John Stewart


Matteo Eyre

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Does anyone know the means that Verandah Steward John Stewart boarded a lifeboat?? this site says we was rescued "probably" in lifeboat 15 but in Colonel Archibald Gracie's book Titanic A Survivors Story, 2 crewmen George Frederick Crowe (1st class saloon steward) who survived in boat 14 and Frank Oliver Evans (Able Seaman) who survived in boat 10, both of whom went back with Lowe to pick up survivors claimed that a steward by the name of J Stewart was pulled from the water into their boat, many other sources also say a steward was pulled aboard but don't give a name, was this man Verandah Steward John Stewart?? and also what did a verandah steward do??
Matteo :)
 

L. Colombo

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Usually the steward picked up by No. 14 is identified as Harold Phillimore. I'll check the testimonies by Crowe and Evans if they exist.
 

Matteo Eyre

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I have looked at the page on Phillimore and i see that as possible, could both have been picked up?? As far as i know 4 were picked up from the water, Hoyt, Lang, now Phillimore, could the other have been Stewart?? i can post the relevant section of it onto here if it would make it easier for you??
Cheers Colombo
Matteo :)
 

Bob Godfrey

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John Stewart is generally placed in boat 15 because Samuel Rule, the Chief Bathroom Steward, mentioned in testimony that another steward called Jack (ie John) Stewart was rowing close by him in that boat and eventually took charge of it. But you are right, Matteo, Gracie's book does imply that one of the men picked up from the water by boat 14 was a steward called J. Stewart. There was only one Stewart, and he couldn't have been in two places at the same time. Looking closely at Crowe's account in Gracie's book, he mentions the recovery of only three men, two of whom are clearly Hoyt and Fang Lang and the third is "a steward" - the name inserted in brackets was probably added by Gracie after he'd read Evan's account. Evans is much more vague but mentions four men recovered and names one of them as a steward called J. Stewart. But in his testimony at the American Inquiry he offers no names. To add to the confusion Gracie also cites Samuel Rule's account that Jack Stewart took charge of boat 15. Gracie probably didn't notice this discrepancy, and might have misplaced the steward's name from one set of notes to another. Or maybe when Phillimore was rescued from the water (which he certainly was) he was unable to talk but was found to be carrying a scrap of paper with Stewart's name and address on it. Just idle speculation on my part as I haven't looked at this stuff for many years. It may be that this matter has been debated and resolved in the past, so it would be worthwhile to check the site index here for all references to Stewart.
 

Bob Godfrey

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You also asked what was the role of the verandah steward. No mystery there. He was one of the 'public room stewards', and his work station would have been the Verandah and Palm Court cafe area at the after end of the promenade deck, where he would wait on the passengers and attend to whatever needs they might have. He had an 'assistant', but they were both paid the same so I imagine this didn't imply any authority over the other man. The V & PC was divided into two, port and starboard, so presumably each man worked on one side only.
 

L. Colombo

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Meanwhile I've checked the testimony of Crowe and Evans and none mentions Jack Stewart.
Crowe:

9621. Now, if you will, go on with the story.
- Returning back to the wreckage, we heard various cries, and endeavored to get among them, and we were successful in doing so and in picking one body up that was floating around in the water; when we got him into the boat - after great difficulty, he being such a heavy man - he expired shortly afterwards. [William Hoyt] Going farther into the wreckage we came across a steward or one of the crew [Harold Phillimore], and we got him into the boat, and he was very cold and his hands were kind of stiff, but we got him in and he recovered by the time we got back to the Carpathia.

9622. Did he survive?
- Yes, sir; also a Japanese or Chinese young fellow [Fang Lang] that we picked up on top of some of the wreckage - it might have been a sideboard or table - that was floating around. We stopped until daybreak, and we saw in the distance a raft or Berthon boat submerged, in the distance, with a crowd of men on it. We went over to the boat and found probably 20, or there might have been 25, men and 1 woman; also 3 or 4 dead bodies, which we left. [This obviously was collapsible A.] Returning again under canvas sail - we stepped our mast at night - we took in tow a collapsible boat containing fully 60 people - women, children, and men.[Collapsible D]


Evans:

Mr. EVANS.
No. 14 boat. He came over in No. 14 boat, and he says, "Are there any seamen there?" We said, "Yes, sir." He said, "All right; you will have to distribute these passengers among these boats. Tie them all together and come into my boat," he said, "to go over into the wreckage and pick up anyone that is alive there." So we got into his boat and went straight over toward the wreckage. We picked up four men there, sir; alive.

