Crew and Officers


Oct 14, 2003
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Hello!

I was wondering on my wanderings, how did the crew know some of the officers? Many crew mention the names of certain officers in their retellings and it seems to me that there is little occasion for any time to be spent together, with merciless work hours and separate sleeping and eating quarters. I understand how Smith, Wilde, and Murdoch could be the more well known of the bunch, but did they supervise anything in particular?
 

T. Eric Brown

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Jun 5, 2005
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From my understanding, the names of all the officers would have been made available to all crew. It was for reference in case a certain member of the crew needed to report something to the Bridge or one of the crew's higher-ranking members. I forget where they got the list from, though, or from where, but I may be able to find a link for you.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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I do not recall any 'official' way in which the personal names of officers were promulgated to the crew. The crew in general were not privy to the body of the Articles of Agreement after sign-on.

The publicly exhibited Emergency Stations lists were a follow-on from previous voyages and were invariably promulgated in terms of ranks rather than names.

On passenger vessels a crew member could presumably get hold of a copy of the formal passenger list or even a gala menu which would give the names of the senior officers. Otherwise it was entirely possible for crew members on large passenger vessels to complete an entire voyage without knowing the name of the ship's master until his 'signature' was rubber-stamped in their discharge books on pay-off!

Usage of personal names of department heads and their subordinates usually came about via word of mouth of crew members who had previous service in the ship. When personal names were invoked it would be in the formal style of "Mr (whatever)".

Incidentally, the addressing of one officer by another as "Mister" without the surname was a definite indication of serious disapproval.

Noel
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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It's clear from many of the testimonies that the crew weren't very familiar with the names of officers except those who were their immediate superiors in their own departments. Anonymity was even more pronounced in the opposite direction:

Senator SMITH - Whom did you find in control of this collapsible?

Mr LOWE - I do not know, sir; because you must understand that when we are on shipboard we do not call men, so and so, by their names ... if we want a quartermaster we do not say Bright, or whatever his name is; we say "Quartermaster."
.
 
Oct 14, 2003
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Thanks guys. I thought that the information must have been available to the crew but, of course, that doesn't mean to say that everyone knew everyone else.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>It's clear from many of the testimonies that the crew weren't very familiar with the names of officers except those who were their immediate superiors in their own departments. Anonymity was even more pronounced in the opposite direction:<<

Apparently this included the Marconi Operators, at least Harold Bride in particular.:

>>Senator SMITH. When you received that message did you take it to the bridge?

Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH. To whom did you deliver it?

Mr. BRIDE. To the officer on watch, sir.

Senator SMITH. Do you know who that officer was?

Mr. BRIDE. No, sir.

Senator SMITH. Was it Mr. Murdoch?

Mr. BRIDE. I could not say who it was.

Senator SMITH. Was it the captain?

Mr. BRIDE. No, sir.

Senator SMITH. You are positive you delivered it?

Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH. In person?

Mr. BRIDE. Yes, sir.

Senator SMITH. Who took it, Phillips or yourself?

Mr. BRIDE. I took it myself, sir.

Senator SMITH. Did you receive any other messages on Sunday warning the Titanic of ice?

Mr. BRIDE. Not to my knowledge, sir.<<
 
May 3, 2005
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In one of the "Bridge Scenes" in "Titanic" (1997)
the man at the wheel seems to have some sort of red chevrons on the sleeve of his jacket. Did Crew Members on Commercial Steamship Lines such as White Star have rank or rating badges similar to those of Enlisted Men in the RN or USN ?
 
May 3, 2005
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Correction to previous posting: The sleeve markings appear to be red stripes rather than chevrons and somewhat like those of a Fireman in the USN (FN,or Enlisted Pay Grade E-3). Seems to be a white star above the red stripes.
 
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sharon rutman

Guest
Here's something that's always bothered me--most books on the Titanic seem to suggest that part of the problem with the crew is that they were all strangers to each other. How can that be--the deck officers certainly knew each other quite well because they served with one another at various times on different White Star ships. To be sure there was a pecking order and caste system among the crew as to who outranked who, but over all they did serve on different vessels so saying they were strangers seems a bit odd.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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I've had a look at that site, Rena, and I can't see much information on "where the crew tended to go and how the officers met" - can you direct me to where on the website this information appears?

There is more on these specific questions here on ET.

It's nice to promote a website, and to an extent ET is fairly tolerant of such behaviour, but your constant promotion of one particular site without providing any specific information or other contribution to the threads you're posting in is beginning to look like spam.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>You will find much more than what you are seeking<<

Rena, I'm with Inger on this. There are numerous problems with accuracy on that website which have been pointed out to you just as often as you mention it. While you're not under any obligation to respond to such criticisms, you would do very well to take note of them and search for more reliable source material.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>"The Infamous White Star Line Ship SS Californian", <<

Oh my!
eh.gif
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Quite apart from the substantive flaws in that site, it's impossible for IE users to locate any particular words on that page, since the "Find" function produces a message that "'document' is null or not an object," whatever that means. At least that's been my experience on two different machines using IE as their browser.
 
C

Crystal Von

Guest
Forgive me,I know I am responding to a mid-old thread,but I wish to had something ,which no one has mention yet.

Officer Lowe was the only officer that felt left out,according to Lowe's statement,even though,lowe has been on many local voyages before Titanic voyage. Indication that WSL never had rules on sections departments of officers and crew getting to know each other personalty before a voyage .
Lowe was the only officer that was not,either served with Captain Smith or had meet other Titanic officers on local previous voyages!

Seen and read before,officers only knew other crew officers name because they became best friends during the voyage, not because the WSL introduced all officers and crew before the voyage.

Officers and crew from different sections were keep away and apart from each other,etc....

Officers,Captain,Wirles Radio Operators
Engineers
Strokers,firemen,trimmers,etc.
Stewards/ss.
etc.

Impossible for different crew and officers to mingle during a voyage or even socialize or even know each other's names.



Any one can back me up on this or fix up potential misleading information?

CV
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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lowe has been on many local voyages ... had [not] meet other Titanic officers on local previous voyages!

What do you mean by a "local voyage"?
 
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Crystal Von

Guest
Officer Lowe, previous to the Titanic voyage,never traveled as an officer on a transatlantic voyage or on an oil tanker over seas...Titanic was his first over seas transatlantic job.
so I have read before,second hand statements really...whom I'd trust....maybe wrong,this is why I added a question with question mark at the very end of my statement.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
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Dec 29, 2000
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never traveled as an officer on a transatlantic voyage or on an oil tanker over seas

Oil tanker? What does it matter whether he was ever on an oil tanker?

In any event, Lowe's prior service wasn't limited to "local voyages;" he had served on White Star ships on the Australian service, right?
 

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