Harold Godfrey Lowe


Apr 22, 2012
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Hello,

I understand that Fifth Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe had ran away from home at the age of fourteen because he did not want to work for his father, due to the fact that there was no pay in the deal.

I am wondering: Did his family ever hear from him again? I mean, did he ever send them a letter or some type of notification to let them know that he was all right? It seems to me that he would have eventually saw them again.

Just Curious,

-B.W.
 
Sep 28, 2009
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Hi Brandon,

Inger and I have done extensive research on this area of Lowe's life in preparation for our biography on him, and have found that his estrangement with his family ended well before the Titanic disaster. Indeed, his father and sister Ada met him in Liverpool upon his return from America on the Adriatic (there are photographs of the occasion which ran in the papers).

There will be more information included in the biography, but I should make a minor correction. Lowe was not going to work *for* his father; his father wanted to apprentice him to *someone else*. His reluctance to work without pay was one factor in his refusal.

Inger and I do have a brief 'net bio' of Harold Lowe up on our website. While it is a couple of years old and contains no information not already available, it may assist you further. I do hope this was of some help!

Regards,
Kerri
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/2622/Lowe.html
 
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Minna Tiihonen

Guest
Hello Kerri,

I just visited your webpage about Harold Lowe and it really offered some nice information I've never known before
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But, there were also some facts that made me wonder.

The picture where you say Harold Lowe is with his father and sister after his returning from America is controversial. I've seen the pic many times before, and usually it's been reported that the young crew member in the picture is Harold Sidney Bride, 2nd wireless operator of the Titanic, with his father Arthur Bride and sister Marie! Hmm...

Also at your page it says that several crewmembers, i.e. Moody and chief wireless operator John Phillips had been transferred from the Oceanic. Of the others I don't know but Mr Phillips served on the Adriatic before joining the Titanic's crew. He served on the Oceanic well before 1908, then he came to Ireland to serve at Clifden land station (he was there at the same time with Mr Marconi in 1908) and returned at sea in 1911 with the Adriatic. So it was long before the Titanic when he was on board the Oceanic.

Minna
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Minna -

Hope you don't mind me answering your queries, as I co-own the site with Kerri :)

I can assure you that the photos we use on our site of Harold Lowe's arrival back in Liverpool are Harold Lowe and not Bride. Lowe was the subject of considerable media attention (and the newspaper reporters even induced him to say a few words, unlike his colleagues who remained silent). There were quite a few shots printed in different newspapers, including the three that appear on our site taken after the Adriatic landed her passengers, and I have another in my collection that has never been reprinted. As you would be aware, Bride did not arrive with the Titanic's deck officers on the Adriatic - most if not all of the shots of Lowe were printed before Bride had even arrived back in the UK. Bride returned on the Baltic on the 18 May, a week after the Adriatic. While there is a superficial similarity between the fathers of both men (both had rather large, impressive white moustaches), you will note that the photos of these men greeting their respective sons on arrival in Liverpool show them wearing quite different attire (look at the hat colour). There is no controversy about the photos we've reprinted - they are Harold Lowe. This was confirmed for Kerri and myself by Lowe's son, who was also able to identify the woman in the photos as his Aunt Ada. I do also have a photo of Bride's arrival in my collection that has not been reprinted.

Out of curiousity, where are these sources you've seen that incorrectly identify the Bride family in these photos? I'd be interested in contacting the individuals and offering them the correct information, as I'd hate to see an historical error like that perpetuated. There are far too many mislabelled photos in Titanic circles as it is.

I'm afraid I have to flat-out contradict you about Phillips' previous berth - it was, without any shadow of a doubt, the Oceanic from which he was transferred to the Titanic. Take my word for it - I've seen the Oceanic's crew agreements for this period in the PRO, and read the correspondence of a crewman who mentions Phillips' transfer. If you have a look on the reprint of the Titanic's crew agreements on the ET site, you will see that the Oceanic was given as Phillips' last ship:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/pog/crew_pog_victual_1st.shtml

Hope this is of some use to you.

Regards,

Inger
 
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Minna Tiihonen

Guest
Hey Inger, I don't mind you answering at all
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One of the places where I've seen this picture is the book "The Titanic Disaster as reported in the British national press" by Dave Bryceson. Then I've seen it on various netpages, one of them is "Lowe Flotilla" page with lots of wireless & officers information.