Senator SMITH.
When you went over toward the wreckage, how many people were in your boat?

Mr. EVANS.
Eight or nine, sir.

Senator SMITH.
And you picked up how many?

Mr. EVANS.
We picked up four persons alive.

Senator SMITH.
Any dead?

Mr. EVANS.
One died on the way back, sir. There were plenty of dead bodies about us.


The identity of this fourth man remains quite a mystery. As Bob Godfrey has pointed out, it's extremely unlikely it could have been Stewart. Some has even suggested that this fourth man wasn't there, or that he died, too; I personally instead think that he was there and survived, and that he should be one of the passengers mentioned in this page: Plucked from the Sea? by Peter Engberg and Tad Fitch :: Titanic Research which are listed as probably not being really rescued from the water. The name I found more often for this fourth man was Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi (but I got convinced that if he was actually rescued from the water, it was from boat 4 instead of 14); but maybe, I think, it could have been also Thure Edvin Lundström or Nassem Cassef Albimona, or somebody else.
 

Matteo Eyre

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Firstly thank you to both of you for your posts, i will start with Bob's posts, i will have a read of Rule's testimony asap, ha ha, i read that he was picked up from the water, looked in my lifeboat file, saw boat 15 and my first thought was "well that doesn't add up" but on reflection i wonder if, whilst trying to say steward the crew mistook it for Stewart and then believed he was J Stewart, would he have had paper with another stewards name on it?? your example of him being unable to speak does seem plausible, will do, now that being his occupation was one thing i hadn't even considered, from verandah i guess that he closed shutters, if that is what a modern day verandah is or was in control of distribution of deck chairs on the decks (respectfully) but it all makes sense now, his assistant being Broome whose jacket was found yes?? were these pair at the same (shipboard) level as the reception room stewards?? Once again thank you, to Colombo the testimony i have i have re read and F O Evans says he was called J Stewart but the latters testimony says steward and in brackets Stewart so on reflection i am inclined not to trust it as much, i guess the testimony you've posted speaks for itself, i too am wondering how Portaluppi entered a lifeboat, i believe he jumped overboard and was pulled into boat 14 after it first hit the water, i refuse to believe he was the man who disguised as a woman, i believe this was Edward Ryan, those 2 you suggested were in boat 15 as well yes?? i believe that there are many firemen and 1 steward who haven't had boats specified, many the other was one of them??
Cheers to both of you and i was wondering, as i am writing my own crew book would i be ok on your behalf to refer to this conversation??
Cheers guys
Matteo :)
 

L. Colombo

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As for Portaluppi I have developed my own theory. Twist of fate, his hometown – Acisate, in the Varese Province, Northwestern Lombardy – is not far from where I live, since I too live in this Province. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any detailed account of his survival; some years ago – for the 100th anniversary, for example – some newspaper published something about his story, which is veeeery far-fetched. The story was more or less that he jumped into the sea, swam for some hours, and then came upon a lifeboat which had Madeleine Astor on board; a sailor tried to keep him back with an oar, but he (Portaluppi) and Mrs. Astor had previously secretly fallen in love, and Mrs. Astor persuaded the sailor to allow Portaluppi to get on board. Now, this is a greeeatly embellished story, but let’s take just a point from it: rescued by a lifeboat which had Mrs. Astor on board, so Boat 4. We know that Boat 4 really came back and plucked several people from the sea; most of them are known by name: Frederick William Scott (fell into the water while climbing some falls down to Boat 4 while it passed alongside the ship, and was recovered by the boat); Samuel Ernest Hemming (climbed down No. 16’s falls – likely just before the final plunge began – and swam for ca. 200 yards to Boat 4, which he had spotted); and Frank George Prentice, Andrew Cunningham, Sidney Conrad Siebert, Thomas Patrick Dillon, Alfred White and William Henry Lyons, all plucked from the sea when Boat 4 came back (Siebert and Lyons died respectively on the boat and on the Carpathia). But besides Prentice, Cunningham, Siebert, Dillon, White and Lyons, there was at least another, unidentified, man who was picked up when Boat 4 came back. Samuel Ernest Hemming gave us some sort of description of this man:

