Atlantic

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Bob Godfrey

Member
Well, Mary, to be more specific this thread is for discussions about the film 'Atlantic', but we're getting there!
Smile


Fred Fleet's evidence:
US Senate Inquiry: He just asked me what did I see. I told him an iceberg right ahead.
British Inquiry: Then they said, "What do you see?" I said, "Iceberg right ahead".

You can get plenty of answers about the orchestra right here - look for the link on the ET home page (centre column).

Phillips - there's no short answer. Suffice it to say that that the balance of evidence is against the notion that he was on the boat.

Guggenheim's mistress Mme Aubart escaped in a lifeboat with her maid. She's not in the films, but neither are over 2,000 others. No film could feature everybody, especially those whose real actions and words are not on record.

Mrs Strauss' full name was Rosalie Ida Strauss, but I can't recall what name was used in ANTR.

Alice Cleaver - The family were concerned about the inaccurate portrayal in Don Lynch's book, but I don't know what dealings (if any) they had with the film company.

Captain Smith: Sorry, only 6 questions per customer! And they must be about films. But I don't know the answer anyway. :)

And no, I've never met Bill McQuitty. Or anyone else connected with the film. Wouldn't mind meeting Honor Blackman!

You have now reached and exceeded your limit for questions today.
Smile
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Bob - I've tried twice to post a reply, and I'm not sure why it's not going through. Believe me - I had a couple of legitimate replies about "Rachael" and "cabin boy" pertaining to movies! But, I will take your advice and ask no further questions today.

Signed, Honor and Sean
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
OK, Mary, I'll look out for you tomorrow. Note that my last comment was made with a smile on my face!
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Keep that smile! I actually learned in the 7th grade (100 years ago) that there are things like TIME ZONES! (I learned other things, as well, but you would have to log onto my TEEN ANGST website to discover them).

But - Hopefully, I do have some legitimate questions and observations, and I thank you and others for recognizing them.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
G'day Mary -

quote:

Did E.J. Smith really begin his career at sea as a cabin boy? Those cabin-boy-to-Captain stories are pretty rare!

Gary Cooper could better address this one, but my understanding is that he was apprenticed aboard the Senator Weber on 5 February 1867. So no - he didn't come up through the Hawse Hole, going the ship's boy - OS - AB - 2nd Mate - 1st Mate - Master route. He did his apprenticeship and then sat for his BoT certifications.

In an earlier age, more officers had come from the lower decks. After around about 1850 with the BoT certification process in place it was more common for them to come from apprenticeships through to second, first and master's tickets. As it was required to pay a fairly substantial sum to have a boy indentured as an apprentice, the social strata from which officers and men were drawn widened as well.

Theoretically, there was nothing to stop an AB with the appropriate sea time from studying for and sitting for his second mate's certification. It was, however, not all that common. Of the Titanic's men, Harold Lowe was the only one who had worked his way up from ship's boy to a master's certification. He was rather proud that he had come up through the hawse hole.​
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Hello, Inger! Nice to hear from you again! Your explanation about apprenticeships and the BoT's emergence as a "by-pass" from the Hawse Hole certainly makes sense! (You have great information!). The only reason I brought this up was due to a comment made by George C. Scott's character of E.J. Smith in the REALLY BAD TV miniseries, "Titanic - the Z. Jones one), in which he mentions something about: "I haven't done that since I was a cabin boy". How long did those apprenticeships generally last, and was there an age limit for an apprentice to begin? What was the general cost for this? (This may belong on another thread). Interesting bit about Harold Lowe, too. It certainly puts him higher on my "admiration" list! Thanks, Inger, for your explanation. You are helping to add to my very limited knowledge!
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
No worries. I think that the problem was the script writers not really understanding the system then in place - 'Cabin Boy' sounds more romantic than 'apprentice.' The script for the miniseries also had a line in there with Lowe muttering he 'wasn't about to lose his stripes on the first night out' - the original script had him go on and say something like 'not even if it would break my record of losing them the second night.' Quite amusing when one knows how hard Lowe worked to keep his record clean and how exemplary his written references were at the time he joined the WSL. There was at least one instance of him being promoted during a voyage (and another when he got bumped up a rank on sailing day with a new company).