Believe me, I also hate historical errors! One place says one thing and another something else... how can one ever be sure of anything???

Do you know when Phillips started to work as the wireless operator on the Oceanic? Myself I'm very happy to receive any information of the two wireless boys!

Minna
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo again, Minna -

Dave Bryceson's excellent book illustrates the correction identifications I outlined above very well. If you look on page 234, there are some photos from the Daily Sketch issue of Monday, 13 May 1912. They were taken when the Adriatic arrived on Saturday 11 May. The photograph labelled '2' has the following caption: 'Mr H. G. Lowe, the fifth officer of the Titanic, with his father and sister. Mr Lowe was the officer who fired his revolver.' This photo shows the same figures in the shots you see on our site.

Turn a bit along in the book to pg. 259, and you find another photo from the Daily Sketch, this time printed on Monday 20 May 1912 and taken when the Baltic arrived on Saturday 18 May. The photo shows Bride with his father, and is captioned 'A warm welcom awaited Harold Bride (in centre), the rescued Marconi operator of the Titanic, when he landed in Liverpool on Saturday from the White Star liner Baltic. Fully restored to health, he was cordially embraced by his father, Mr Arthur Bride, who is seen on the left of the picture.' Somewhere in my papers I have a few articles describing Bride's arrival (and how he sought to avoid the pressmen waiting his arrival).

Compare the two photos (and similar ones in publications such as Eaton & Haas' 'Triumph and Tragedy') and it becomes very clear that you're looking at two seperate sets of individuals. The Lowe family shots were already published before Bride had arrived back in the UK. I must admit that I had never come across a misidentification of the Lowe photos we use as the Bride shots (Bryceson's book uses contemporary sources and is correct, as are Eaton & Haas), but given some of the other photo captioning errors on the internet it doesn't surprise me that misleading information would exist on some sites out there. I'd like a pound for every shot of D W Alexander on the Olympic identified as Boxhall, or H O Cater identified as Lightoller! Kerri and I have worked with photographs of Lowe from his childhood throughout his life, including among many others the superb shots in his own photo albums that the family showed us, and are familiar enough with his features to pick him out of a line of up 40+ men in identical uniforms without needing to refer to captioning.

I don't have Phillips' dates for the Oceanic to hand (will check the copies and notes I have on the agreements however - I generally concentrate on the deck crew unless asked to do a specific look up). If someone else on the board can't fill you in more immediately I'd be very happy to call up the Oceanic's agreements the next time I'm out at the PRO and check the specific date he joined her.

Regards,

Inger
 
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Minna Tiihonen

Guest
Hey Inger!

I was actually trying to find the book Triumph & Tragedy today from our library because I recalled that it had some pictures of this same matter, but the book was not there.

Thank you for promising to check when Phillips joined the Oceanic
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I'm so happy for every piece of information (especially CORRECT information!) that I can have
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I live in Finland and here we don't much have any 'direct' Titanic connections, so Internet, books, videos and friends from other countries are my best and only available sources of information. This creates the problem that sometimes the info is incorrect, like you said, it's no wonder if there are mistakes in the net.

Minna
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Minna -

Looking through my notes (of which there are far too many in far too poor a state of organisation) I see that I've noted down in some bits and bobs I took down from the Oceanic agreements 'Jack Phillips - 11/11/1911'. But I'll have to recheck that, as it's one of the very scrappy notes I take down in case it might be of interest in the future (it's in there along with such notations as '4/10/1911 - During drill QM thrown out of boat' and '1/12/1911 - Constance Butler (victualling) jumps overboard').

I understand what you mean about the difficulties in accessing information - it's not just the electronic media that can be misleading, either. You'll often come across the woman in the photos of Lowe's arrival identified as 'Josie'. The 'Josie' in Lowe's life was actually Florence Josephine Edge Lowe, Harold G Lowe's daughter - she hadn't even been born when the 1912 photos were taken! The confusion seems to have arisen when some researchers corresponded with Josie - they seem to have been under the impression that Josie was his sister. Lowe had two sisters, Ada and Annie, and it is Ada who is in the photo. Harold WG Lowe was most emphatic about this when we raised the query with him - it was one of the moments when you could see more than a flash of his father's emphatic firmness in his response.