Mr. HEMMING.
After the ship had gone we pulled back and picked up seven.
Senator SMITH.
Who were they?
(...)
Mr. HEMMING.
Stewards, firemen, seamen, and one or two men, passengers; I could not say exactly which they were; anyway, I know there were seven altogether.
Senator SMITH.
Name what you can of them.
(...)
Senator SMITH.
Do you know who these passengers were?
Mr. HEMMING.
I know one was a third class passenger.
Senator SMITH.
What was his name?
Mr. HEMMING.
I do not know, sir.
Senator SMITH.
Where was he from?
Mr. HEMMING.
That I could not tell you, sir.
Senator SMITH.
Was he an Englishman or an American?
Mr. HEMMING.
I spoke to him, and I do not think he was an Englishman.
Senator SMITH.
Do you think he was an American?
Mr. HEMMING.
He spoke very good English, but I have an idea that he was a foreigner of some sort.
Senator SMITH.
You picked these seven men out of the water?
Mr. HEMMING.
Yes, sir.

According to Hemming, the unknown man rescued by Boat 4 was a third class passenger, foreigner (not English), who however spoke very good English. Now, Portaluppi was a second class passenger, not third; but maybe Hemming had guessed his class by his clothing/appearance. What interests me is that the description of this man as a foreigner who spoke good English. Portaluppi was Italian, so he surely would have been a foreigner for Hemming; but he had been living in the USA (in Milford) since years (he was on the Titanic because he was coming back to the USA after a voyage to Italy to visit his hometown), so he probably would have been speaking good English. This makes me think that the unidentified man picked up by Boat 4 could have been Portaluppi, and that Boat 14 rescued somebody else.

But it is just a theory.
 

L. Colombo

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As for Thure Edvin Lundström or Nassem Cassef Albimona, who both said they were rescued from the sea, it has been assumed that they made their stories up and were actually in Boat 15, but as far as I know there is no evidence to support this (but, on the other end, neither to support their claims). I think maybe one of them was really rescued from the water, maybe by Boat 14.

I haven't fully understood the meaning of "would i be ok on your behalf to refer to this conversation??" - if you mean if you could refer to this conversation on your book or anywhere else, feel free, for what concerns what I have said.
 

L. Colombo

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I say Lundström or Albimona, among all the unconfirmed ‘rescued by the sea’ stories (99 % of them made-up – obviously except for the ca. 50 or so people who were really rescued by No. 4 and No.14 or on Collapsible A and B and which I have listed elsewhere) because it seems to me that they are the only ones, among those who made such claims, who are presumed to have instead left the ship on a lifeboat before she sank although there are no more evidence than speculation about this (the others, I mean, were recognized and mentioned by others who were on the same boat, or even they themselves gave different versions – i.e. first: “I was plucked from the sea” and then “I abandoned the ship in a lifeboat” or vice versa – or totally unbelievable stories).

About Albimona, for example, it has been discussed how did it happen that Houssein Mohamed Hassan Albimona, the 11-year-old family fried he was accompanying in the USA, died while Nassef Cassem was saved. It has been discussed elsewhere on this forum, someone said that maybe Nassef had placed Houssein in a boat and then left and subsequently Houssein was forced to leave the boat because maybe he seemed older than he really was, etc. I think instead that maybe, simply, neither Houssein nor Nassef Albimona had managed to get in a lifeboat before the ship sank, so they both ended into the water, Nassef was rescued by a boat while Houssein died. But this is, too, speculation.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Just to add to this conversation, in addition to one of Stewart's fellow stewards testifying that he was in Boat 15, Stewart himself told his family that he boarded a boat from the deck, and that it was the 'last boat', which matches up with No.15, since it was the last in that section of the ship. Stewart was never in the water.