Apprenticeships were of a four year duration, or three years if the apprentice had attended two years on a training ship. James Moody, for example, only did a three year apprenticeship as his 2 years on the training ship Conway counted as one year of an Apprenticeship. Most boys were 14 - 17 when they were indentured, but boys could be signed up as young as 13. Cost could be quite expensive - premiums at the turn of the century could be £60 or more.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
I think that the script writers were "apprenticed" to the network for money, rather than accuracy, especially since this was a fairly recent production! Lowe was never really a major player in movie productions, though, was he? Lightoller and Bride(ANTR), Murdoch and Andrews (Titanic 97), and Ismay (most of them) pretty much took "center court". (Wimbledon aside). I don't have a symbol for "pounds" on my new-fangled Compaq Presario American-style computer, but I can imagine the sacrifice that 60 pounds in the early 1900's must have encompassed! Where did these families come up with the money? It sounds like it may have been an expectation/inherited thing for older sons, and was provided for in advance. The price of a one-way third-class ticket on the Titanic was around 3 pounds - I think. My Parkman ancestors were very far from the sea, but had some considerable money (long since lost) and influence (equally lost), which enabled them to sail with John Winthrop...so I've hard. Thanks once again, Inger, and "Skol" and "Oofta" to you!
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Hi, Mary. You needed about £7-£8 ($35-$40 )for a 3rd Class ticket on Titanic - about twice the monthly earnings of a White Star steward, for instance. Bearing in mind that there wasn't much to spare from the wage packets in a working class household in 1912, that meant a long time saving.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Thanks, Bob. I don't know where I read or heard that the price was 3 pounds, but 7-8 pounds per person seems to make more sense, and could explain why whole farms and land-holdings were sold to procure one-way tickets for families! Question: Did WSL (or Cunard) stewards/employees get any kind of "discount" for family members? (I doubt that the Frequent Flyer concept was thought of in those days, but just thought I'd ask). Thanks.
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Probably the Directors were entitled to discounts or free travel (certainly Bruce Ismay had a complimentary ticket) and I seem to recall that there were a few other passengers in First and/or Second Class who pulled strings to negotiate good deals on ticket prices, but I'm not aware of any discount scheme for grass roots employees. Most companies in 1912 would have felt neither need nor obligation to do their employees any favours beyond paying them a living wage. It was always possible, of course, for a crew member to get free passage by jumping ship in New York!
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
And 'Skol' back to you! That was one magic toast that still comes up in family recollections of our visits to the Swedish relatives over the years.

You're correct - Lowe has never really had a major part on screen, save for the miniseries role (and given how that was written, I think he could have done without it - although he does get to deliver those gloriously fatuous 'words of wisdom' to Catherine Zita Jones at the end!). He has a decent cameo in ANTR, but too much Lowe would have detracted from the central figure of Lightoller. The rewriting of his words to Ismay on the boat deck, which were then given to Lightoller to deliver, were quite amusing. He pretty much blends into the background in SOS Titanic, although is identifiable, at least briefly. His son, Harold WG Lowe, was rather pleased that he was at least given something of a role in the Cameron movie.

A career at sea did tend to either be something of a family heritage matter (e.g. in Boxhall and Murdoch's cases it was a family profession for generations) or a means of finding a career for the sons of the professional classes. Moody, for example, was a third son...these have often been sent into, say, the military, and in his case his family needed to find a career for him so it was off into the merchant service. His own wishes in the matter were not particularly high on the list of priorites.
 
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Noel F. Jones

Member
What's a "hawse hole"? A fo'c'sle hand attaining officer rank only ever "came up through the hawse PIPE".

And, as a matter of amused interest can anyone cite an instance of anyone actually signing articles as a "Cabin Boy" rated as such? I strongly suspect that this supposed 'rating' lies only in florid fiction and pantomime.

Noel
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Sorry Noel - I have heard the phrase 'come up through the hawse hole' and 'hawse hole officer' utilised by friends in the merchant service. It also has support from other sources - these are a couple I came across in just a few moments of Googling:

Brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable:
quote:

Hawse-hole He has crept through the hawse-hole, or He has come in at the hawse-hole. That is, he entered the service in the lowest grade; he rose from the ranks. A naval phrase. The hawse-hole of a ship is that through which the cable of the anchor runs
From Webster's dictionary:
quote:

– To come in at the hawse holes, to enter the naval service at the lowest grade. [Cant]
And here's a lovely usage from Herman Melville himself:
quote:

Eyeing Don Benito's small, yellow hands, he easily inferred that the young captain had not got into command at the hawse-hole but the cabin-window, and if so, why wonder at incompetence, in youth, sickness, and aristocracy united? Such was his democratic conclusion.
Generally I use the phrase 'hawse pipe' as that is what Lowe himself used, but of late I've heard 'hawse hole' so often it has slipped into my lexicon!

As for the phrase 'cabin boy' - I've never seen it appear in articles for the period I work with (circa 1880 - 1940). The term in both articles and most literature written by commentators of the era is 'ship's boy'.​
 
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