Chinese passengers


Gavin Bell

I am interested to know what became of the Chinese survivors. Does anyone know what happened to them after the disaster, i.e., when they died, where they lived out their days, etc? If anyone can help me please either contact me personally or send the information to Encyclopedia Titanica.


Cameron Bell
Dear Cameron,

After the Chinese sailors sailed aboard the Anetta, we lose all track of them. My fellow historians and I have tracked down almost all of the surviving passengers, but we undoubtedly agree that the Chinese will be the last to find, if ever at all.

Their names appear differently on every official list compiled so their real names may never be known. I have relied on the spellings of their names that appeared on their claims against the White Star Line. These documents are housed at the National Archives in New York City. These documents actually contain their own signatures so I believe this to be most accurate.

Michael Findlay
Hi, Cameron!

On April 21st the six Chinese survivors sailed for the West Indies on board the steamship Anetta.
After that, AFAIK, the Scribe is silent. :)

All my best,

George Behe
Hi! My name is Hydie and I am new to this forum. I have been visiting this site for a year already. Such a cool site! I always have this question in my head. Are there any information regarding to the eight Chinese passengers in the third class? Since I was born in Hong Kong, I have a special feeling on these poor souls who were suffering in that terrible disaster in 1912. The only info I know about them is that they were from Hong Kong and they worked as firemen. Does anyone has more information about them?? It would helps. Just out of my curiosity.


- Hydie
Hydie, welcome to our merry band. The Chinese firemen were going to join their ship in the US. I don't seem to have the name of the ship but I have some basic information about some of the men. It's not very legible, so I'll try to make sense of it and pass it on. There really isn't much known though.
Thanks Dave! Actually I have tried to look for both Chinese and English records online but I couldn't find anything new. I guess it's because they are barely known on the ship, and most importantly, they are third-class passengers.

If anyone has any information, feel free to share

- Hydie
Hi, Hydie!

The ship that the Chinese passengers were intending to join was the Anetta of the Donald Steamship Co. They sailed on that vessel for the West Indies on April 20th.

All my best,

^^ West Indies!! Hmm.. that's interesting.. Thanks a lot, George =D

- Hydie
So that means they did come to the United States and stayed, huh? Hmmm.. or.. did they? Any extra info about their lives after the disaster?

- Hydie
Hydie, I'm still working on this but the US records show that they had no intention of staying in the US. They are listed as "non-immigrant aliens". Their fares were paid by the Donald Steamship Company. They all originally came from Hong Kong but they seem to have been wandering workers. They gave their last address as London, England.

I'm still not happy with the names given on ET and I'm going to consult a Chinese friend.
I see. Thanks for the information Dave! It's make much sense to me that they are wandering workers, for most of the people who took the job as a fireman at that time must be fairly poor.

And about the names, it's actually hard to check if they've changed them, for Chinese names often have different translations in English. Thanks a lot of looking up the info for me, Dave! I appreciate it! :D

- Hydie
I read somewhere that one of these Chinese men was last known to be living in the north of England and running a restaurant up until the 1960's. It's likely not true though.


Wow~ Thanks Boz~ That's very interesting. I am surprise that you guys can get their news, since there are only a very limited info of them after the disaster. Thanks a lot~!

I think I've heard the same tale somewhere but I'm pretty certain it's another fairy tale.
OK, with the help of my Hong Kong educated friend, Rebecca Wong, I am able to provide a corrected list of the Chinese passengers. Many thanks to Rebecca for her knowledge of Chinese tradition.

We looked at two primary sources. The oldest is the list of alien passengers who boarded at Southampton. (BT27/780B). This was hand-written and the clerk used a single column containing both surnames and given names. He put the surnames last, as in, for example, Rosa Abbott, so western names appear normal. This is the reverse of Chinese practice, in which surnames are placed first, but the clerk did not know this. He therefore listed the Chinese incorrectly, considered from a western point of view. In six cases, he put the surname first, Chinese style, making the passenger's given name appear to be the surname. In two cases (both called Lam) he put the surname second, making these names appear incorrect from a Chinese point of view. In one case, he gives a given name that does not exist in Chinese, as I'll explain.

The other source used was the List or Manifest of Alien Passengers ((NWCTB-85-T715-VOL4183-CARPALIEN) prepared by the US immigration authorities in New York. This includes, of course, only the six Chinese who survived. The American clerk wrote most the names with the surname first, as he did for the westerners. He made a few spelling errors and he gave one man the wrong surname.

A special error was made by both British and American clerks and by later authors. This is the case of the man usually recorded as Ali Lam (western style). Ali is not a Chinese name. We examined both records and found that both record the name as Ah. In the case of the British clerk, we checked two cases in which he deliberately wrote the name Ali, as in Ali Ahmed. In both cases, he clearly dotted the i, making it clear that Ah was intended in the case of Lam.

We now have a new problem. Ah is not a Chinese name either, though many Chinese in the west were labelled with it, to the confusion of records. What happened is that when Chinese were recorded in western records, a clerk would ask, "What is his name?" A Chinese would reply, for example, "Ah Wong." In this context, "Ah" means "that one is". So the person, whose name might have been Wong Hee, would be listed as Ah Wong forever more.

Using the records and Rebecca's knowledge of Chinese surnames, we arrived at the following corrected list of Chinese passengers. They are given Chinese style, with the surname first.

Lam (given name unknown)
Fang Lang
Lam Len
Cheong Foo
Chang Chip
Ling Hee
Lee Bing
Lee Ling

The alphabetical list on ET appears to have been based on the British list. Therefore, only Lam Len is correctly listed (western style) as Lam, Mr Len. The other Lam is given the non-existent given name of Ali. All the others are reversed.

Very little is known about these men. The survivors each had only $25 in cash, probably an advance on their pay. Only two gave any next of kin and the names are not clear. Chang Chip had his mother in Trot Street, Hong Kong and Lee Bing's wife lived in Tuckfort St, Hong Kong.