Funnel Face


Philippe Delaunoy


I'll try to find more information about this "incident".

It seems that one crewman escaped the engine room during the sinking by climbing up the inside of the fourth funnel and coming out on the upper deck. But I don't have any information about that at this moment.

I'll try to find the name of the passenger(s) who saw "the black face".

The Father Browne's picture seems me interesting but I'll try to find some comments about that from Father Browne Association.

Stay on !

Bests regards.

I don't think the story about the crewman coming from the funnel and onto the boat deck is true. There wasn't any sort of hatch in the base of the funnel to allow that. The best he could possibly do was to climb all the way up to the top, then hop over the foreward side and hope he caught the ladder. If not, he'd be splattered all over the deck below.

In any case, it's highly doubtful.

Perhaps they took the circular ladder which was inside the turbine engine casing(don't know where it starts though...deckplans seem to indicate that it starts as high up as D-deck), this ladder had an exit at the Boatdeck.

On Britannic, crew from the engine rooms also escaped last minute.
I quote from Simon Mills's great 'Last Titan':

'They escaped via the only possible route left to them; up the staircase and through the funnel casing of the fourth smoke stack which acted as a ventilator for the reciprocating engine room.'

I forgot about the spiral stairway from the turbine room. That could be possible, coming out of the deckhouse below the funnel.

I was saying that there wasn't a way out of the funnel itself, though below it yes, the casings had hatches and stairways.


Philippe Delaunoy


I found the testimony of greaser Thomas Ranger :
4025. By the time you had stopped the 45 fans, did you see members of the crew going on deck? - No.
4026. When you had finished after the three quarters of an hour what did you do next? - I went back to the electric storeroom.
4026. Back again to E deck? - Yes.
4027. When you got to E deck did you go to the electric store room which you had been in before? - No, I went up the dummy funnel. There are four fans situated up the dummy funnel.
4028. Where is that? You have told us where the electric store room was. Now where is that? Is it forward or aft? - Aft.
4029. Is it immediately aft, or some way aft? - The after funnel of the ship leads down to it.
The Commissioner: The after funnel is a dummy funnel?
The Attorney-General: Yes; it does not serve fire at all.
The Commissioner: It is that funnel that is the dummy?
The Attorney-General: Yes, it is plain if you look at that.
The Commissioner: It is used for ventilation?
The Attorney-General: Yes.
The Solicitor-General: The six boiler rooms are grouped in pairs of two.
4030. (The Attorney-General.) The three forward funnels work the six boiler rooms; each one works two; and the third one works the one lot of double-ended boilers and the one lot of single; that is how it stands. (To the Witness.) Then you went up the dummy funnel to the boat deck? - Yes."

I don't have any detail deckplan. Can you check it for me ? Thanks !

Bests regards

In reading the testimony, I have to agree with Remco on the spiral stairway up the turbine shaft. He would have come out the deckhouse at the base of the fourth funnel.


Philippe Delaunoy

Hi all,

What's the best place to find a detailed deck plan of the Titanic ?


Philippe Delaunoy


Here is the response received from Davidson & Associates about the picture :

"We do have a picture which when enlarged shows what could be the outline of
the man on the top of the
fourth funnel. There is definateley something there but not clear enough to
know if it is definately a man.
Fr Brownes account of the journey has no reference to the incident."

I keep trying to find the name of the passenger(s) who saw him. But I didn't have so much time for the moment. I've contacted George Behe who is pretty certain the incident occurs but he forgot the name of the passenger.

Kind regards.


steve b

Hi Phil, the way i read the aforementioned quote from the author, it sounded as if there were several witnesses to the incident. The second photograph i have seen posted here was pretty convincing to me. I think of more interest would be, who is the person taking the photograph, and did they happen to take note of the face at all? My guess would be the person who had taken the phtograph probably would have had theyre attention focused on the goings on on the deck and not the funnels, but the question would have been worth asking if merely to find out if they did notice, and how the face or object would have appeared to them at the naked eye, even if only from a long range perspective
I don't know if it's the photo you are talking about but a photo showing the head of the stoker was taken from the tender America but Mr Whyte of Queenstown. (See Francis Browne's album) It's not clear who he was, maybe a reporter. The photo was taken from off the port quarter of Titanic.
I never noticed this before until your thread, but how ironic it was that the tender "America" helped the Titanic at Queenstown, and that the liner "Amerika" was one of those giving iceberg warnings to Titanic just a few days later.

In looking at the picture you mentioned, it's interesting that on the previous pages, 71 and 72, there are two other pictures taken from the "America" by a Mr. McLean, including the classic one of Capt. Smith looking down over the side. McLean must have been another of the press reporters and photographers (see page 97).
Just noticed your note, or else I would have included this above. On page 44 of the "Last Days" there is a hand-written note next to the photo in the original album, presumambly written by Fr. Browne or by Mr. Whyte, which reads:
"In it appears is seen the stoker, whose appearance at the top of the fourth (dummy) funnel (which is in reality a huge ventilator) caused such consternation."
I am reading Lawrence Beesley's (a survivor) account called "The Loss of S.S. Titanic. Its story and its lessons" (Available on free.)

Okay, in chapter 2, From Southampton to the Night of Collision, there is a paragraph I can't decipher:

"As one of the tenders containing passengers and mails neared the Titanic, some of those on board gazed up at the liner towering above them, and saw a stoker's head, black from his work in the stokehold below, peering out at them from the top of one of the enormous funnels--a dummy one for ventilation--that rose many feet above the highest deck. He had climbed up inside for a joke, but to some of those who saw him there the sight was seed for the growth of an "omen", which bore fruit in an unknown dread of dangers to come. An American lady--may she forgive me if she reads these lines!--has related to me with the deepest conviction and earnestness of manner that she saw the man and attributes the sinking of the Titanic largely to that."

I don't understand. What is a stoker? What was he doing in the funnel? And why did the passengers on the "tender" find that odd?
The word "stoker" is a noun and refers to a person (usually male) who has the job of shoveling coal into the ship's boilers. Sound like fun?

God only knows what he was doing in the funnel and if he was even there at all.

Imagine if you were on a tender about to pull up next to the Titanic (oh happy thought!). As you look up in amazement, at the very top rim of the fourth funnel you see a man, blackened with soot, poking his head out from the top and staring at you. Would you not find it strange as usually the only thing to be popping up from a funnel is smoke and steam?