Location of surviving people on board Titanic when the final plunge began

L. Colombo

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As it is known, over 1550 people where on board the Titanic when she began her “final plunge”, at 2.15 AM, and only about 50 of them survived, either reaching collapsible A and B or being picked up by No. 4 and 14. I’ve been trying to determine the position of each of them when the final plunge began. Here’s the list of the people I think were on board the Titanic when the final plunge began:

1) Peter Dennis Daly
2) George Alexander Lucien Rheims
3) Richard Norris Williams II
4) Rhoda Mary Abbott
5) Olaus Jørgensen Abelseth
7) Carl Olof Jansson
8) Oscar Wilhelm Olsson/Johansson
9) David Vartanian (possibly)
10) August Edvard Andersson/Wennerström
11) Gunnar Isidor Tenglin (possibly)
12) Edward Brown
13) William A. Lucas
14) William McIntyre
15) William John Mellors
16) James Thompson
17) August H. Weikman
18) Harold Charles William Phillimore
19) John Collins
20) Charles John Joughin
21) Walter Hurst
22) Victor Sunderland
23) Patrick O’Keefe
24) Edward Arthur Dorking
25) Ernest Frederick Allen
26) Harold Sidney Bride
27) Albert Johan Moss
28) Eugene Patrick Daly
29) Sidney Edward Daniels
30) Cecil William Fitzpatrick
31) Albert William Hebb
32) Archibald Gracie IV
33) Charles Herbert Lightoller
34) John Borland Thayer jr.
35) Robert Williams Daniels (possibly)
36) Thomas Patrick Dillon
37) Frank George Prentice
38) Alfred White
39) Thomas Arthur Whiteley
40) Andrew Cunningham
41) Samuel Ernest Hemming
42) Fang Lang
43) Eustace Philip Snow
43) Henry Senior
44) Charles Edward Judd
45) James McGann
46) John O’Connor
47) George Alexander Prangnell
48) William Charles Lindsay
49) Isaac Hiram Maynard
50) Algernon Henry Wilson Barkworth
51) Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi (possibly)

And here’s what I’ve been able to discover about them:

1. Peter Dennis Daly: on boat deck, helping a woman to jump overboard and then preparing he himself to jump, when “a big wave came sweeping along the Boat Deck, washing him clear of the ship”. This wave should have been the “tidal wave” which washed away the forward end of the Boat Deck when the bridge was underwater. So Daly was probably somewhere in the forward end of the Boat Deck, possibly starboard side (since he ended up in collapsible A).

2. George Alexander Lucien Rheims: jumping in the sea from starboard side, amidships, near the gymnasium (Limitation of Liability hearing).

3. Richard Norris Williams II: near the gymnasium along with his father Charles Duane Williams, when the water flooded the deck? Possibly a little more forward, on Boat Deck between the first and the second funnel, since his father was killed by the falling of the first funnel and he himself narrowly escaped it? Starboard side (since he reached collapsible A)?

4. Rhoda Mary Abbott: forward end of Boat Deck, starboard side, near collapsible A. Trying to step onto collapsible A along with her sons Eugene and Rossmore when they were all swept away by the “tidal wave”.

5. Olaus Jørgensen Abelseth: portside, Boat Deck (he said “top deck”), near the fourth funnel, along with his cousin Peter Søholt and his brother-in-law Sigurd Hansen Moen (who did not survive).

6. Carl Olof Jansson: starboard side, possibly near the forward end of the boat deck and not far from collapsible A?

7. Oscar Wilhelm Olsson/Johansson: near the forward end of Boat Deck, starboard side, non far from collapsible A?

8. David Vartanian: unknown?

9. August Edvard Andersson/Wennerström: trying to go towards the stern along with Gunnar Isidor Tenglin (possibly), the Lindells and the Pålsson children, but sliding back (since the deck had become to steep) and ending up in the forward end of the boat deck, starboard side, near collapsible A?

10. Gunnar Isidor Tenglin (if he did not leave in boat 15): see above.

11. Edward Brown: forward end of Boat Deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A (and also jumping into it when the water flooded the deck, but only to be washed over by the “tidal wave”).

12. William A. Lucas: unknown?

13. William McIntyre: unknown?

14. William John Mellors: forward end of boat deck, working at a collapsible boat when the “tidal wave” came. Probably this collapsible was A, so starboard side, even if it seems that Mellors ended up saved in B.

