Did any of the stewards and stewardesses exhibit heroism the night of the sinking


Jan 7, 2002
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As much as I love the James Cameron Titanic film- my one complaint was that the stewards were depicted as a band of thugs and cowards....
To set the record stright, can someone site the finest examples of heroism displayed by Titanic's stewards and stewardesses as the ship went down?


regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
J

João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
I don't know what you consider an act of heroism, but Mrs. Lucy Snape, a second class stewardess, refused to leave the ship until the passengers she had served during the voyage were safe in the lifeboats. She distributed lifebelts and said good-bye to them. Later, she said to other stewardesses that she didn't expected to see them again. Well, she could have been saved if she wanted, and I don't know where I read that she gave her seat in a lifeboat to a child. I think this was a very dignified action.

I also admire all the stewards who were able to stay calm and continue to guide the passengers to the lifeboats, some of them nervous and hysterical,until it was too late. Furthermore, I think that the postal clerks are the most honourable of all. They died doing their job.

But of course there must be hundreds of heroism stories, many of them we will never know. Our basis are the passengers's testimonies and the statements of the surviving crew members.

Regards,
João
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I know of no evidence to suggest that the postal clerks died in the mail room. Indeed, it's hard to see how they could have been trapped by rising water in that location. At least one of them spoke to stewardess Violet Jessop on the boat deck, some time after they had given up their losing battle to save the mails and had done the sensible thing and gone topside.

Mrs Snape did say that she didn't expect to see her passengers again, but that could have been related to the commonly-held belief that staying on the ship was safer than being lowered into the ocean in a small boat. According to comments by other stewardesses, she (like the 3rd Class matron) eventually went down to her room and couldn't be persuaded to come out.

Joao, What is your source for the story of Mrs Snape giving up her lifeboat place? There are a number of such accounts by survivors, but unfortunately the passengers were rarely able to identify crew members by name. Minnie Coutts, for instance, told of a crew member (most likely a 3rd Class steward) who guided her to the boat deck and gave her his own lifebelt with the words "If the ship goes down you'll remember me". As you say, no doubt there were many other selfless acts which were never placed on record.

There is a good example of quiet devotion to duty in Violet Jessop's memory of "good, faithful old Stanley", the long-serving steward who assured her that the ship was sinking and urged her to hurry on deck to save her life. But when she did climb the stairs to the boat deck Stanley didn't follow. He seemed rather to have accepted his fate with quiet resignation: "Halfway up, I looked down and waved to Stan. He was standing with his arms clasped behind him in the corner where he usually kept his evening watch. He suddenly looked very tired".
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Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I should add that there was no steward who really was called Stanley. In her memoirs, Violet Jessop generally concealed identities by providing her colleagues with pseudonyms. In this case, however, it's just possible that 'Stanley' was 1st Class bedroom steward Joseph Gill. Like Jessop, he had transferred from the Olympic so they were probably well acquainted. He wasn't elderly, but the term "good old" doesn't imply a person advanced in years, just somebody well known and trusted. And his middle name was Stanley, a name borne by no other crew member. This is idle speculation, of course. The true identity of 'Stanley' will probably never be known, but assuming that he existed at all his quiet acceptance of the inevitable, coupled with a willingness to help others who did have a chance on the boat deck, was probably not exceptional among male crew members.
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João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
"Joao, what is your source for the story of Mrs Snape giving up her lifeboat place?"

My memory, actually. I just don't know where I read this about "a second class stewardess very worried with children that give her place to one of them". I remember reading it a couple of months ago, maybe in the testimonies, I can't tell you.

Of course you have the right to criticize me for posting facts I'm not sure about, but please notice that I often write "I think...", "Idon't know where but..." to support the statements I read and I can't indicate a source. When I have one I'm the first to mention it.

Kind regards,
João
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Joao, What is your source for the story of Mrs Snape giving up her lifeboat place?

Bob- if I may jump in- there is a clipping in one of the Titanic newspaper reprint books that came out after the movie that puts the story in question forward. But, as I recall, it was unattributed which leaves the very distinct possibility that a reporter was striving for greatness and created a story where none actually existed.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Thanks, Jim. I have a particular interest in any source which mentions the stewardesses, so I'd appreciate it if you or Joao could pin this one down for me. And no worries, Joao, no personal criticism was offered. Just further info and different interpretations. In these debates there are many shades of grey, and very little black or white.
:)
 
J

João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
You're welcome. I sometimes try to remember sources and post these things in hope that someone will read it and indicate me a source or will say I'm totally wrong and it couldn't have happened. It helps organizing ideas.

Kind regards,
João
 
Jul 21, 2008
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I thought Frederick Dent Ray was very commendable...approaching boat 13 he coaxed Dr. Washington Dodge into entering (thus ensuring the whole Dodge family lived), convinced a scared woman to save herself, and caught a baby tossed to him. Read all of this on his bio and if it is indeed all true, I'd say Mr. Ray is quite the hero!
 

Tom McLeod

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Sep 1, 2005
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Steward Etches, John Hardy (although ET has a research article well written about his role/check it out) come to mind. . . I'm sure there are others.
 

Tom McLeod

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Sep 1, 2005
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Tarn,

I'd also agree with you, most of the stewards in Cameron's movie were not potrayed well. Although Cal's Steward whom he said "now you Moron" to and the below decks Steward who Rose punched in the nose seemed to have had their hearts in the right place!
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

but Mrs. Lucy Snape, a second class stewardess, refused to leave the ship until the passengers she had served during the voyage were safe in the lifeboats.
Lucy Snap had a 2 year old daughter at home who was depending upon her. I think she thought the ship wouldn't sink or she was thinking about other children or maybe dealing with a certain second passenger Mrs. Percy Corey (Mary Miller) who was 7-9 months pregnant and also lost as well.​
 

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