Collapsible D and man/men pulled from the water.


L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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While carrying out my little survey about the people still on board at the moment of the final plunge (https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/night-14th-april/30844-location-surviving-people-board-titanic-when-final-plunge-began.html#post364579), I came to ask me some questions about collapsible D survivors.

I was wondering about the way Frederick Maxfield Hoyt was rescued. From the testimony of John Hardy and of Hugh Woolner, it seems to me that Hoyt jumped into the water immediately after collapsible D had reached the surface of the sea (so, at about 2.05 AM), and was pulled aboard immediately, when the boat was still alongside the ship. This is the reason for I excluded him from my 51-name list. But I’ve also read another account by Hoyt, saying that after collapsible D had been lowered, he returned to his stateroom, stripped off his heavy clothing, went down to a deck which was lower on the water than the boat deck (A deck?) and then jumped into the water and swam for quite a distance before being pulled into collapsible D. That account had much of a made-up story — for example, Hoyt talking with captain Smith about the situation and then going with him to Smith’s stateroom to take a drink before to jump into the water — but I wonder if maybe a part of it had something true.

I also wondered about Joseph Duquemin’s account of having swum over to collapsible D and then pulled into it also another swimmer. This account is usually rejected because no one among the occupants of collapsible D mention it; but is this enough? I’ve noticed, for example, that, among the occupants of lifeboat 4, no one mentions Thomas Ranger and Frederick Scott climbing down the falls of No. 16 to this boat, nor pulling Scott from the water, apart from Scott and Ranger themselves. As for collapsible D, quartermaster Arthur Bright, in his enquiry testimony, doesn’t mention neither Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson jumping on board, nor Hoyt (or anybody else) being pulled from the water. In fact he said:

Senator SMITH.
After you left the Titanic in this collapsible boat, did anyone try to board at from the water?
Mr. BRIGHT.
No, sir.

Thus denying not only the possibility of Duquemin having been pulled by collapsible D, but even that Hoyt was pulled aboard.

As for chief steward John T. Hardy:

Senator FLETCHER.
Were there passengers on board the ship standing there trying to get on board the lifeboat?
Mr. HARDY.
There was nobody on board, because we could not get our collapsible boat lowered from one end of it. The forward part of the collapsible boat was lowered, but there was nobody there to lower the afterend, which you will find in Mr. Bright's evidence. Mr. Lightoller stepped from the collapsible boat aboard the ship again and did it himself.
(...)
Senator FLETCHER.
Did you see passengers on the decks?
Mr. HARDY.
Afterwards?
Senator FLETCHER.
Yes.
Mr. HARDY.
We were too near the water when we lowered away. We were not more than 40 feet from the water when we lowered.
Senator FLETCHER.
Did you hear any passengers calling out on deck at the time you were lowered, or before, trying to get into the boat?
Mr. HARDY.
We picked up the husband of a wife that we had taken off in the load in the boat. The gentleman took to the water and climbed in the boat after we had lowered it.
I remember that quite distinctly.
Senator FLETCHER.
You mean you took a woman on board the boat -
Mr. HARDY.
Before we lowered. Her husband took to the water.
Senator FLETCHER.
Jumped in the water?
Mr. HARDY.
Yes; and climbed in the boat when we were afloat.
Senator FLETCHER.
Do you know who he was?
Mr. HARDY.
I know the gentleman - but I do not know his name - because he sat there, wringing wet, alongside of me, helping me row.

So Hardy mentions the rescue of Hoyt, but doesn’t mention at all Woolner or Bjonstrom-Steffansson.

Able seaman William A. Lucas said:

1539. And what men? (were in the boat, nda)
- Well, I found three men in the boat afterwards, but I never saw them in the boat when she went away.

So, Lucas did not see this three men in the boat when she was lowered, but then they were in; Lucas had not seen them jump into the boat or being pulled from the water. One could think that the three men were Hoyt, Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson. But some questions later, Lucas says:

1541. Who were the other men? Were they seamen?
- One-quartermaster and two foreigners in the boat.
1542. (The Commissioner.) What do you mean by foreigners - passengers?
- Yes.
1543. (Mr. Rowlatt.) Two foreign passengers?
- Yes.
1544. Do you know what class they were?
- Well, I should think they were third class.

While the definition of ‘foreign passenger’ would fit for Bjonstrom-Steffansson (maybe also for Hoyt? He was not English, but American, would he have been felt as ‘foreigner’ by Lucas?), they were all first class passenger, not third class. While the definition of ‘third class foreign passenger’ would fit for Joseph Duquemin, in my opinion.