15. James Thompson: unknown?

16. August H. Weikman: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A when he was washed overboard by the “tidal wave”.

17. Harold Charles William Phillimore: I’ve not found any detailed account about him. I know he floated for some time on a piece of wood along with another survivor, who died, before he was rescued by No. 14 (has this second man ever been identified?), but where was he when the ship sank?

18. John Collins: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, not far from collapsible A. He had started heading for the stern along with a woman, her two children and a steward, when they were all washed overboard by the “tidal wave”. I saw a diagram placing him somewhere around the davits of No. 7 boat.

19. Charles John Joughin: poop deck (but on the side of the ship, not on deck), starboard side, holding the rail on the outside. He stayed there until the ship sank completely.

20. Walter Hurst: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A. He apparently jumped overboard slightly before the “tidal wave” came.

21. Victor Sunderland: forward end of boat deck, port side, near collapsible B. He jumped overboard when the water began to flood the deck.

22. Patrick O’Keefe: he reportedly jumped in the sea along with Victor Sunderland and Edward Dorking, so see above.

23. Edward Arthur Dorking: see above. But in an interview he claimed he climbed to a railing and then jumped from 40 feet.

24. Ernest Frederick Allen: jumped in the water from boat deck, but from where?

25. Harold Sidney Bride: forward end of boat deck, port side, near collapsible B. Swept away by the “tidal wave”.

26. Albert Johan Moss: forward end of boat deck, port side, working at collapsible B when he was swept away by the “tidal wave”.

27. Eugene Patrick Daly: forward end of boat deck, port side, working at collapsible B?

28. Sidney Edward Daniels: forward end of boat deck, port side, near the bridge and collapsible B. He jumped in the sea when the water began flooding the deck.

29. Cecil William Fitzpatrick: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A?

30. Albert William Hebb: unknown?

31. Archibald Gracie IV: boat deck, starboard side, near the officer mess, along with James Clinch Smith. They had just left the men working at collapsible A and headed towards the stern, when the water flooded the deck. I found a diagram indicating Gracie’s position as boat deck, starboard side, around either No. 3 or No. 5 davits.

32. Charles Herbert Lightoller: on top of the officer’s quarters, starboard side, when he was swept into the sea by the “tidal wave”.

33. John Borland Thayer jr.: boat deck, starboard side, along with Milton Long. They jumped into the sea, but I can’t understand exactly from where. Since once in the water he was nearly crushed by the falling of the second funnel, perhaps he was on the starboard side of the boat deck near the second funnel. Also for Thayer I found a diagram, showing his position as boat deck, starboard side, a little aft of the second funnel.

34. Robert Williams Daniels: stern top deck (poop deck, extreme stern), he jumped into the sea just before the stern was submerged. (From Dillon’s account)

35. Thomas Patrick Dillon: stern top deck (poop deck, extreme stern), along with fellow firemen John Bannon, Dennis Cochrane, Thomas Blake and J. Mason. He stayed there until the ship sank completely.

36. Frank George Prentice: stern, port side, holding on the rail near the “Notice. This vessel has triple screws. Keep clear of blades” sign along with Cyril Ricks and M. Kieran. He jumped in the sea from an height of about 75 feet, narrowly missing the propellers, when the stern was almost vertical.

37. Alfred White: near the fourth funnel or even on top of it (is it possible?)?

38. Thomas Arthur Whiteley: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A?

39. Andrew Cunningham: either somewhere on port side (along with Sidney Conrad Siebert), preparing to jump into the sea (is it clear where was he when he jumped into the sea? I’m not even sure he was on the port side, I assumed this because he swam to no. 4 that was lowered on the port side. Probably somewhere near the stern, since nearly all the known swimmers saved by No. 4 were on the stern), or already in the water.

40. Samuel Ernest Hemming: either on port side, climbing down No. 15 boat falls to the sea, or already in the water swimming towards No. 4 boat, or already in No. 4 after having swum to it.

