I haven't been able to find out too much about Gill. He apparently never had any children and his wife died not too long after they got married. I think, but can't yet prove, that Gill died after 1914, but before 1918, possibly in World War 1. Theres a tiny amount of extra detail in my ebook (see below)
I am trying to track down the source for an assertion made by historian Edward S. Kamuda in the 1994 A&E Titanic documentary in which he said of Ernest Gill:
"Gill was an individual who was not paid very much money. Let's face it they got something, like, five pounds a month. Which is very little money. And, uh, suddenly a newspaper reporter comes up to you and says 'You know I'll give you five hundred dollars for a story.' Well you're going to make a good tall story." (Trasncribed direct from Titanic: The Legend Lives On).
Did Kamuda read of Gill being paid 500$ in a newspaper article?
I read nothing in Gill's testimony about being paid for his affidavit.
In part two of the 1994 A&E Titanic documentary, Ernest Gill is quoted as saying this:
"On the night of April 14th I came on deck. I saw the lights of a very large steamer about ten miles away And I saw a white rocket. I said to myself 'That must be a vessel in distress.' Why the devil didn't they wake the wireless man up? The entire crew would be talking about the disregard of the rockets. I personally urged several to join me in protesting the conduct of the captain. But they refused. Because they fear to lose their jobs."
Is this a newspaper quote from Gill? He does not say these words in his affidavit.
He certainly is a man of mystery. I have his marriage certificate and, shortly afterwards, the death certificate of his wife. I can't find his death certificate. I don't think he died in the Great Flu Epidemic. More likely he died in World War 1, but there are a few candidates after 1918 that could be him. If so, I doubt he followed a career at sea, and he didn't remarry. He didn't have any children either.
Speaking of mystery, Paul, as you probably learned during your research for your Californian book, the Boston American claimed in their piece on Gill's story that ran on April 24th, 1912, that four members of the crew along with a ship's officer were present when he gave his sworn deposition. An officer which allegedly confirmed on condition of anomynity the veracity of Gill's account.
Was the American embellishing, or was there indeed a ship's officer present? If so, could it have been Third Officer Groves? He's the only officer of the ship who said to his dying day he saw a passenger liner he later thought was the Titanic.
Another possibility is Stone. He may not have said to Lord's face that he disagreed with his commanding officer's lack of interest in the rocket(s), but he was indignant and told many people of his concerns - "well, let the b*stard sleep" .... "I tried and tried to get the old man out of the chart room" ... and in one instance, claimed Lord was drunk. Stone may not have agreed publicly that he saw the Titanic, but he seems to have been annoyed that Lord wouldn't even come up to see the strange steamer.
If it was, it wasn't in the Boston rag which broke the story. I may have missed something along the line, but I went poking around Dave Billnitzer's website and he has a scan of the article. The quote above isn't there.
I really can't see Stone going for this. His own conduct on the bridge wasn't exactly a picture of decisiveness in a situation where decisiveness was needed the most. He really didn't have anything to gain and a lot to lose by inviting the attention and the hard questions he could expect to be asked.
Maybe, but I think that (perhaps) what Stone said in public was different from what he said in public. If Gill was a man of mystery, Stone is a man of strangeness. From speaking to his grandson, Stone's nervous break-down, where he went AWOL for a while, was not mentioned to him and he was surprised to learn of it. Seems the Stone family may have had a fair amount of secrets. We shall never know.
I am sure it was in the newspaper article. The line about "why the devil didn't they wake up the wireless man?" is something Gill heard from his compatriots in the engine room. If you believe him that is!
The anonymity 'bit' doesn't seem to hold water where newspaper reporters are concerned. If Gill was so indignant about the lack of action on the part of bridge officers, why would he approach the very officers who were involved? and why would such an officer risk loosing all in the event the anonymity pact might be broken?
It has to be remembered there was an 'oil and water' difference between deck and engine room staff in those days. ER staff were not considered to be 'sailors'. they were consequently looked down on by their deck counterparts. If there was indeed an 'officer' involved, I'd have thought it might have been the 3rd or 4th. Engineer.
My own feeling is that Gill did not initially realise the enormity of his actions - he just smelled money! The newspaper people were crafty enough to know such a story would not stand-up to close scrutiny. I suspect that there was collusion with a very grateful editor of the newspaper. The result was a conjuring-up of this 'team' of outraged citizens. Possibly Gill instigated this by mentioned his 'mess-room lawyer' attempt at getting support for the outrageous story he concocted. The press would jump on this and add a little 'human interest' of there own. The result was 'cruxcifiction' for Lord.