Hugh Woolner testified that:

Senator SMITH.
You saw a collapsible boat being lowered?
Mr. WOOLNER.
Being lowered; yes.
Senator SMITH.
Was it filled with people?
Mr. WOOLNER.
It was full up to the bow, and I said to Steffanson: "There is nobody in the bows. Let us make a jump for it. You go first." And he jumped out and tumbled in head over heels into the bow, and I jumped too, and hit the gunwale with my chest, which had on this life preserver, of course and I sort of bounced off the gunwale and caught the gunwale with my fingers, and slipped off backwards.
Senator SMITH.
Into the water?
Mr. WOOLNER.
As my legs dropped down I felt that they were in the sea.
Senator SMITH.
You are quite sure you jumped 9 feet to get that boat?
Mr. WOOLNER.
That is my estimate. By that time, you see, we were jumping slightly downward.
Senator SMITH.
Did you jump out or down?
Mr. WOOLNER.
Both.
Senator SMITH.
Both out and down?
Mr. WOOLNER.
Slightly down and out.
Senator SMITH.
It could not have been very far down if the water was on A deck; it must have been out.
Mr. WOOLNER.
Chiefly out; but it was sufficiently down for us to be able to see just over the edge of the gunwale of the boat.
Senator SMITH.
You pulled yourself up out of the water?
Mr. WOOLNER.
Yes; and then I hooked my right heel over the gunwale, and by this time Steffanson was standing up, and he caught hold of me and lifted me in. Then we looked over into the sea and saw a man swimming in the sea just beneath us, and pulled him in.
(...)
Senator SMITH.
Did you pull anybody else in?
Mr. WOOLNER.
No; by that time we were afloat.

So, out of 4 collapsible D occupants who testified at the enquiries:
— only one (Woolner himself) mention Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson jumping on board the boat;
— one (Bright) says that nobody at all was pulled from the water (so, not even Hoyt);
— one (Hardy) says that only one man was pulled from the water (Hoyt).
— one (Lucas) did not see neither people jumping in the boat nor being pulled from the water, but finds later in the boat three men who he didn’t think were on board when it was lowered. At least one or two of this men doesn’t seem to be Hoyt, Woolner of Bjornstrom-Steffansson, but could be Duquemin.

My point is that collapsible D occupants seem not to have had a correct overall view. Nobody mentions two men jumping on board, apart for the two men themselves (Bjornstrom-Steffansson did not testify but in a letter supported Woolner’s account); one says that only a man was pulled from the water, another that nobody at all was rescued from the sea, another else says that three men who weren’t on board seemed to have appeared at some point. So, the fact that nobody — at least among the enquiry testimonies —, except from Duquemin himself, mentioned another man (apart from Hoyt) pulled from the water (but with Lucas’s testimony of one or two “third class foreigner passengers” who could fit for Duquemin), doesn’t seem to me a satisfying evidence that this did not happen. Maybe we should also try for other accounts. There were about twenty women in collapsible D, are there any accounts from them?
 

Thomas Ozel

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May 17, 2012
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I don't know about survivor accounts from aboard collapsible D, but according to the weblink below, Lightoller stated in his 1935 book that he saw two male passengers jumping into this boat from A - deck - so presumably these two were Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson. However Lightoller made no mention of this in his inquiry testimony, maybe he thought it was of no importance to the investigation?

Thomas

Why David Gleicher's Lifeboat Launch Sequence Doesn't Work
 

L. Colombo

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Interesting information; however, I was not calling into question that Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson actually jumped on collapsible D, but instead that, even if nobody (among Hardy, Lucas and Bright), in their testimonies, talked about another swimmer (Duquemin) being pulled after Hoyt (but, again, there is Lucas's testimony about "foreign third class male passenger(s)"), this would not necessarily lead to the conclusion that Duquemin's story was false, since nobody of the three mentioned even Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson jumping on board (and their accounts about person(s) being pulled from the water are quite conflicting). To what I've said in the opening post, I would add also that, as far as I know, there is no mention of any male passengers being allowed on board collapsible D before it was lowered: Woolner and Bjornstrom-Steffansson jumped on board, Hoyt was pulled from the water. The only other male passenger on collapsible D, as far as I know, was Duquemin; this also makes me think that his story of swimming to the boat could be true.
 

Thomas Ozel

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May 17, 2012
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I think there may be another possibility regarding how Duquemin came to be aboard collapsible D, however it is not supported by what Duquemin's descendents say happened to him that night (see weblink) - so I am probably wrong. After Titanic had sunk, Harold Lowe assembled Lifeboats No.14, No.12, No.10, No.4, and Collapsible D, in order to place most of 14's passenger's in the other vessels, to enable him to take the boat back and look for survivors. Bright and Hardy stated they took on about 10 people from a vessel that was presumably No.14. Could Duquemin have somehow left the ship on No.14 (or perhaps another boat?), and then been one of the passengers transferred to collapsible D?