41. Fang Lang: unknown?

42. Eustace Philip Snow: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A?

43. Henry Senior: forward end of boat deck, working at a collapsible. A or B?

44. Charles Edward Judd: unknown?

45. James McGann: forward end of boat deck, port side, working at collapsible B.

46. John O’Connor: unknown?

47. George Alexander Prangnell: unknown?

48. William Charles Lindsay: unknown? (“I was on the ship till the water came up to the funnel and got away on a raft”, the raft is collapsible B).

49. Isaac Hiram Maynard: unknown?

50. Algernon Henry Wilson Barkworth: He jumped in the sea from the starboard side of boat deck, but from where?

51. Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi: unknown?

So, 51 people all in all. Possibly. Maybe some of them weren’t actually on board, and some other not enlisted were. Many are somehow placed, though with many uncertainties; but for 15 of them (Vartanian, Lucas, McIntyre, Thompson, Phillimore, Allen, Hebb, Lang, Judd, O’Connor, Prangnell, Lindsay, Maynard, Barkworth, Portaluppi) I found nothing or almost nothing. Does anyone know more? Addictions, corrections, confirmations, accounts which place some of the 15 ‘missing’ or give a better placing for any of the others?

I was thinking about making a diagram of the Titanic, showing all these people’s position at 2.15 AM. Where can I find a large and quite detailed diagram of the ship (both profile and plan)?
 

L. Colombo

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But I'm not good at computer drawing. However, I found a Titanic profile on Wikipedia (so it should be public domain), what now I need is a plant.

Edit - Point 40, Hemming, I obviously intended No. 16 (not 15)'s falls.
 

andyw

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ive been reading this forum for some time now but ive never posted. i just had to though to thank you for this really interesting and informative post. it mustve taken some time to research and write out, and again, its really appreciated
 

L. Colombo

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Now it should work. Starboard side diagram: Titanic FP Starboard.jpg
Port side diagramTitanic FP Port.jpg:

This leaves 18 locations 'unaccounted for': David Vartanian, William A. Lucas, William McIntyre, James Thompson, Harold Charles William Phillimore, Ernest Frederick Allen, Albert William Hebb, Andrew Cunningham, Fang Lang, Henry Senior, Charles Edward Judd, John O'Connor, George Alexander Prangnell, William Charles Lindsay, Isaac Hiram Maynard, Algernon Henry William Barkworth, Emilio Ilario Giuseppe Portaluppi.

As I said, Allen jumped from the boat deck, Senior was working at a collapsible but I can't find out wheter it was A or B, Lindsay's statement (“I was on the ship till the water came up to the funnel and got away on a raft”) may suggest he was near collapsible B, but it is not explained if he was already near the "raft" when the water came, or if he reached it later, Barkworth jumped in the sea from the starboard side of boat deck, but it's not speficied from where, Cunningham probably jumped from portside stern, but it's only an assumption of mine based on the location of the other people picked up by No. 4. For all the others, I found nothing at all which could give some information about their position.

I think the most interesting account would be that of Phillimore (and, if any detailed account exist, of Fang Lang and Portaluppi). From what we know, the majority of collapsible A and B survivors came from the forward end of boat deck (mostly starboard side), while all or nearly all survivors picked up by No. 4 where on the stern, port side. But I don't know at all from where the three survivors picked up by No. 14 came.

Titanic FP Port.jpg


Titanic FP Starboard.jpg
 

Thomas Ozel

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20. Walter Hurst: forward end of boat deck, starboard side, working at collapsible A. He apparently jumped overboard slightly before the “tidal wave” came.
I think Hurst was actually on the port side of the forward boat deck, as he states in this 1957 Titanic documentary that he got onto the collapsible boat that had been washed off the deck, within few yards from him. He also clearly boarded collapsible B beyond the ship had completely sunk, so he could not have been on the starboard side when he jumped off the ship.


Thomas

Titanic Archive - 1957 Interviews - YouTube
 

L. Colombo

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Well, Hurst’s testimony seems to be quite unclear about the collapsible he was talking about. From his letter to Walter Lord: “the Chief Officer shouted any crew here and about 7-8 stepped forward and he said hurry men, up there and cut that boat adrift it was a collapsible on top of Smoke room we got it down to the deck but could not overhaul boats falls as they were hanging down shipside in waters. (...) there came a terrible crashing of machinery falling forward and one Propellor fell off the After funnel fell in the sea near me and I was half blinded by soot and water then came the raft we had cut adrift it fell within a dozen feet of me and some men were clinging to it”
“I saw the 2nd Officer get onto the raft and he at once took charge cut away an oar that was lashed on and told me to use it to try and get the raft clear”

The “Chief Officer” (that could be either Murdoch or, less likely, Wilde) and the attempt to overhaul the falls and bring the boar near to them seems to indicate collapsible A. But Hurst was saved on collapsible B, and he says that the “raft” he reached was the same boat he was talking about before. As for Hurst’s possibility of having reached B, after the sinking, from starboard side: but many other survivors from starboard side reached collapsible B, both before and after the ship sank.