If you've got a particular interest in the wireless operators I can have a shoofty around the massive, unfiled pile of papers I have to see if I can find the account of Bride's arrival in Liverpool. His anxious circling of the dock in an effort to avoid reporters and find his father makes for interesting reading.

~ Inger
 
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Minna Tiihonen

Guest
Hey!

Another good example of misleading information could be a telegram that was received by Mr and Mrs Phillips, Jack's parents, soon after the sinking. In a newspaper it said that the telegram was sent by Jack himself, at this point they believed that Titanic was damaged but still floating. In the telegram it said something like "Making slowly for Halifax, practically unsinkable, try not to worry." As they realised that the sender could not have been Jack, he was dead by that time, the same newspaper corrected that it was sent by another son in London. The problem just is that Jack did not have a brother...
... I don't think they still know who sent the telegram, at least I have no idea!

Like I said, I'm happy to get any piece of wireless operators information possible and therefore I would be more than happy if you checked some Bride arrival stuff
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People like you are simply treasures to me!!!
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Minna
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Minna -

Will begin sifting through the drifts of paper tonight to find some material on Bride's return. I seem to recall that sadly misleading telegraph - highly indicative of the misinformation that was circulating around in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Would be very interesting to know the source of it.

I was down in Godalming a few months back to have a bit of a wander around and visit the memorial. I was planning to head out there again over the next couple of weeks to visit the new Jack Phillips pub which opened after my visit - wouldn't mind having a stickybeak in the local museum, either. Have you been there by any chance? It's a lovely place - a very attractive village, with quite a few nice pubs. The memorial, set out in the arts and crafts movement so popular at the time, photographed well.

~ Inger
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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Hey Inger

Can't you find a better excuse for drinking than that?! Regarding Oceanic, I was reading through some local history last night and came across an instance of a steamer 'Oceanic' being rescued and towed into port by a Hull ship, when her propellor was broken in a storm. I can't remember the date, but the article didn't say who this 'Oceanic' belonged to. I know there was at least two 'Oceanics' owned by White Star, so this was probably not the ship which Jack Phillips was on.
Minna. Excuse me for butting in, but I was interested in the 'Oceanic' connection.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Ian - that's merely one excuse in my extensive repetoire of reasons for hitting the pub ;-)

The WSL's Oceanic II did drop a propellor blade early in 1912 - I have a copy of a letter from a crewman who was aboard her when it happened who mentioned the event. I'm at work and don't have the details, but someone with a copy of one of the WSL fleet histories (or Ship Supremo Mark Baber if he's about) might be able to provide them.

~ Inger
 
Jun 18, 2007
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Hey Minna and Inger!

For Minna:

About the telegram: I came across a reference a long time ago that mentioned the telegram actually came from Jack's uncle, who apparently was also named John. I don't know if this is true; I haven't done enough research into the Phillips family tree to determine if Jack's father indeed had a brother named John. If I can find in my files and books where I came across this reference, I'll be more than happy to lead to you to it.

And since you are such a fan of the "Dynamic Duo" (how I've referred to Phillips and Bride for ages), then did you know that two of the postcards Jack mailed to his sister Elsie are in a book? One in particular yielded a small but interesting look into how Jack spent some of his time while in Southampton:

"Thanks very much for your letter. Having glorious weather, went to Cowes yesterday. Will write later before we sail. Love All, Jack"

(The excerpt quoted above was from a postcard he mailed to Elsie on April 6. A picture of it, and one of the other ones he sent to her, can be found in "Titanic: Fortune and Fate".)

And, for the record, I seriously doubt Jack had a half-brother.

For Inger:

I know a fair amount about Phillips and Bride, and here you go and astound me with something I never knew before! Bride circled around the dock to avoid the reporters! Oh My God...

If you do find that bit about Bride's arrival at the dock, could you also send me a copy as well?

And, I shouldn't bring up Moody here...oh, why not?

I'll take it that you are familiar with a certain person who claims to be the reincarnation of Lucy Bride. Well, two years ago on a mailing list she ran with the "reincarnation" of Thomas Andrews, she mentioned that Phillips and Moody were actually quite chummy. Okay...I've never heard of this. Is there anything that you know of to back up this claim, or is this just another flight of fancy?

