How did the crew get new paperwork?


Rob Lawes

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Maybe a question best asked to @Jim Currie however, I was wondering recently how the crew replaced their log books after Titanic went down.

The seamans record woud have been their lifeblood containing ships that they have served on, performance records and experience. Without this document they would not have been able to sign on at their respective grades (seaman, lookout, quartermaster etc) and their career at sea would have been pretty much impossibe.

So were copies of these documents kept ashore or what was the procdeure if they were lost?
 

Jim Currie

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All seamen had to sign on and sign off at a Mercantile Marine Office at their home port. Records were kept there of a seaman's career. Thus those who signed on at Belfast could apply to the local MMO for a new certificate of registry. An Employment Record of sorts was held in these places.
In 1910, the Advisory Committee on Merchant Shipping proposed to the Board of Trade that a Central Index Register of merchant seamen should again be created. A Central Index However, The Register was not started in October 1913 and maintained until 1941.
Although Registration was not compulsory in 1912. it was made so by the Registration of Merchant Seamen Order of September 1918, under the Defence of the Realm Act.

You are right in your observation about obtaining continuity of employment,. That in itself guaranteed that all but the dumbest of the dumb ensure he had a means of proving competency
There was also another source... The Articles of Agreement between the Master of a particular ship and each crew member. This was proof-positive that an individual served on a particular vessel at a specific rank. Hope that clarifies things a bit, Bob.

Take care
 
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Rob Lawes

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Much apreciated Jim.

Yes that clarifies things a great deal. Up until 2001 Royal Naval service documents were held in a folder that travelled ahead of the sailor from ship to ship or shore establishement. The record of service, conduct and performance was recorded on a service certificate made from a type of parchment. After 2001 it was finally transferred on to digital records. Better late than never.

I've wondered for some time how the system worked for the crew of the Titanic and I know they had some form of record and the sign on and sign off process but wondered what happened if that information was lost. Having read Paul Lee's latest publication a few days ago regarding the crews return to he UK on the Lapland it reminded me to ask.

So, thanks again for clarifying things Jim.

Regards

Rob.
 

Jim Currie

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As a matter of interest, Bob. The RN kept all seamen's records... RN.Reserve and Merchant up until about the mid 18 hundreds, then it got too cumbersome and the powers that be of the day decided to bring a bit of order into the system. I read something about a while ago. If i find it I'll refer you to it... makes fascinating reading.
 
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Aly Jones

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All the surviving officers got copies after the sinking. Pitmans family member was on antiques roadshow the other month showing her family members ship log book - his name Herbert pittman. The log book was created just after the titanic sinking. Inger sheil (we all know she is in contact with his family ) also mentioned that lowe got a copy after the sinking. So that's two accurate true facts that officers received new ones. But I don't know what the regulations were to receive a copy once an officer lost thier original.
 
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Dave Gittins

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Here's pages from the new book given to Kate Gold. You can see how it was reconstructed from old records and certified by an official.


Gold record book.jpg
 
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