Quite a confusing situation, I would say.
 

Thomas Ozel

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You're right it is quite confusing, as there were indeed survivors who were on the starboard side who made it to collapsible B. However Hurst states in the 1957 documentary that he arrived at the overturned lifeboat before "the Second Officer" - refering to Lightoller. Lightoller stated in a BBC radio interview in 1936 that after he climbed aboard boat B, he saw the Titanic sink, with the stern going almost vertical. Hurst also states that he never took his attention off the boat he had seen washed off the deck, so presumably swam for it as quickly as he could, and arrived before Lightoller. I don't think it would have been possible for Hurst to reach it so quickly if he'd been on the starboard side, and before the ship had completely sunk, however I could be wrong.

Thomas
 

L. Colombo

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This poses another problem. Hurst, in the 1957 interview, stated that he arrived on collapsible B before Lightoller. But Lightoller, in his testimony at the US Enquiry, stated that he was the first who got onto collapsible B:

Senator SMITH.
This lifeboat which was taken from the top of the officers' quarters, and that you finally reached, contained how many people?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
When it floated off the ship?
Senator SMITH.
Yes.
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
I could not say how many.
Senator SMITH.
How many after you had gotten into it?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER.
We were thrown off a couple of times. It was cleared; it was a flat collapsible boat. When I came to it, it was bottom up, and there was no one on it.

So, according to Lightoller, nobody, neither Hurst nor anybody else, got on collapsible B before him.

Hurst, instead, said in the 1957 interview that "I managed to get on to it, followed quickly by the second officer and a few others.". Now, who's right? Lightoller or Hurst?

However, there doesn't seem to be such a difference. Lightoller said he was the first who got on B, so also before Hurst; Hurst says Lightoller got on B immediately after him. So they spent more or less the same time in the water before reaching B. Now, we know that Lightoller was on starboard side (even if on top of the officer's quarters, and not on the boat deck) when the water came, from his enquiry testimony and from his letter to Murdoch's wife. So, Lightoller, washed overboard from the starboard side, was able to reach B before the ship sank, and about the same time as Hurst, if not before him; so I assume that also Hurst could have done the same, quickly reaching B after being swept in the water from the starboard side. Actually, it seems that several, maybe over a half, of Collapsible B survivors came from starboard side: apart from Lightoller and Hurst, also Gracie, Thayer, Whiteley, Joughin, Fitzpatrick, Collins, Snow, Barkworth, Mellors (though with many uncertainties for some). McGann, S. E. Daniels, Bride, Daly, Sunderland, Dorking, O’Keefe, Moss were instead probably on port side, while for Senior, Prangnell, O’Connor, Maynard, Lindsay, Judd, Hebb and Allen I’ve not been able to determine whether was port or starboard. I remember reading somewhere that collapsible B appears to have been driven towards starboard and the stern by some suction force.

Another thing that makes me think that Hurst was on starboard side is also his mention of the lowering of No. 9 boat. In fact, No. 9 wasn’t lowered as late as he wrote in his letter to Walter Lord, where it seems to have been the last boat launched before trying to free the collapsible from the top of the officer’s quarters, so he probably mistaken another boat for No. 9; but this would indicate starboard side (without a subsequent mention of moving to the other side of the ship). Hurst also says that “the Chief Officer shouted any crew here and about 7-8 stepped forward”. Edward Brown, who was among the men working at collapsible A, also said:

10633. How many men did it take to get that collapsible boat off the house?
- I could not tell you the number; there were seven or eight on the top deck and two or three down below receiving it.

