George Charles Dodd

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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

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One of the thing that has intrigued me is the original source of the information about the oft repeated scenario where Second Steward George Dodd burst into the cook's/steward's quarters to wake up the sleeping men and warn them about the collision and likely danger to the ship. As far I know, it was first mentioned in that dramatic manner in Walter Lord's A Night To Remember, first published in 1956, but survivors had alluded to Dodd's arrival in both the American and British Inquiries decades earlier.

IMO there are 4 possible sources
  1. Extra Third Baker Charles Burgess: The most likely source. Burgess contacted Lord about the circumstances of his survival and mentioned that when Dodd burst into the room, the door banged against the sleeping Burgess' cot, waking him. But that statement, made 42 years after the disaster, is at odds with the one that Burgess made in newspaper interviews only a month after the sinking, in which he claimed that he was on a night shift at the time and was baking scones and corn bread with a few colleagues when they felt the shock of the impact. Burgess was not called in to testify at either inquiry.
  2. Saloon Steward Frederick Dent-Ray: Another likely source. Ray was asleep (presumably) in the same room and was reportedly jolted awake by the impact. But he was drifting back off to sleep when George Dodd arrived and woke several people up. Ray testified to that effect at the American Inquiry but was not questioned at the British one. Like Burgess, Ray also corresponded with Walter Lord while the latter was researching for his book ANTR.
  3. Fake survivor "Chief Night Baker" Walter Belford: Belford infamously succeeded in getting Walter Lord accepting his story of survival while in reality he was not even on the Titanic. But according to ANTR is appears to have been in two places at the same time; first, he is supposed to have been baking rolls at the time of impact (like real survivor Charles Burgess actually was) but some 20 minutes later, was sleeping in the Cook's quarters (like real survivor Dent-Ray was) and woke up when Dodd burst in.
  4. Bathroom Steward Frank Morris: Morris was asleep in his bunk and slept through the collision, only to be woken up by an unnamed Saloon Steward (very likely William Moss, who like Dodd did not survive) soon afterwards (ET). Morris testified at the British Inquiry and told them that was already awake and sitting on his bunk when Dodd arrived a few minutes later. He died in 1954 while Lord was still researching for the book and so very likely did not contact the latter; he is not mentioned in the acknowledgement section.
 
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