boats. He fired "straight down into the water."
Then, when only one crewman was found in 12, Clench was ordered into the boat and lowered into the water. An officer (he couldn't identify) ordered him to row away from the ship and "keep an eye on 14 where Lowe was and keep together as much as we could." He recalled there were about 14 or 15 in his boat plus two seaman; in Lowe's boat, about 50.
"A Frenchman jumped in our boat and we could not find him." After rowing out about a quarter of a mile from the Titanic, they laid on their oars and stood by. Lowe made fast to their boat and transferred some passengers into his boat. Afterward, Clench stated, there were about 60 in his boat. He also stated that he didn't see anyone swimming or floating, "no one in the water whatsoever, whether alive or dead."
He watched the Titanic go down but could not say if it broke in half. He heard two explosions - after the second one the lights went out. Then after the ship went under, "There were awful cries and yelling and shouting and that. I told the women in the boat to keep quiet and consoled them a bit. I told them it was the men in the boats shouting out to the others to keep them from getting away from one another." Later, he heard an officer's whistle and found Mr Lightoller. They took 10 into the boat, making it 70 in boat 12.Inquiry Testimony
(Courtesy of the Titanic Inquiry Project)
United States Senate Hearings, 25th April, 1912, Testimony of Frederick Clench
Philip Hind (Editor)
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr Frederick Clench
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