Mr Frederick Dent Ray
One of 104 employed to work the main dining saloon, located five decks down, amidships; his duties onboard included waiting tables and seeing generally to the saloon.
Captain Smith often came into the main saloon for his meals but Ray didn't see him on the night of the sinking (Smith dined that night in the À la Carte Restaurant). He later stated that "Captain Smith's personal waiter, a man named Phainten (Arthur Paintin) I believe was his name, did not survive the night. He was last seen on the bridge standing next to the Captain."
During the voyage Ray recalled having served Major Butt, Mr Millet, Mr Moore and Mr Walter Miller and Mrs Clark among others. That Sunday night, Mr Millet and Mr Moore dined together at 7:30 and finished about 8:15. After his shift ended at 9:00, Ray had retired to his room, No, 3 on E deck where he bunked with 27 others, and was asleep when the collision occurred. "A kind of movement that went backward and forward - I thought something had gone wrong in the engine room." He was just about to drift off again when two stewards came in - Dodd being one of them - and told everyone to get to the lifeboats.
After getting dressed, Ray made his way up to C deck where a second steward told him to get a lifebelt. After checking five staterooms for passengers, Ray found no one but did locate a lifebelt. After giving the belt to the second steward, Ray then went to his assigned station, lifeboat 9. After seeing it swung out and feeling the sting of the cold, he then returned to his room for an overcoat. By this time, E deck forward was under water. As he went up the main stariway, he saw Mr Rothschild coming out of his stateroom on C deck. "I spoke to him and asked him where his wife was. He said she had gone off in a boat. I said, 'This is rather serious.' He said, 'I don't think there's any occasion for it.'" Then the two men casually walked up to A deck where Ray went back to lifeboat 9. After assisting in it's loading, Ray then went to lifeboat 11, worked in it and then on to 13 - the latter was about half full. "They (those in charge) said 'A few of you get in here'".
Washington Dodge was at this boat, asking for information about his wife. An officer informed him she had gone away in one of the earlier boats. Ray then told Dodge, "I said, 'You had better get in here, then.' I got behind him and pushed him and I followed." Ray, from inside the boat, persuaded a large women who was crying and fearful of open boats, to also come in. Just after that, someone tossed a small child wrapped in a blanket to Ray, who fortunately caught it. Then, as the lifeboat was being lowered, Ray noticed a large hole in the side of the ship, two feet wide with a solid mass of water spewing from it. Fearful the lifeboat would be swamped, he yelled for the lowering to be halted. Then, using oars and lowering at the same time, the men in the boat were able to finally get to the water. Once there, however, they could not get free of the lines until someone called for a knife. One was produced and they were able to free up 13. As if this weren't enough, at this same time, another lifeboat, 15, was being lowered and because of the aftward drift of 13, Ray's lifeboat was now right under 15 and about to be crushed. He yelled out just in time for the men on deck to stop lowering the boat. "We pushed out from the side of the ship. Nobody seemed to take command of the boat so we elected a fireman (Barrett) to take charge." They then rowed at intervals during the night with very little panic or excitement in the boat.
Among the people in the 13, Ray could only identify a steward (William Wright) and, of course, Mr Dodge. Among the 60+ people in the boat, he did recognize another steward, a baker and four or five firemen, the rest were passengers. "There was one Japanese...I remember very well."
When they were picked up by the Carpathia, Ray recounted he saw an overturned collapsible but there was no one on it by this time. He also later stated at the U S Senate Hearings that "No woman touched the tiller, sir, through the night and no woman touched an oar." He also stated that he wanted to wait before rowing away from the Titanic, "I wanted to stand by the ship but, of course, my voice was not much against the others."
Ray later left the sea and took up poultry farming, he died in Essex, England on 15 January 1977.
Philip Hind (Editor)
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Name: Mr Frederick Dent Ray
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