Killed during construction


Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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I was reading the Eaton and Haas book, 'A Journey Through Time' and they mention the deaths of workers at Harland and Wolff during construction. They don't name them all, but if I remember correctly, they suggest as many as eight men might have died. Does anyone have any names or other information? I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I can't remeember the names cited by Eaton and Haas.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Ian!

Stephen Cameron researched this aspect of the Titanic's construction. He stated that there were eight fatal accidents, six in the shipyard and two in the works. Of these, he was able to identify the following:

Samuel J Scott
John Kelly
William Clarke
James Dobbin
Robert James Murphy

His book, Belfast's Own, has some details relating to these fatal accidents.
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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Hi Inger

I thought you were still away enjoying the Yorkshire snow! I don't own that book, but I think I've heard of it. I will have to look it up and see if I can get a copy. I was just curious as it seemed a higher number of deaths than I thought I had previously heard. Best wishes for the new year. I will speak to you soon.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Ian,
A while ago I sent copies of the five named construction worker's death certificates to Phil Hind and you can view them on this site. Just feed in the names in the search window and they'll pop up.

Regards,
Phillip
 
Dec 7, 2000
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People seem to point out the deaths caused by or as a result of Titanic (pre-sailing). However shipyard deaths were not uncommon. Anyone know how many might have been killed during Olympic's construction?

Daniel.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Daniel - According to Cameron, the figures came from a report to the normal managers' meeting at the Harland & Wolff shipyards. A similar report for the Olympic submitted on 8 June 1911 states that there were nine fatal, fourteen severe and 206 slight accidents during work on her. There was even one man shot by a co-worker (he survived). Cameron lists some of those who died while working on the Olympic:

John Bell
George Simpson
Robert Murphy Jr (son of the Robert Murphy later to die during the construction of the Titanic).

Cameron also lists seven other deaths that occured in the shipyard between 1909 - 1912, one of whom (Samuel Haire) was a relative of Cameron's wife.

Phil - I had a vague recollection of having seen something about the shipyard deaths on the site. Teach me not to post without doing an ET search, and trust it to be you with those Entries of Death!

Ian - We got back into town shortly before NY's Eve, and I've just packed Ilya off at Heathrow airport. Will be in touch soon - hope you got the email I sent before we headed up North again.

~ Inger
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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Inger

Yes, I got your message, thanks. You will be glad you left Yorkshire - it was minus ten degrees here last night. I have just read your post about the SC4 Lowe documentary. I can get that on satellite, but I was in Cambridge over new year, so I missed it anyway. Aaagh!
I'm sorry I didn't get chance to speak more with Ilya because of our rushed day. I look forward to following up our discussions.

Philip and Daniel - thanks for the above. I will follow up and have a look. Amongst my sins, I am a qualified health and safety officer, so the subject was of interest to me. Of course, construction is still the worst industry for accidents, even in the modern day, so the number of deaths was probably not uncommon for such big ships.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Ian, all things considered, I'm astonished that there were as few deaths as there were in Titanic's construction. Hell, just the way red hot rivits were passed from where they were heated to where they were hammered in place would make any occupational safety and health inspector cringe.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

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