Did Lightoller meet the engineers on the night of the sinking


Feb 28, 2007
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I’m writing I guess you could call it a historical nonfiction story, I guess. It’s about the officers on the Titanic. I’m writing it like they are telling the story. I’m not just centering on what they did while she was sinking but what there day to day life was while on the ship. I’m starting off on April 10 and I’m talking about when she anchored off at Cherbourg and Queenstown. Of course all that I basically made up because I don’t know what there actions were while she was in port. Then I go into what they did on the night of the sinking which is more historically accrete. Right now I’m on Lightoller. My question is in Titanic and Other Ships he says that he met the engineers when they came on deck right before she sank. However I thought I read somewhere that they didn’t come on deck that they stayed in the Engine room. If that’s true then who did Lightoller meet? Thank you.

All the best wishes,
Justice
 
Jul 9, 2000
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The simple fact that a number of engineers survived (Scott, Dillon, Barrett, and Hendrickson for example) and even offered testimony in the Inquiries puts the lie to the notion that they all stayed down below. I don't know if Lightoller had any conversations with them. If he did, they weren't long ones. Busy as he was with the boats, he had more pressing matters to attend to.

ET's list of engineers can be viewed at https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/manifest.php?q=21 The names in italics are the ones who survived. If you wish to read their testimony, go to http://www.titanicinquiry.org/ and follow the links.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Justice is, I think, referring to engineers in the sense of officers and others with formal qualifications. Those are certainly the men that Lightoller was referring to: "They were lost to a man, not one single survivor out of the whole thirty-five". The body of at least one of these men was recovered wearing a lifebelt, so that can be taken as evidence that not all went down at their stations. Also, bearing in mind that enough officers and men had been signed on to provide for three separate watches (shifts), there were far more engineering crew on board than were needed to operate the boilers and machinery at any one time. This article may be of interest:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item/3503/
 
Mar 3, 1998
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The White Star Line had a deficiency in engineering officers that were trained in the new turbine technology. Olympic and Titanic were practical testbeds in which the engineers could get their turbine rating. This, I believe, is the reason why Titanic had an excess of engineers aboard during her maiden voyage.

Parks
 
Feb 28, 2007
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Yes Bob you're right that is what I was referring to. I'm sorry I didn't state my question more clearly. At least know I can get my story right. Thank you everyone for helping me get my story right.

All the best wishes,
Justice
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Hallo Justice -

As Bob has pointed out, Senan Molony addressed this question in his article.

I agree with his conclusions that at least some of the Engineers did make it up on deck. Fred Scott testified to this point at the British Inquiry, and even specifically named Farquarson.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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I think we can accept Scott's testimony. He knew at least some of the engineers.

As to Lightoller, I fear his version is something of a literary device. He say he was able to farewell all the engineers, plus other crew members. Did he really do that in the last chaotic minutes? Did the engineers troop forward to meet him? How many engineers did he know?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Lightoller didn't describe a long round of goodbyes. He did recollect a farewell handshake with the two surgeons and two pursers, who were standing together, but that's as far as it goes. He wrote that "there was little opportunity to say more than a word or two to the engineers", but with no suggestion of what those words were. And he does imply that they were in need of a quick appraisal of the situation on deck.

It is of course questionable whether he really did see even one engineer, as he testified quite clearly at both the Inquiries that he had not. But irrespective of Lightoller's changing recollections, the weight of evidence is quite convincing that at least some of the engineers got to the boat deck before the ship went down.
.
 
Feb 28, 2007
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I've often wondered exactly how much in Titanic and Other Ships is really true. I'm sure it all is to a cretin extent but he was in his sixties (I think) when he wrote it. I don't know about anyone else but I can't remember what my friends and I talked about 2 weeks ago let alone 10 years ago. I'm sure the conversations he had with his friends while looking for gold or what he told Bully Waters about the surfboat aren't 100% accurate. After all the ship that almost hit Titanic he said was named St.Paul.

That is the reason why I asked the question that I did because I have always heard that the engineers stayed at their post. I just wanted to have my story be as accurate as possible. Now I it is and I thank all of you for that.

All the best wishes,
Justice
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>I have always heard that the engineers stayed at their post.<<

Some did, but not all of them. I would venture to say not even most of them. You didn't need every single body to stand watch over the dynamos, inevitably the time came when there was no point in staying in the boiler rooms, and too many people going down into the unflooded spaces would only tend to get in the way.

The short version is that there was simply no reason for surplus personnel to stay below and every reason to go up on deck. The fact that some of them made it into the lifeboats is solid proof that they did.

Good luck with your story.
 

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