Moreover, Hurst mentions an attempt to bring the collapsible boat near the davits, which proved to be useless (as it happened with Collapsible A; with B, as far as I know, there was never such an attempt, since the boat had ended up on the deck upside down), and doesn’t mention the capsizing of the boat while trying to bring it from the roof of the officer’s quarters to the boat deck.
 

Thomas Ozel

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I've just noticed in Victor Sunderland's profile (another survivor from collapsible B), it says that Lightoller and several fireman were trying to launch collapsible B, and that as the front of the ship began to sink rapidly, the firemen jumped overboard and Sunderland followed them. Could Hurst have been one of these firemen? I know in the 1957 documentary he is described as a greaser, but there were several fireman aboard the ship who were assigned to work in the engine room e.g. Thomas Dillon, but were still listed on the crew list as stokers/trimmers, and would probably have been wearing the same clothing as firemen. I think with some survivors it is going to be impossible to conclusively determine exactly where they were when they jumped off the ship, because survivors accounts often contradict one another, especially those made over 30 years after the event, during which time a person's memory can get mixed up over certain details.

Mr Victor Francis Sunderland - Titanic Survivor
 

L. Colombo

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Well, Hurst could well have been one of the firemen mentioned by Sunderland (if he was on port side). Or not. It's impossible to say, it seems that a lot of firemen, trimmers and greasers were working at and surrounding both Collapsible A and B at the time that the forward boat deck was submerged. As for the surviving ones, I've been able to place only (apart for Hurst) trimmers James McGann (working at collapsible B) and Eustace Philip Snow (working at collapsible A). But also trimmers Ernest Frederick Allen, Albert Hebb, William McIntyre and John O’Connor, firemen Charled Edward Judd, William Charles Lindsay, Henry Senior and John William Thompson and greaser George Alexander Prangnell were saved on the two collapsibles, and many of them were very likely near them (or working at them) already when the boat deck began flooding. For example, Senior said he was working on a collapsible, but I can't understand what.
 

Scott Mills

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37: I am not familiar with Alfred White, but it was possible to ascend to the top of funnel 4 through a set of internal stairs. There is a very famous photograph of a fireman peering over the lip of this funnel in Queen's Town. I would imagine if Alfred White was located here he was a crew member?

Edit

Alfred White was a greaser aboard Titanic. Absolutely possible he was atop funnel four.

I could not find the Titanic image on short notice (we only have a couple minutes to edit our posts) but I did find an image http://magnificenttitanic.tumblr.com/post/33952402285/a-crewman-takes-a-break-to-smoke-at-the-top-of-the.

This shows a crewman onboard Olympic, probably in the 1920s, atop Olympics number four funnel.
 

L. Colombo

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Well, I was not putting into discussion that White left the engine rooms by ascending the fourth funnel; but was it possible for him to be still atop the funnel when the ship broke in two, and to survive?
 

Thomas Ozel

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I find myself wondering why White would have been at the top of the 4th funnel during the breakup. Analysis of testimonies from other engine room survivors make it clear that all personnel were ordered out of the engine room about an hour before the final plunge and they clearly had sufficient time to reach the well deck, and even obtain lifebelts on the way up (see the article below), so what could anyone gain by ascending the aft funnel? - when all other workers were leaving via the main exits?

As regards the theory of White being atop the funnel during the breakup, and surviving - this seems unlikely as Thomas Dillon stated at the British Inquiry that he saw the fourth funnel fall aft during the sinking, and I don't think that it would have been possible for anyone at the top of this structure to survive it's collapse.

Personally, I don't think that White was at the top of the funnel during the sinking.

A Last Bright Shining Lie by Senan Molony :: Titanic Research
 

Scott Mills

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Thomas,

I agree with you completely. My only reservation being that it does not necessarily strike me as odd someone would have ascended funnel 4 when relieved of their duty. Depending on a number of personal variables, like how long you think the ship has, if you think she'll founder at all (there is plenty of evidence that crew were debating this moments before the boat deck became awash), or your perceived chances of rescue, someone might be convinced that going to the top of that funnel was a good idea.

It was the aft most funnel far above the water so its not inconceivable someone might choose here to wait.

Now having said that the physics of actually being atop that funnel when it collapsed and living seems nearly impossible. I suppose you could have one of those miraculous situations, like people without seat belts being ejected to safety from an otherwise fatal automobile accident by an impact, but that seems almost like it would require "magic" in this case.
 

