Collapsible A William Mellors and Edward Brown

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Michael Friedman

I suppose I should address my question to Peter Engberg-Klarstrom, who has spent so much time and effort in compiling lists of lifeboat occupants. But I course I would welcome other comments, too.

Last week I read the newly posted letter from Mr. William J. Mellors to Dorothy Ockenden; after reading it, I still wonder whether Collapsible Boat A isn't more likely as the boat in which Mr. Mellors was rescued. He mentions people dying during the night, until only 12 or 13 remained alive, which seems to match the situation with Boat A more than that with Boat B.

As I remember, Colonel Gracie's book also had Mr. Mellors tentatively placed in Boat A, either on the strength of a letter or a communication with Dr. Dodge.

Also, when I checked the lifeboat list for Boat A, I noticed the absence of Steward Edward Brown's name. I had always thought the evidence for his presence in the Boat was conclusive. Is there other, contradictory evidence of which I am not aware?

Of course, I realize the lifeboat lists can at best be only tentative, being reconstructed long after the event, but so much progress has been made in reasonably assigning passengers to specific boats, I wondered about the possibilty of a "re-assignment" for Mr. Mellors.

Thank you for entertaining this question.


Dear Michael, William Mellors may very well have been one of those in boat A. The only thing contradicting this is his statement when he claimed for compensation after the disaster that he clung to a capsized lifeboat.
On the other hand, he may have been the elusive 'boy with a name that sounded like volunteer' to Olaus Abelseth.

Best regards,
Mellors stated in the letter that the sides were broken away - that was true of collapsible A, but the sides of B were invisible underwater. The numbers he gives of survivors taken off the boat match closer to A than B. Regarding a 'capsized' boat, the Mellors letter states "Every now and again we were all thrown into the water owing to the boat capsizing and when we climbed back I noticed there were less climbed on". Rhoda Abbott (definitely on collapsible A) said: "Soon the raft tilted and all slid off into the water. Many of them managed to get back on it and some did not".

Michael Friedman

Dear Sirs:

Thank you both for your comments. Regarding the boy whose name sounded like "volunteer" I have pretty much settled on Trimmer William McIntyre. Although with everyone shivering in the swamped boat I can see the possibility of William Mellors also.

I did find my reference in "The Truth About the Titanic", as follows:

"I also have a letter from Mr. George Rheims, of Paris, indicating his presence on this same boat with Messrs. Williams and Mellers and Mrs. Abbott and others."

Whether Mr. Rheims letter actually confirmed the presence of the other survivors by name, or simply confirmed his presence in the boat by his description of the circumstances, I have no way of knowing.

By the way, does anyone know if Colonel Gracie's source documents (letters from other survivors and the like) have survived? That would be quite a gold mine for research.
A couple of years too late, but I would like to add that in addition to the points that all of you mentioned above, William Mellors claimed when he testified in the 1915 portion of the limitation of liability hearings in the district court of NY that he was rescued in the same lifeboat as Mrs. Abbott.

In addition, Peter Denis Daly mentioned Mellors presence aboard Collapsible A with him and George Rheims, and Rheims' gave two accounts confirming the presence of both of these passengers on the same collapsible as him.

Hope all of you are doing well.
Kind regards,

Just finished reading the letter too and would have to conclude that he was indeed in Collapsible A. I say it wouldn't hurt to edit his link and put it in the A listing on this site?


Jason D. Tiller

Hello Marshall,

Please be advised that Michael is no longer a member of the message board. Therefore, he may or may not see your message.
Just to add on a little bit having read this string of posts.

Back in Aug. 2004 Peter stated that the primary evidence as to William Mellors being on Collapsible B was that he stated in his liability claim that the clung to a "capsized" lifeboat. Now a non-nautical person such as a salesman (which Mr. Mellors was) could possibly mistake the words "capsized" and "swamped", which mean different things in regards to a boat. Also, Rosa Abbott said that Collapsible A pitched suddenly over the course of the night sending its occupants back into the water briefly.

In conclusion though, I would say that given the evidence William Mellors survived the shipwreck on Collapsible A.
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