This theory does not have any eyewitness testimony to support it, but it might explain his presence aboard collapsible D, if men were not permitted to board from the boat deck, and if no one else other than Woolner, Bjornstrom - Steffansson, and Hoyt were pulled aboard D. Then again, perhaps Duquemin did indeed swim to the collapsible, and was pulled in by passengers who never mentioned him to anyone. It's impossible to be certain.

Thomas

Angela Carella: Stamford man left his Titanic story untold - StamfordAdvocate
 

L. Colombo

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Well, this is an interesting hypotesis; I had never considered it before. Now I’ve checked the enquiry testimonies available from No. 14. It turns out that also on this boat, as for most of the port boats, men weren’t allowed to board: the only men who boarded it were some crewmembers (Lowe, obviously, bathroom steward Frank Herbert Morris, window cleaner William Harder, able seaman Joseph George Scarrott; maybe some others?) and two passengers, Edward Ryan (third class) and Charles Eugene Williams (second class). In fact only the latter, out of these two, was allowed on board, since he was taken by Lowe as an extra rower, while Ryan was the well-known passenger who dressed himself like a woman to get on board and was then discovered by Lowe. Lowe said that there were 58 people in the boat, and that the only male passengers were Williams and Ryan (though the latter was not mentioned by name). Morris said that in the boat, when it was lowered, there where 53 women and children (he counted them), 7 male crewmembers (two seamen, two firemen and three stewards) including he himself (but, adding Lowe, they should be 8) and two (he was not certain about the number) male passengers, one of whom was a second class passenger (Williams, I think). I ask myself whether the second passenger mentioned was Ryan or another, unidentified; if indeed there was this second passenger. Scarrott said that when the boat was lowered there were on board 54 women, 4 children (he counted them) and 8-9 crewmembers (Lowe, Harder, he himself, two firemen and 3-4 stewards), and that there weren’t male passengers on board at all. (It seems to me that boat 14 was the only port boat to be properly filled). Both Scarrott and Morris mention an attempt by some men to rush the boat, but that they were prevented from entering (one being thrown out for three times); this wasn’t when Lowe fired the shots, since he wasn’t there yet. After all I tend to exclude the possibility that Duquemin could have gotten on board 14.

As for boats 4, 10 and 12:

1) We’ve already talked about boat 4 in https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/boats-1-4/30834-boat-4-men-pulled-water.html this post. There were no male passengers on board when it was launched; but we have to consider that, when the transfer of people from No. 14 was done, No. 4 had already picked up about 9-10 people from the water (Scott, Hemming, Prentice, Lyons, Dillon, Cunningham, Siebert, White – maybe – and one or two more people; plus Ranger coming on board along with Scott but without falling into the water). There is the unidentified third class passenger mentioned by Hemming, a foreigner who spoke good English: now it came to me the idea that this could possibly have been Duquemin (did he speak English?), who maybe actually swam to No. 4, was then transferred to Collapsible D and finally, when telling his story, made confusion between 4 and D. But I’m not very convinced.

2) Also on boats 10 and 12, loaded under Lightoller’s command, men weren’t allowed to board. The only recorded men on board were seamen Frederick Clench and John Thomas Poingdestre and third class passenger Gus Cohen. Clench said that there were about 45-50 people in the boat, and that the only men were he, Poingdestre and a “Frenchman” who mixed up with women and stowed himself on board during the loading. (Cohen?) Poingdestre said that 40 women and children were on board, plus he himself and Clench; he said that men tried to rush the boat, but were restrained.

As for boat 10, the recorded men were seamen Edward John Buley and Frank Oliver Evans, second class passenger Masabumi Hosono and third class passenger Neshan Krekorian. Hosono wrote in his letter that he got on board when, after loading all the women and children, the officer said that there was room for two more; Krekorian jumped in the boat while it was being lowered. Buley said that the boat had 50-55 women and children on board, no male passengers and four crewmembers (Buley, Evans, a fireman and a steward). Evans said that there were on board 57 women, 7-8 children, three crewmembers (he himself, Buley and a steward) and two male passengers, one of whom jumped on board while the boat was being lowered. (By the way, what is the number of occupants usually accepted for No. 10? From the testimonies of Buley and Evans it seems they should have been more or less 60, but I’ve usually found far lower figures about this boat).

