How Would A Steward Deal With An Unruly Passenger ?


Seumas

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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
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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
 
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Seumas

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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 !
 
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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.
 
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Seumas

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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.
 
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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.
 
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Yuriko Cheng

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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.
On the night of the sinking passenger Noris Williams broke down a cabin door on E Deck to free a man trapped inside and a steward said that everyone involved would be charged for damaging White Star property once the ship reached New York. So I think the answer to your question would be yes, the line could take action against a passenger, though I doubt they would be brave enough to go against the big names in first class like the Astors and the Guggenheims.
 

Jim Currie

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On the night of the sinking passenger Noris Williams broke down a cabin door on E Deck to free a man trapped inside and a steward said that everyone involved would be charged for damaging White Star property once the ship reached New York. So I think the answer to your question would be yes, the line could take action against a passenger, though I doubt they would be brave enough to go against the big names in first class like the Astors and the Guggenheims.
I served on passenger ship's for a number of years and never witnessed any of the goings-on described herein. Only in movies have I seen such behaveiour.
If a passenger got too drunk, his companions usually got him quietly away. On board ship, the captain is in supreme command. Anyone causing disruption to the smooth running would be locked up and a guard put on the door.
I do remember one incident when the Captain's Tiger - his personal steward went doolally and stabbed him many times with an ice pick. We did not have a Sergeant at Arms.. just some very efficient ABs who we had arrest and restrain him in "irons" and lock him in one of the surgery rooms of the hospital. The captain recovered.
In another incident we had a man go crazy. He too was locked up. but someone gave him a cup of tea. he drank the tea then smashed the cup and used the broken crockery to cut his own throat... Ah! Happy days.
Having told you the gory bits, I believe that most passengers back in the old days and certainly in my early days had a modicum of good manners and behaviour patterns which precluded any of the scenes depicted in movies or imagined.
 

Yuriko Cheng

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his personal steward went doolally and stabbed him many times with an ice pick
OUCH. what happened to the poor guy in the end? Was he arrested? Wait...Where did he get an ice pick from on a passenger ship? I'm not doubting your account, I'm just really curious to know more details
On the night of the sinking passenger Noris Williams broke down a cabin door on E Deck to free a man trapped inside and a steward said that everyone involved would be charged for damaging White Star property
The incident I am referring to happened quite early on in the sinking, after Captain Smith gave orders for everyone to assemble on Boat Deck but before most people realised the gravity of the situation. To me it seemed quite reasonable that the steward scolded the passengers the way he did. I wonder, if the disaster had happened in the 21st century rather than the 20th, would any of us be brave enough to take matters into our own hands and smash down a door to free a man?
 
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I served on passenger ship's for a number of years and never witnessed any of the goings-on described herein. Only in movies have I seen such behaveiour.
If a passenger got too drunk, his companions usually got him quietly away. On board ship, the captain is in supreme command. Anyone causing disruption to the smooth running would be locked up and a guard put on the door.
I do remember one incident when the Captain's Tiger - his personal steward went doolally and stabbed him many times with an ice pick. We did not have a Sergeant at Arms.. just some very efficient ABs who we had arrest and restrain him in "irons" and lock him in one of the surgery rooms of the hospital. The captain recovered.
In another incident we had a man go crazy. He too was locked up. but someone gave him a cup of tea. he drank the tea then smashed the cup and used the broken crockery to cut his own throat... Ah! Happy days.
Having told you the gory bits, I believe that most passengers back in the old days and certainly in my early days had a modicum of good manners and behaviour patterns which precluded any of the scenes depicted in movies or imagined.
I believe that. Different world back then. Today it seems like once a month you read about something happening on a cruise ship ie...people getting pushed overboard, adult activities getting out of hand in the steam rooms...ect ect. I'm sure your captain probably did an in-depth interview of personal stewards after that. Good thing he wasn't a boatswain's. All the ones I knew always had a knife on them. The only violent incident I remember on my ship was a couple of BT's went at it and one got smacked upside the head with a valve wrench. I had to sit thru the guys court martial. He was a problem child and ended up with a six six and a kick (booted out of the navy).
P.S...from what I've read lately the navy is way different today from when I was in. Don't know how they do things today. On my ship we had what were called friday night smokers (boxing matches on the hangar deck). Some of those matches were guys settling their beefs under the "suggestion" of their chiefs. Probably too primitive in today's world.
 
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Jim Currie

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Hi!
What about the padded room?
When I was a boy, Cam, I was threatened with a pdded cell when behavin stupidly. The old Scots would say of someone acting stupidy -"That yin shid be in a padded cell, wi' the Deil' himsel' (meaning with the Devil)
OUCH. what happened to the poor guy in the end? Was he arrested? Wait...Where did he get an ice pick from on a passenger ship? I'm not doubting your account, I'm just really curious to know more details

The incident I am referring to happened quite early on in the sinking, after Captain Smith gave orders for everyone to assemble on Boat Deck but before most people realised the gravity of the situation. To me it seemed quite reasonable that the steward scolded the passengers the way he did. I wonder, if the disaster had happened in the 21st century rather than the 20th, would any of us be brave enough to take matters into our own hands and smash down a door to free a man?
The steward was subdued by the ship's surgeon and taken ashore atthe next port of call. The ice pick was part of the captain's table wear and came with an ice bucket. It looked a bit like a small marlin spike made of silver with a bone handle.
 
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