Empress of Ireland


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Does anyone know who of Titanic's engine department crew managed to survive both Titanic and allegedly also the Empress of Ireland?

Earl Chapman
Montreal, Canada
 

Tracy Smith

Member
I've heard this story and the man's name is Frank Towers. But I've also heard that this story is not true, but I've not investigated it to find out.
 
Shouldn't take long to investigate. I've checked the Crews list and no man by the name of Frank Towers appears anywhere. As far as I know, this myth started with Mr. Ripley of Ripley's Believe It Or Not fame.

Since there is no documentation to support it, I don't believe it.
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Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Basically, if they are not listed on this site then you can pretty well bet that they did not exist. However, I have discovered that one of Titanic's stokers other than Arthur John Priest survived the sinking of the Britannic, also. As far as the Empress of Ireland, however, I am no expert.

Cheers,
happy.gif


-B.W.
 
I believe the man's name was William Clarke. He said the waiting was terrible on the Titanic.
He is quoted as saying, " There was no waiting with the E of I. She just rolled over like a hog in a ditch ".
It's in Dave's book somewhere.
 
In checking out a web site on the Empress of Ireland, it stated that William Clarke served as a fireman on both Titanic and Empress of Ireland. The web site also includes an interview on his arrival at Greenock (Scotland) when the liner Corsican brought a number of survivors to the United Kingdom. In this interview, Clarke described his experiences as follows:

"I was a fireman on both the ships. It was my luck to be on duty at the time of both accidents. The Titanic disaster was much the worst of the two. I mean it was much most awful. The waiting was the terrible thing. There was no waiting with the Empress of Ireland. You just saw what you had to do and did it. The Titanic went down straight like a baby goes to sleep. The Empress rolled over like a hog in a ditch."

Hermann Soldner's Passenger and Crew List shows a William Clark on the Titanic, age 39.

Earl Chapman
Montreal, Canada
 
Sorry for the back-to-back posts, but I just came across another reference to William Clark, in Senan Molony's "The Irish Aboard Titanic."


Quote:

Clarke had previously served on the Olympic. As a fireman, he was very lucky to escape the wreck of the Titanic (his means of doing so remains unknown), since only 36 out of a total of 167 stokers lived. More remarkably still, Clark (sic) also survived a proportionately greater maritime disaster just two years later, when the 14,191-ton Empress of Ireland was struck by the collier Storstad in the St. Lawrence river, sinking in just a quarter of an hour and taking the lives of 1,014 of her 1,477 passengers and crew





I think this statement by Mr. Molony changes the incident from being a myth to becoming fact.

Earl Chapman
Montreal, Canada
 
D

David Zeni

Guest
Mark; Earl; Mike; and all:
Clarke made his infamous "she rolled like a hog in a ditch" comment at the official Inquiry into the loss of the Empress. Lord Mersey was asking the questions at the time. His comments are part of the official transcript.
 
Hi David, good to see you're still with us. I was parsing my copy of your book and I noticed that Clark's statement is on page 122. Did he ever say that or something like it to the press or just to to Lord Mersey?

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
D

David Zeni

Guest
Michael:
I believe the press took the statement from Clarke's testimony. I say that because the Inquiry was used to generate sensational headlines and reading for the papers.
 
David, of the crew, who testified at the hearings? I don't think I have seen William Clarke on the lists...???? I know he survived both the Titanic and the Empress, so his story would certainly be of interest.
Another question; officially, 248 crewmembers survived. I have only 245 on the signing-off lists. Officially there were 95 survivors out of 134 in the engineering department (including three of the four 'supernumerary engineers'), but 'only' 92 were ever paid off. Do you know anything about this discrepancy????

Best regards,

Peter
 
D

David Zeni

Guest
Peter:

I will pull out the Inquiry and see if I can list the crew members who testified. There are only a few. At least one of them is not listed in the list of witnesses at the front of the inquiry. There is a story that one of the crew members used the sinking as an opportunity to "fake" his death. Are there other reasons to explain why a crew member would not be paid off? My absolute best in these troubled times, d.z.
 
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