3) However, in the weblink you posted there it is mentioned that Duquemin gave his coat to Eva Hart. If this story is true (can it be verified?) we can rule out both boat 10 and 12, since they were launched before 14, the boat which Hart boarded.

But after all I tend to think that Duquemin wasn’t transferred to D from another boat. I wonder if is it possible to determine if the gangrene who finally led to the amputation of both his legs was caused by immersion in cold water (this would probably confirm his story) or by something else. Who knows.
 

Thomas Ozel

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May 17, 2012
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Titanic historians Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe recently published this article regarding the lifeboat launching times. They concluded that the British inquiry's launching times for the lifeboats contained some errors, which they have attempted to amend.

Lifeboat Launching Sequence Re-Examined

Fitch and Wormstedt have also published this article about the occupancy totals of each lifeboat (based on photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony), which might help you with finding the accepted occupancy figures for each vessel.

http://wormstedt.com/Titanic/lifeboats/occupancy.pdf

In the lifeboat launching article, they have concluded that No.10 actually probably left the ship far later than No.14, whilst No.12 left only 5 minutes after 14. But despite this, I think No.10 and 12 are less likely candidates, as they do not seem to have transferred any passengers to D. I suppose Duquemin could have disguised himself (and gone unnoticed), been allowed onboard as an extra rower (which might correlate with his own claim of being allowed on a lifeboat to help row) or perhaps jumped into No.14 as it was lowered. However this is all speculation, with no evidence to support it, and it is also contradicted by what his family claims. I remember seeing a documentary from the 1990s, which featured an interview with Edith Brown (who was aboard 14) who stated: "But as the boat was going down - lowering it, somebody jumped into it - a man, and the officer said: "I've a good mind to shoot you, you could have upset the boat with women and children in it." However I don't know of any other passengers from this boat who mentioned this incident, so I am not sure whether it is true.

You asked whether Duquemin spoke English. Considering that he was from the channel island of Guernsey, he would almost certainly have spoken good English, so I think it's unlikely he'd be mistaken for a foreigner. Regarding the amputation of Duquemin's legs: someone else, on another thread on this website, has suggested that amputation could have actually been due to possible injuries sustained in World War One, as the newspaper article on my last post, mentioned that he had joined the US army - but it makes no mention of war injuries, so it seems like we'll never know.

The ET article "Plucked from the Sea" indicates that there were several survivors who gave conflicting accounts regarding whether they swam to boats, or boarded from the ship, so I think Duquemin's real story will never be known for certain.

Plucked from the Sea? by Peter Engberg and Tad Fitch :: Titanic Research

Thomas
 

L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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I found quite interesting the article by Fitch and Wormstedt about the occupancy of the lifeboats, although it seems to me they tend to underestimate the occupancy of some of the most heavily loaded ones (mostly 13 and 14). I haven’t checked the testimonies of No. 13’s occupants, but I am convinced that No. 14 had on board far more than 40 people when it was lowered into the water. The whole calculation of people taken on/off this boat doesn’t convince me very much. For example, it assumes that 12-13 people were taken off A, and not 21 as Lowe said. But I think that collapsible A had more than 12-13 people on board when No. 14 came. It is true that the figures given by collapsible A survivors ranges from 11 to 20 and that most of them seem to be closer to the lower figure, but I also noticed that, instead, not only Lowe but also most of the witnesses on board 14 said that about 20 people were taken from A. I think about 15-17 people were on board A when the rescue came. Personal opinion, however. But, as for No. 14 occupancy when it was launched, there are three testimonies – Lowe, Morris and Scarrott – and they all suggest figures ranging from Lowe’s 58 to Scarrott’s 66-67, with Morris saying 62. What most leads me not to believe that only 40 people were on 14 when it was lowered is that Scarrott and Morris didn’t say the estimated there were 62 or 66-67 people on board. They were both uncertain about the number of crewmembers, but they both testified they counted, and not estimated, respectively 58 and 53 women and children (plus the crewmembers, which they didn’t count). Scarrott even said that he was ordered by Lowe to count how many women (54) and children (4) were on board, and that then Lowe asked him if he thought the boat would bear such a weight. This makes me think that probably Lowe, when at the enquiry said that the boat had on board 58 people all in all, simply repeated the figure who Scarrott gave him, without knowing or remembering that he had referred only to the women and children. In the end I would think that there were slightly more than 60 people on No. 14 when it was lowered.

Returning to the opening question, do you know any more detailed information about the details of how and when Hoyt jumped in the sea and was rescued by collapsible D?
 

L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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Yes, this helps a lot, thank you. Maybe if someone had "Down the Eternity" and could tell what it is said about Hoyt, since it seems there is a more detailed account about him.
 

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