Mr James William Cheetham Witter
Mr James William Chatham Witter, 31, was born in Aughton, Lancashire on 3 June 1880
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 56 Porchester Rd., Woolston, (Hampshire). He had transferred from the Olympic. As second class smoke room steward Witter received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Witter was on duty in the smoke room at the time of the collision, and at the request of some passengers there, he went to investigate. Somehow he ended up taking "Scotland Road" and he encountered the joiner John Hutchinson, who told Witter "The bloody mail room is Full." Moments later, saloon steward William Moss told him "It's really serious, Jim".
Later on, Witter went on deck and helped to load some of the boats. While assisting with lifeboat 11, he stood on the rail trying to help a hysterical woman who was thrashing about, she lost her footing and fell, Witter grabbed hold of her to stop her fall and they both tumbled into the boat. The officer in command (probably Murdoch) ordered Witter to remain in the boat which was in the process of being lowered.
On 10 July 1912 James Witter signed-ion to the Oceanic. He continued to go to sea for many more years with the White Star Line and then with Cunard White Star, serving on many of the great transatlantic liners of the 20's 30's and post war including the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
Witter assisted Walter Lord when he wrote A Night To Remember, but he rarely spoke of the Titanic as the horror of the whole incident was burned into his memory and he was haunted by it for the rest of his life.
He passed away in Southampton in 1961 at the age of 80. In his final hours of life he was only partially coherant with hallucinations; the events of April 1912 were being recalled right up to the time of his last breath.
References and Sources
Philip Hind (Editor)
Chris Dohany, USA
Inger Sheil, UK
Kerri Sundberg, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
John Witter, Canada (grandson of James Witter)
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr James William Cheetham Witter
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