L. Colombo

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In fact, I knew that all the engineering crew had been ordered on deck, and this was, together with the veeery low possibility that anyone could have been atop the fourth funnel and survived, what puzzled me about White. As far as I know, White never testified at the enquiry; but on Charles Pellegrino's website I found a letter written by White to the brother-in-law of William Henry Marsh Parr and dated June 21, 1912:

"Dear Sir: I am truly sorry that I could not answer your letter before as I have been very ill and have been unable to do anything at all. I knew Mr. Parr very well for the short time we were together. I was with him nearly till the last[;] that was at twenty-to-two [AM] on the 15th of April in the main light room of the “Titanic." [At 1:40AM, Alfred White was with Mr. Parr in the main light switching center, located on the lowest deck, behind the 4th smokestack.] You are asking me if he was on the [upper] deck when the ship went down and I honestly say that he was not and all the rest of the engineers were below. That was the last I saw of them. At one O’clock [1hr, 20 minutes after the impact; however, a discrepancy in Alfred White’s timing suggests that this might actually have occurred a half-hour later, at 1:30 AM], Mr. Parr and Mr. Sloan came below. I was on watch at that time and he said to me, “We are going to start one more engine." [According to this plan, remaining steam pressure stored in the aft boilers could be used to run the turbine for electrical generation; the light room and the Marconi Shack’s Sound Room also had acid batteries for supplemental emergency power.] I generally did that [job; the starting of the generators]. They went to the main switch board to change over.

[NOTE: A portion of this switching system was jetted out through the stern section’s starboard side after its 2.5 mile free-fall to the ocean floor; and pieces of a switching panel were recovered in 1993 – 1994, during the Tulloch era of Titanic exploration.]

We knew that the ship had struck something but took no notice. Work was going on as if nothing had happened. When at twenty-to-two the ship seemed as if she had started [up] again and flung us off our feet – Mr. Sloan and Mr. Parr said to me, “Go up and see how things are going and come and tell us." [The only event matching a lurch forward, as described here, about this time, was the implosion of Boiler Room #4, some 300 feet forward, under the second smokestack. It is possible that, like several fellow crewmen – among them Fireman George Kemish – Alfred White had not been keeping up that day with the periodic fifteen minute and half hour resettings of watches, if indeed he possessed a watch at all. It seems likely that White was running a half hour out-of-synch in his reporting. The boiler room implosion was felt on the top deck, and the critical loss of buoyancy under the second smokestack instantly shifted the Titanic’s center of mass and triggered the final plunge; this was manifested as a tidal wave on the starboard bow – which washed more than twenty women out of Boat A and which was actually body-surfed by Colonel Archibald Gracie. This event, time-stamped by such evidence as the moment Gracie’s properly reset watch stopped, occurred between 2:10 and 2:12AM. The interval between the lurch described by White and the breakaway of the stern section would therefore have been between five and seven minutes – with the journey to the top deck, as ordered by Sloan and Parr, becoming more difficult with each sweep of the second hand, while the slant toward the bow angled down from 10 degrees to 45 degrees.

Telling you the truth, Sir, I had a job to get up the engine room ladder. I had to go up the dummy funnel [the name given to the fourth smokestack, because save for venting generator steam and smoke piped out from coal-fired kitchen stoves, the “dummy funnel" was built merely to give Titanic an added appearance of power and speed]. There was a doorway [and a ledge] there [on the forward side of the dummy funnel, about half way up]. The sight I saw – I can hardly realize it. The second funnel [or smoke stack] was under the water and all the boats had left the ship. I could not get back [to the engine rooms] as the boat was sinking fast. We did not know – they were [,my friends,] all at boat stations [at emergency stations, at the engines]. I am sure that was where Mr. Parr was and so should I have been if they had not sent me up. That is all I can tell you. I must close this letter and I am truly sorry for Mr. Parr’s wife and all his friends. I remain yours truly, Alfred White
."

The notes in brackets are by Pellegrino. Obviously, such a version includes improbable elements, such as all the engineers being still in the engine room - this goes against what stated by both Thomas Patrick Dillon and Frederick William Scott and the recovery of the bodies of some engineers (Boykett Herbert Jupe and a couple of other who remained unidentified).

