"Chinamen" in collapsible C


Scott Mills

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I am curious as to the origin of this rumor. I have just read Lawrence Beasley's book for the first time and he reports, as if it were fact, that three Chinese men were found hiding "under the seats" of collapsible c.

I am just curious who told him this, and why. I assume since he believed it as much as to publish it that it must have been a fellow survivor. I'm also pretty sure that he should have known that three men "hiding under a seat" of a lifeboat all night without being discoverd would have been impossible.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Hardly a rumour. QM Rowe, who was in charge of the boat, testified at the American inquiry:

When daylight broke, we found four men, Chinamen, I think they were, or Filipinos.
When day broke, you found four Chinamen or Filipinos under the seats?
Not under the seats then, sir. They came up between the seats.

And at the British Inquiry:

And the rest of the people were what?
What I thought were women and children.
Did they prove to be women and children?
No, not at daybreak.
Why? Tell me about that?
I found four Chinamen aboard.
Where were they?
I could not see at the time.
They were in the boat somewhere?
They were in there at daybreak.
How they got in you do not know, I suppose?
No.
 

Scott Mills

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Okay, so 4 men were found hiding "between the seats" in a full lifeboat? How is this even possible? Also, who were these men? I assume, particularly given the circumstances, they would have been identified before being allowed into the United States. And I also assume they weren't stowaways on Titanic proper since this too would have been documented by someone after the wreck.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Hi Scott,
The four Chinese men in Collapsible C were employees from the Donaldson Line who were traveling aboard Titanic as Third Class passengers. They weren't stowaways, but allegedly snuck aboard Collapsible C before it lowered, hiding underneath the seats and thwarts. They aren't the only survivors who supposedly escaped by hiding underneath the seats and legs of other passengers. Bruce Ismay testified as to the presence of the four in Collapsible C also, and these same four men were mentioned by Frankie Goldsmith and his mother.

Kind regards,
Tad
 

Scott Mills

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Tad,

very interesting, thanks! I guess I would have to sit in a lifeboat to really understand how they hid without discovery. I do recall one story about a young man found trying to hide under a seat, but discovered and forced out before the host launched.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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No problem Scott. I wonder if some people knew the people were under the seats, but said nothing, not wanting them to be thrown out. Sahid Nakid was supposedly saved in this way, with women covering him with their skirts to hide him.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Presumably the men established themselves under the seats before the official loading began. Once the boat was in the water (and in almost complete darkness) they no doubt came out from their hiding places and simply merged with the other occupants of the boat. Most Chinese were of small stature, so there's no reason why Rowe would have noticed their presence before daybreak. He makes it clear in his testimony that until that time they had been hidden from view by darkness, not because they were still under the seats.
 

Scott Mills

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Presumably the men established themselves under the seats before the official loading began. Once the boat was in the water (and in almost complete darkness) they no doubt came out from their hiding places and simply merged with the other occupants of the boat. Most Chinese were of small stature, so there's no reason why Rowe would have noticed their presence before daybreak. He makes it clear in his testimony that until that time they had been hidden from view by darkness, not because they were still under the seats.

That seems like tricky business, especially in a collspsible boat! You'd have to have slipped in after the boat was uncovered and hooked to the davit all while timing it such that none of crew or passengers saw you at a time when things were seeming a bit more serious. Not to mention getting on deck before a lot of 3rd class passengers actually made it there! The more I think about it, the more it seems someone, at some point, had to be looking the other way on their behalf.
 

Bob Godfrey

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These weren't ordinary passengers - they were seamen. Who knows, maybe they offered to uncover the boat while the regulars moved aft. And then got their heads down! Whatever, they were probably good oarsmen and Rowe might eventually have been glad to have them onboard.
 

Scott Mills

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These weren't ordinary passengers - they were seamen. Who knows, maybe they offered to uncover the boat while the regulars moved aft. And then got their heads down! Whatever, they were probably good oarsmen and Rowe might eventually have been glad to have them onboard.

Oh, I don't blame them at all. In fact that boat went away pretty full. All these men would have accomplished by being caught or not hiding on the boat is 3 more to be added to the list of the lost.
 

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