There were many family units on the ship; either whole families traveling together, or else one parent traveling with children, often planning to meet their spouses upon arrival in New York.
When the ship sank, about 54 children in Third Class perished. This figure includes the Sage, Goodwyn, Skoog, Van Impe, Van der Planke, and Andersson children, who perished along with their parents.
The Panula, Paulsson, and Rice children perished, along with their mothers. Also lost was the nine month old child of Edith Peacock, who died along with his mother and sister; the boy's father hadn't even seen his young son.
In Second Class, all the children were saved. However, the Navratil sons were separated from their father, who had kidnapped the boys from their mother; he was refused entry into Collapsible D. The boys were saved, and later reunited with their mother.
There were also the other stories of children saved, along with their mothers, while their fathers remained on the ship, and died. This happened in all the classes: see the stories of the Dean (3rd), Hart (2nd), and Ryerson (1st) families, among many.
The only child casualty in First Class was 2-year old Lorraine Allison: during the sinking, her family's nanny took her 11 month old brother, Trevor, and headed to the Boat Deck; they got off the ship in Boat #11. This was during a time when Lorraine's father, Hudson Allison, had left their cabin, to find out what was happening.
Lorraine's mother, Bess Allison, tried to find young Trevor, not knowing he was already off the ship. She and Lorraine, it has been told, chose to get out of one lifeboat, in order to get in another lifeboat with Hudson Allison. However, after that, all the boats were gone.
Another story is that Bess Allison would not leave the ship until she was reunited with young Trevor, and she would not let Lorraine out of her sight, so Bess and Lorraine, and Hudson Allison, ended up staying on the ship.
(Bess Allison was one of the four 1st Class women who perished - the others were Edith Evans, Anna Isham, and Ida Strauss).
It kind of boggles the mind to think of 14 year olds leaving home to work, to essentially take on adult responsibilities at that age.
Does anyone know at what age children could legally leave school....indeed if there was any minimum age for that? And what was the average age that most people started working during this time? And would it have been roughly the same in both England and the USA?
Sonja, Asplund family had exceptional experience from Titanic. Carl and Selma Asplund boarded at Southampton with their five children. Carl and three eldest children perished but Selma with two youngest survived.
Other children from third class always lost or survived with her parents.
In Britain, children were required to attend school (and hopefully acquire proficiency in the '3 R's' plus a few practical subjects) up to the age of 12, or in some areas 13. After that they were ready for employment. The school leaving age was raised to 14 in 1918. Only families who could afford to pay for it could provide their children with any further education beyond that point. Some might benefit from the limited number of scholarship places in grammar schools, but their parents would still need to support them, which would be a burden especially in the absence of the additional family income they would otherwise have earned.
Bear in mind that the Titanic was not only crewed partly by children (in the modern sense of the word) but built by them too. The standard make-up of the riveting gangs who built the hull was three men and a boy. The boys worked inside the hull, heating each rivet in a small furnace before placing it in position with pincers. 14-year old 'rivet boys' could still be found working in British shipyards in the 1940s and probably later than that.
It is amazing to think of 14 year-old crew members, but in all reality, I do not find that surprising any more.
In my research into the Royal Navy of the 18th and early 19th centuries, I found that boys as young as 14 could actually be officers on board line of battle ships. These young Midshipmen could be in charge of gun crews consisting of men nearly three times their age. Mind boggling, is it not?
Naturally there were cabin boys and whatnot even younger than 14, but as far as responsibility in the line of fire is concerned, I find 14 to be extremely young by today's standards.
Women also found work in the shipyards in WW1, Tracy. I've seen pictures of women 'rivet heaters' at a Seattle Navy Yard at that time. During WW2 'rivet passing' was one of the first jobs offered again to women in the yards, along with 'housekeeping' (sweeping and clearing up the workplace). Fortunately it wasn't long before this traditionally male-dominated industry accepted that there were few jobs in shipbuilding that could not be offered to women. They made up about a third of the workforce that built the crucial fleet of Liberty ships at the Kaiser yards.
And boys even younger then 14 could find work on Royal Navy warships as deckhands and powder monkeys. A number of these lads were the young children of women who often went along with these ships who...to put it politely...had more then one husband. Quite frequently, these children were born on the gundecks, leading to the term 'Son-of-a-gun' (At least that's the way it reads if the information Prince Edward gave in that documentary I saw is correct.)
These kids recieved no special priviledges or considerations, expected none and took the same chances as anyone else in battle.
Also, if you want to know the FULL STORY of what child labor was like, just read the biography of Charles Dickens, after his father borrowed too much money, and was arrested for failure to pay his loans.
By those standards, the Lift Attendants on Titanic were lucky. However, if I was on the Titanic, I would probably be like Lawrence Beesley, and offer to man the lifts, so that the boys could enjoy a few hours to play on deck.
You don't have to go far back to find young workers. In the 1950s, where I live the school leaving age was 14 and many left at about that age. Many took up apprenticeships and did very well out of it. I rather fancy that many students, especially boys, would be better off today if they could do the same. Of course, things are different today and apprenticeships are not always there.
The bell boys (and the page boy in the restaurant) were aged from 14 to 16, but I wouldn't class the lift attendants as child labour. Beesley described the 'lift boy' in 2nd Class as "quite young, not more than sixteen, I think", but he was actually 17. The three attendants in 1st Class were 17, 18 and an old hand of 31. All four were employed as men, drawing full steward's wages.