Further about White there is a discussion between Pellegrino, Walter Lord and Bill MacQuitty. Among what it was said, there is what follows:

"Mr. White was on the fourth smokestack. Then the smokestack fell [and rolled over the break-away stern section’s port side]. Mr. White did not remember the fall, or how he ended up in the water, or how he got picked up by Boat A. From atop the stack[, before the break-away, he saw a man in white clinging to an empty lifeboat davit: saw him still clinging even after the davit glided under and his hat floated off… And he saw a crowd of people running over the top of a huge skylight between two smokestacks. And when the breakup began - ] he saw the ship begin to yawn open – “a clean cut" – just ahead of [White’s] memory loss… [just ahead of the fourth smokestack, this cut through the decks – and then, for a moment all the lights winked out…] The ship [was being] cut in half below him… “as if by a butcher’s blade." The deck opened up. The lights snapped on after this – and he had the lasting impression that the bow had been, in that instant, cut away – cut loose… In the flashes of [electrical] light as the ship broke beneath him – a flashing back to life that told Alfred White his friends below had been pulling the right switches with their last seconds of life – in those flashes of [briefly resurgent] light, Alfred White thought he had seen the ship splitting open near the skylight above the after first class stairway, behind the vents between the [third] and fourth smokestacks… He saw people below – shadows surging and running over the tops of deck structures. Clinging to wires and davits even as they [sank below] the surface. This [flash-view] lasted only seconds – seemed to him, though, that [it lasted] hours, [when he relived it] later. And then the stern tilted aft and even before others in the sea [including crewman Frank Osman] saw the fourth smokestack begin to fall with a man still on it, Alfred White’s memory cut-off [and ceased recording]. Walter Lord: One other Alfred White observation, Bill [MacQuitty] has referred to… He says that his climb from the engine rooms was a difficult job. The family history that comes to us mentions why it was so difficult and why he had to take a hard path – had to go – up through the ladder inside the dummy funnel. The Third Class quarters (mostly women’s steerage, [in that part of the ship,] with the men quartered in the forward bow) were [located] directly above the noisy engines and generators. The gates were locked; the paths to the top, to the Boat Deck, were locked.
Bill MacQuitty: The slant of the deck made it difficult to stand at that time without holding onto a gate, or rail, or ladder rung. White had mentioned in one or two sentences a group of men huddled [or piled] in a corner, far below the Boat Deck in the Third Class, praying. [The electrician had to climb through the Third Class to get to the top deck.] A closed gate separated him from [the huddled men] and they took no notice of his own cries for help, but just continued praying. So, White returned to the engine room ladder that led up through the fourth smokestack."

According to Pellegrino, White was picked up by boat A, and not 4. There are also other questionable elements - an "implosion" of boiler room 4; White's account of third class passengers still blocked behind locked gates at the time the ship was going down; and so on.

This puts into discussion the whole account by White. I had also opened a topic about what had happened to the engineers - https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/engineers/30833-where-were-any-engineers-last-seen.html#post364563.

By the way, how can I post larger images of the diagram I've made? I had asked about this more than a month ago, but I got no answer.
 

Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
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From reading some of the material alluded to by L. I am now mostly convinced that Alfred White was indeed atop funnel four when the ship foundered. This is based on what he claims to have witnessed (the breakup from above), his orders (to check and see what was happening on deck, then to return), and finally his recollection of the beginning of the funnel's collapse and his subsequent loss of memory until he found himself on collapsible A.

I do not see White's story as contradicting either Dillon or Scott since not everyone was relieved around 1:40. And it only makes sense that, as long as you were dedicated to maintaining electrical power for as long as possible, a few people would be needed to maintain steam pressure and the electrical generators.
 

L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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It is true that not everyone was relieved around 1:40; but from what it is said by White in his account, it seems that he was ordered to check and see what was happening on deck at 1.40, so he went up the fourth smokestack, saw the second funnel underwater and then lost his memory when the funnel collapsed; but this should have happened, if we follow this timeline, shortly after 1.40-1.50 (even if climbing from the engine room was difficult, I don't think it would have required 35-40 minutes), while in fact it happened between 2.15 and 2.20. I don't think White would have lied and embellished his account, since it wasn't a tale for the newspapers, but instead an account in a private letter to the parent of a victim; but there are some discrepancies.
 
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