There were either 3 or 4 rescued from the water by No.14. One of the Chinese sailors, often identified as Fang Lang, Phillimore, and Hoyt, who died. I'm not convinced there was a fourth person necessarily.

All my best,
Tad
 

Matteo Eyre

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That story does seem very far fetched and i doubt that a woman who had Mr Astor as a husband would have fallen for a 2nd class man and an Italian (i mean no offence by this as i am Italian also but i am aware tht back then they were discriminated against) yes it sounds like it could have been Portaluppi, i believe you're onto something here, yeah it's difficult when they don't say yes or no, yes that was what i meant, i'm just trying to avoid copyright claims so i ask people on things i may use, thank you by the way, i believe Albimona could have been rescued from the sea, many stories i'm sure were made up to try and improve how people appeared in the sinking, your suggestion does seem extremely probable and i do believe you're onto something there
Cheers Colombo
Matteo :)
 

Matteo Eyre

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Oh right, cheers Tad, i guess Phillimore was trying to say Steward and it was mistaken or Stewart, oh course, does anyone really know the exact number, i've heard anything from 8 to 3
Cheers Tad
Matteo :)
 

Bob Godfrey

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From Tad's extra info it's clear that Jack Stewart was in boat 15. As for the reference to 'J. Stewart' in Gracie's book, that could be due to Gracie getting his notes mixed up, or to Phillimore (or the fourth man if there was one) wearing or carrying something with that name on it, leading to misidentification. But you can be sure if there was a fourth man pulled from the water by the crew of Lowe's boat his name certainly wasn't Stewart. There was only one other of that name onboard and that was a 1st Class passenger who didn't survive. I don't have anything useful to contribute to the debate about who this (possible) fourth man might have been, but if you're interested in that, Matteo, there are lots of duscussions here in the archives.
 

Matteo Eyre

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Yep it is pretty conclusive, yes he must have got his notes muddled, i'm going to have a look for any information on the other man
Cheers everyone for your help
Matteo :)
 

Brian Durrans

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is John Stewart, a steward on the Titanic who survived the disaster, the same as the Jack Steward who wrote a note later retrieved from a bottle and referred to in Hoffman and Grimm (1982: Beyond Reach, p. 95 and photo of note among illustrations between pp.64-75)? In that photo the word is definitely Steward not Stewart, so could possibly be his job-title rather than his surname. Can anyone clarify this?
 

Brian Durrans

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William Hoffman & Jack Grimm (Beyond Reach: the search for the Titanic. New York, Beaufort Books, 1982) refer on p. 95 to a note from Stewart which they say came to light after having been washed up on a beach and given to a colleague of the authors by “a woman from Maine” who had read about their planned search for the Titanic. A photograph of the alleged note is reproduced in their book among the illustrations between pp. 64-75. The only other instance I've heard of concerning a note thrown overboard or otherwise surviving from the sinking ship is one from Jeremiah Burke of Glanmire, which is reported to have been found washed up near his birthplace in Ireland and is currently on display, in the bottle in which it was supposedly found, at the local museum in Cobh. If anyone can shed any light on (the alleged) John Stewart's alleged message and whether he was Stewart or (just a) steward, I'd be really grateful to hear about it. Many thanks
 
Nov 13, 2014
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Edward P. De Groot speaks about a note being written on board the sinking Titanic. Freely translated from Dutch:
"On the tilting deck of the TITANIC a left-behind passenger wrote a good-bye note and put it in a medicine bottle. Being in a hurry, he wrote down the wrong date, but the bottle reached its destiny: the shores of Newfoundland."
This is what's written in the second print:
"On board the sinking Titanic third class passenger Jeremiah Bruke wrote a good-bye note and put it in a medicine bottle which was later found on Newfoundland shores. Jeremiah Bruke and his wife weren't among the rescued."
This is the only note from the sinking Titanic I know about, but maybe there was another note?
 

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