How Would A Steward Deal With An Unruly Passenger ?


Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
459
185
53
Glasgow, Scotland
This is just a daft ideal wondering but I wondered if anyone would be kind enough to answer this for me.

Say for example that in the first or second class smoking rooms or the third class "common room"

i) A man has far too much to drink and is making a fool of himself and greatly annoying the other passengers.

or

ii) Mr X accuses Mr Y of cheating at cards. Mr X smashes his glass onto the floor, grabs by Mr Y by the throat and turns the air blue with his language.

Situations like this surely must have happened from time to time on the liners during their heyday.

Did White Star ever have any established protocol advising their stewards just what to do in such a sticky situation ?

Would the company have "had their back" if a steward decided to (for the safety of themselves and others) physically restrain someone for example ?

Apologies if it's a silly question. Moderators, please delete it if you consider it so.

Thank You
 
Nov 14, 2005
914
322
133
I'm sure the steward would have called the Master at Arms. Usually other passengers would probably step in but if it looked like it was going out of control they would be called. Master at Arms are basically the ships cops. Not a fun job. I had to do it for 6 months on an aircraft carrier. It sucked.
Master and Commander
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
459
185
53
Glasgow, Scotland
I'm sure the steward would have called the Master at Arms. Usually other passengers would probably step in but if it looked like it was going out of control they would be called. Master at Arms are basically the ships cops. Not a fun job. I had to do it for 6 months on an aircraft carrier. It sucked.
Master and Commander
Thank you very much for your kind reply.

And how interesting to know that you've actually done that very job yourself ! On a aircraft carrier with hundreds of testosterone filled young men in a confined space, tempers must really have get stretched from time to time.

That article on Mr Bailey was very interesting too. By the looks of him he could assert authority and look after himself alright !

Obviously I'm aware there is not a shred of evidence that any serious tomfoolery occurred on Titanic's maiden voyage, I'm just rather curious about what standard procedure would have been.

Would I be right in imagining that in such a situation a long chain of human voices would fetch the Master-at-Arms up like so:

"Oi Harry, ! A blokes swinging his fists around in the Second Class Smoking Room, pass the word, we need the Master-at-Arms now !",
"Hey, Jim, it's Spion Kop all over again in the Second Class Smoking Room, get the Master-at-Arms now !"
"Righto, here Bob ! Master-at-Arms, Second Class Smoking Room, urgent !"


Would the Master-at-Arms have carried items such as handcuffs and perhaps even a baton ?

In ships like Olympic and Titanic that did not have a brig, a passenger who broke the rules would probably just be confined to their cabin for the rest of the voyage I imagine ? I'd be interested to know if a shipping line would have the right to take legal action against a passenger (e.g. causing damage to company property or assaulting someone) once they reached port.

Would it also be probable that the Chief Steward or one of the deck officers might have to become involved ?

Thanks again for reading all these silly questions, it really is appreciated !
 
Nov 14, 2005
914
322
133
Your Welcome. I'll try to answer a few of your questions as briefly as I can. There weren not hundreds on my ship...there were over 5000. I'm not sure of the procedures on Titanic but I'm sure there close. At sea we had batons and handcuffs. I never had to use them. We were only ever issued sidearms when accompaning the ships payroll. On Titanic they had Webley's (always liked those) I beleive and sure they had accsess if needed. There were a few brush up's but not very many. Most of the time everybody was too busy...12-15 hours shifts 7 days a week when at sea. Most of what I did was patrol the ship on security and safety rounds. Look for safety problems, make sure nobody was smoking when the smoking lamp was out, tell guys to they needed to hit the barber shop ect. And brig duty which was basically watch the prisoners and take them to the galley to get their bread and water. ( not sure if the navy still does that). I'm sure that any of the crew of Titanic would get involved if needed. Usually what I did unless it was something really serious I would just take the offenders to their Chief and ask him if wanted to handle it or should I put them on report. 99% of the time the Chief would say I'll take care of their ass and he usually did. From what I understand today the PO1's and CPO's have been pretty much neutered from when I was in. Like I said before...it was not for me. I didn't like it. When I made E-5 I was the junior one and got tagged for the duty. I was perfectly happy working on my jets and ordnance. But you serve at the pleasure of the Navy not the other way around. So I did my job the best I could. But as to Titanic and any other ship its basically the same, handled what needs to be taken care of.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
459
185
53
Glasgow, Scotland
Thanks Mr Christian, your a gent !

Your description of your old duties really put some "flesh on the bones" of the master-at-arms role. Now I can imagine how Mr Bailey and Mr King would have went about their duties on the Titanic and what they were looking out for.

Five thousand men on an aircraft carrier ? Bloody hell !

Just out of interest, (I'm presuming you are a proud ex USN man) when you minded the ship's pay, would it have been a M1911 or a Browning you carried ?

Did you ever have to deal with awkward cases such as a crewman wilfully going ashore without permission to i) to see a dying friend or family member, ii) making a last ditch bid to save their marriage iii) see his kids who were in trouble or taken seriously ill ? Things like that must have been horrible to deal with.
 
Nov 14, 2005
914
322
133
Yes it was a standard sidearm Colt 1911 45 cal. I'm not sure what all they had in the ships armory as that was taken care of by the Gunners Mates. But I don't think that had any Brownings. I know they had M14's, M16's, 12 gauge shotguns and 1911's. They also had 38 cal revelovers that were standard issue for the pilots. They carried them under the thoery that they could be operated one handed in case they got injured going down and only had one good hand. As for the other thing you asked no I never had to deal with anybody jumping ship. The most I ever did was while in port at Alameda I had to take prisoners over to Treasure Island for their court martials or to see their lawyer.
P.S. an interesting side note: When we were doing air strikes on Iran you could tell the pilots who had Vietnam combat experiance. They were the one's stuffing 12 gauge shotguns in their cockpits and carrying an extra 45.
Ok...back to Titanic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Similar threads