I am now shutting up! See what happens when I stay in my cave too long? :p
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G’day Minna and Kritina -

Have sent you both copies of the article - as you’ll see from it, it’s perhaps more a case of Bride circling the dock looking for his father than avoiding the reporters, although he dodged them (politely) as well.

Kritina, any excuse to bring up Moody is a good one ;-)

I do know the person to whom you’re referring - someone who has gained a degree of notoriety in on-line Titanic circles. I’d take anything she said with a rather large slab of salt. She may be in contact with the families of the wireless operators and have some unpublished material - although I’m not convinced of this in all instances - but she hopelessly pollutes the sources she uses with a blend of speculation and outright fantasy, even resorting to fabrication. She has also demonstrated herself to be remarkably obdurate in the face of evidence which contradicts her fantasies. I think there are many of us who will not forget the slander directed against Cyril Evans and the now notorious forged material produced to support her claims.

Regarding Moody and Phillips - yes, I do have some material (in the form of a letter one of them wrote which mentions the other). I’m holding on to it at the moment, but It’s a delightfully warm comment on their relationship.

~ Inger
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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Inger

I checked my source. The 'Oceanic' incident was in 1896, so far too early for Jack Phillips.
She was towed into Boston by the SS Galileo. The Oceanic belonged to the Britannic Steamship Company of Sunderland.
 
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Allison Lane

Guest
Inger--

I meant to send this earlier, but I've been rather busy with school: would it be too terrible an imposition for you to send me the article on Bride as well? I would love to read it. (Anything pertaining to him, Phillips, the officers, I love. *g*) And I think this is a response to a comment from another discussion, but I would love to sit and listen to you wax philosophical on just about anything pertaining to the aforementioned people.
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So Moody and Phillips *were* friends? Hmm. I'd heard the same thing--that they were friends--but had no way to verify it. I've been curious about it ever since.


-Allison L., perhaps rambling a little--too early in the morning *g*
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hi Ian -

Yup, looks like that ain't 'our' Oceanic! Don't know if Oceanic II had a tow in the 1912 incident when she dropped a blade - probably not, I imagine.

Allison - I'd be happy to send you the article as well. Will do so when I get home. Must have a look for more in a similar vein when I next go out to the British Library's newspaper archives at Colindale - I haven't deliberately looked for anything on the wireless operators, just copied things that looked interesting if I came across them. I do have a latent interest in Phillips because of the Oceanic connection. It's no surprise that he and Moody had a good relationship - they were of a similar age, Phillips seems to have been quite agreeable from the little I know and Moody was both charming and rather gregarious.

~ Inger
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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>The Oceanic belonged to the Britannic Steamship Company of Sunderland.

Ah, no wonder I couldn't find this incident when I looked for it at home last night; this company's a new one to me.

That's not to say that propulsion problems didn't cause White Star (and other lines) a lot of headaches in the single-screw days. There are numerous incidents of ships with broken shafts or lost props having to rely on their sails or a tow to reach port, like the following:

15 January 1874: While en route to New York, Celtic I lost all of her propeller blades after striking floating wreckage and was towed to Queenstown by Gaelic I. (Sources: Eaton & Haas' Falling Star; Anderson's White Star.)
15 January 1884: Celtic I arrived at Liverpool 22 days overdue because her propeller shaft broke one day after she left New York. She made part of the passage under sail, and was then towed by Britannic I to Mersey Bar. (Sources: Oldham's The Ismay Line; Anderson's White Star.)
26 January 1884: Germanic, which took Celtic's Liverpool-New York sailing when Celtic was overdue, arrived back at Liverpool herself significantly overdue. Like Celtic, her propeller shaft broke and she made most of the voyage from New York under sail. (Source: Oldham's The Ismay Line.)

And those are just incidents that I know of that occurred in January. In fact, the problem was so significant that a couple of pages of Oldham's The Ismay Line Line are devoted to Thomas Ismay's concern about the props on the first generation of White Star ships and his correspondence with Harland & Wolff about the problem.

The advent of twin screws, obviously, went a long way toward remedying problems like this; there are relatively few examples of a multi-screw vessel completely losing power. With twin screws, sails began to disappear. Teutonic and Majestic I were White Star's first twin-screw steamers; not coincidentally, they were also the line's first ships without square rigged masts.

MAB
 

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