Leading Fireman Thomas Ford


Thomas Ford

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Nov 30, 2000
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Hello Everyone, while going though my family's genealogical record I have discovered that I am related to Thomas Ford, leading fireman on-board the Titanic. I have read his biography on the site and was wondering if anyone had any additional information on him and, if possible, his actions during the sinking. Also, what exactly did a leading fireman do? Thanks
 
Apr 27, 2003
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Hello Thomas and welcome to the board.
I have the following on Thomas Ford:

Ford, Thomas. Lived at 36 Russell Street, Southampton. Occupation - Leading Fireman. 30 years old. (Born in Liverpool).
(From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913)
Number 103. Ford, Sarah, widow. Stepchildren: Mundy, Catherine; John; Ann; and Mary. Ford, Thomas, child. All class F dependants.
In memoriam, The Hampshire Independent, Saturday, April 17, 1915:
In loving memory of Thomas Ford . . . He's gone the one we loved so dear, To his eternal rest, He's gone to Heaven, we have no fear, To be for ever blest, We cannot bend beside his grave, For he sleeps in the deep, deep sea, And never will one treacherous wave, Point out the place to me. From his loving wife and children.

I hope it helps? Cheers Brian
 
Mar 22, 2003
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www.titanicology.com
Thomas,

A leading fireman was was in charge of a section of typically 8 to 10 fireman and 4 trimmers assigned to a boiler room during a 4-hour watch period. All firemen and trimmers worked 4 hours on and 8 hours off. The leading firemen had their own living quarters on G deck port-side forward. There were only 15 leading firemen on board, and with 5 boiler rooms to feed, 5 of them would be on duty at any given time.

What we know about Thomas Ford comes from his mate leading fireman Charles Hendrickson. He and Thomas Ford shared the 4 to 8 watch. That means he worked 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day. When the accident happened he and Hendrickson were off duty asleep in their quarters. Apparently Thomas was awakened by the impact but Charles was not. Thomas went and pulled Charles out of bed and together they went up on deck with many others see what happened. There they found ice in the forward well deck and noticed that the ship seemed to have stopped. Thinking that nothing too serious happened, Charles Hendrickson went back below to turn in again. Soon Thomas came back down and and told Charles that the ship was making water down at the base of the spiral staircase that led down to the stokeholds. Hendrickson then went to the port side staircase near their quarters to look for himself and saw water rushing in from the starboard side. And that is last direct evidence that we have about Thomas Ford's activities that night.

It is likely, however, that Thomas was called down to help draw fires from some of the boilers to prevent the steam pressure from building up soon afterward. All firemen were released at 1:20 a.m. when it was decided that there was nothing else for them to do. We know that Thomas, like so many others who worked below, were not saved.
 

Thomas Ford

Member
Nov 30, 2000
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Thank you very much for the information. It certainly means a lot to me since I was named for him. If you like I can add some additional family information for him. Sarah Ford never remarried and the entire family relocated to Pennsylvania in 1918-1920 and his son Thomas became a coal miner in the Wyoming Valley. We knew of his relationship to Hendrickson since they were bunk mates and apparently we believe they were friends on shore as well having previously served together on the Oceanic i think and it was Hendrickson who later got Thomas to join him on the Titanic. I don't know if this is a place for rumor but family legend has it that one of the crew met Sarah and told her Thomas was helping those trying to clear collapsible A and was last seen on collapsible B after the sinking and later succumbed to the cold.
 

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