Calling at Cherbourg



Edith Russell described her experience aboard the Nomadic at Cherbourg. Her description gives us an idea of the perils of transferring passengers and cargo from one ship to another.

April 1st 1934

'We waited aboard the tender for about 3 hours. I sat next to Colonel Astor with whom I had crossed in the spring of the year. Finally, a murmur went over the tender, 'Titanic sighted' and then from the huge tender, that had been constructed especially for the Titanic and the Olympic as the draught of these boats was so strong that a special tender had to be constructed. I sighted what appeared to me a six-story house! I have a very strong recollection of a very unusual occurrence, as we approached the ship, although the sea was perfectly calm, the tender began rocking in the most violent and inconceivable manner, throwing the passengers completely off their feet. I remember remarking, "Well a boat that will produce this uncanny upheaval, in this kind of a calm sea, is dangerous. I wish I were not going." I have often wondered since; perhaps foolishly, if the powerful draught of the Titanic, creating such an upheaval in a calm sea, as witnessed by her preceding [near] collision [with the New York] in Southampton harbour, and then again this uncanny upheaval in Cherbourg, did not possibly have the same effect on the iceberg, attracting [the] same sort of magnetic force underwater. We drew alongside the Titanic, the tender pounding against her sides with such a force that I feared she would break in half. The gang plank was held down by ten men on either side, as it shook and swayed in every direction. I was the last one to leave the tender, hating the idea of crossing that gang plank, and no sooner had I boarded the ship, than I went below to find out if there was not a possibility of locating my luggage, as I wished to turn back. I was told that I could leave, if I so desired, but my luggage would have to go on to New York.....I laughingly answered the baggage master, "My luggage is worth more to me than I am, so I better remain with it," and then stood to one side and watched crowds of cooks, bakers and stewards, carrying huge wooden boxes aboard. I asked a steward what they were, and was told that they contained tinned vegetables and provisions of all sorts for the trip over and return. He added, "We have a pretty good crowd going over, but it is nothing to what we shall have coming back, as I understand we are booked full." This process of transferring food supplies lasted fully two hours.'


Harland Duzen

Jan 14, 2017
Interesting testimony but why was ''tinned vegetables'' and other items brought aboard via the D-deck reception room since that's where the Tender transferred the 1st and 2nd class passengers?

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