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


Tad G. Fitch

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The problem with the above referenced June account from White is that the account and commentary on Pellegrino's webpage are not consistent with White's far more mundane April 1912 accounts of his escape. In the interviews he gave right after the sinking, he says that he was ordered up top around 1:30 if I remember correctly to check on the situation and report back, and proceeded up on deck via the ladder in the fourth funnel. He moved forward along the boat deck, and when water began reaching near the bridge, he went aft, dropped down a fall, and swam to a boat fitting the description of Boat No. 4, and was pulled in. His description isn't of Collapsible A, and doesn't fit that boat. Some of the things in the later account, or at least in the commentary surrounding it on the website, contradict this earlier version of events. He wasn't claiming to have been inside the fourth funnel when it fell (extraordinarily unlikely), and certainly was not saved in Collapsible A, I don't know where they got that from. In fact, the quoted portions of White's account on the website don't say anything of that sort, so I feel they were mistaken on that point, or putting words in his mouth.

As far as when most of the men working below were sent up, the evidence, including Scott, Dillon, and Threlfall, all suggest that the majority of the trimmers, greasers, and firemen were sent up on deck at 1:20. A few probably stayed below to keep some of the machinery going, but most appear to have been released then. Scott described some of the engineers being on deck after he came up as well.

Kind regards,
Tad
 

Scott Mills

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L,

I'm guessing that Alfred White's times don't add up because he was not keeping his watch, if he had one at all, with ships true time. Keep in mind that there was a time change that night, and ones perception of times very skewed in life or death situations. For a man who didn't have a watch, didn't have one with the correct time, or wasn't bothering to look testified "time frames" become ambiguous at best.

Edit

Tad,

That changes things. As these things go one's first recollection is often more "true" to events. Plus, this requires far less in terms of extraordinary luck to survive. So likely he was not on the funnel when it collapsed.

I am curious though about his claim to have seen the ship break (not at all the socially correct answer in 1912) and the "angle" he implies seeing it at. My guess is, as these things go, he incorporated this story in to his own memory of events and I wonder whose.
 
Sep 10, 2012
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Well, I know I am a little bit late in joining the discussion, and I'd say I probably can't give much information about any of the survivors mentioned in this thread's first post, but regarding the whole topic of Alfred White's survival, this post proposes the possibility that White was actually one of the 70 people in Lifeboat 15.

Even the one who wrote the post that describes the theory as far-fetched, but given that there are at least three other men (Carl Jonsson, Franz Karun, and Eino Lindqvist) who, according to their respective biographies, were in Lifeboat 15 (or at least, are most likely to have been in it) but created stories about being saved from the water (with Franz Karun remarkably adding that his four-year-old daughter was also saved from the water) it doesn't seem entirely impossible that Alfred White is another of those cases.

As I never read any of White's known accounts, I can't know for sure.

Still, it is perhaps of interest that the same post I indicated mentioned White saying in one of his accounts that there were five firemen in the lifeboat he was in (and from what I know, Lifeboat 15 had much more than five firemen in it). By the way, does the term 'firemen' include stokers only, or does it extend to trimmers and greasers? Because if its the former, it could be that there were only five firemen in Lifeboat 15 after all.

Then again, given how many people overestimated the amount of women and children aboard lifeboats while underestimating that of adult male passengers and male crew members, it's hard to tell.
 

L. Colombo

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As far as the term was used by other crewmembers when indicating the number of people in the boat, I think that with 'five firemen' White meant five firemen, trimmers and greasers. Boat 4 had on board Frederick William Scott, greaser; Thomas Patrick Dillon, trimmer; Thomas Ranger, greaser; maybe a certain "F. Smith", fireman, who however I think was probably Scott, whose name was mistaken. Boat 4 could have seemed “quite full”, with about 40 women and children, 3 crewmembers already on board when lowered and 10-11 people coming onboard either by climbing down the falls or being plucked from the sea. There were two or (less likely) maybe also three men picked up by No. 4, besides Scott, Hemming, Dillon, Prentice, Cunningham, Siebert and Lyons. One of them could have been White. I noticed that most of the survivors who made up stories about being in the water were passengers, rather than crewmembers. After all, I think that White was in the water and picked up by boat 4.

Tad, I didn’t know this earlier account given by White; can I find it in the Internet? It seems much more probable. So, White saved himself more or less in the same way as Hemming (but I think later).
 
Sep 10, 2012
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I noticed that most of the survivors who made up stories about being in the water were passengers, rather than crewmembers.

Well, as far as I can tell, you're right. Just about all the accounts of fake stories about having been in the water that I know of were told by passengers. The only one that I know of that comes from a crewmember is from fireman George Kemish, who, in this letter to Walter Lord , wrote the following:

"I took a flying leap, intending to grab the dangling boat falls and slither down them to the water but I missed them (I reckon a parachute would have been handy in that drop.)

I swam until I got aboard that Number 9 or Number 11 boat. I don’t know to this day boat it was. A Deck hand named Paddy McGough took charge of her. She was overloaded dangerously. Picking up one or two more persons from the water would probably have meant drowning about 80 ; that was the number in her."

According to Charles Pellegrino's comments on the letter (which can be consulted here), no one aboard Lifeboat 9 mentioned at either Inquiry that their boat picked up anyone from the water, which would mean Kemish made the story up because, "...all men who survived when women and children were still aboard were required to explain it, for the rest of their lives...". It's perhaps worthy of notice that Pellegrino also adds that, "...in favor of Kemish’s leap and swim story, he accurately described the incident of boat Number 15 being caught on its lines, seen from a vantage point above, on Titanic’s deck, some five minutes or more after Boat 9 was lowered away."

But to be honest, that one point leaves me a bit confused, as I tried to find references to Lifeboat 15 being caught on its lines, and yet I couldn't find any in the testimonies of those who were aboard it and testified at the two Inquiries. Of course, it's always possible I didn't read everything with the right amount of attention, but if I did, I honestly don't see what Kemish could be referring to - unless he was talking about the lowering of Lifeboat 15 being halted so that Lifeboat 13 wouldn't be crushed below.

Then again, Pellegrino's comment refers to this segment of Kemish's letter,

"One boat – I think it was either Number 9 or Number 11 – was being lowered; but about five or six feet from the water-line, it was on a very uneven keel. One end of the boat’s falls had caught up somehow. I imagined that they were trying to cut the entangled falls which I found out they eventually did do because They could not unhook the tackle they were shouting and screaming that there were no members of the crew aboard but they managed to free it. "

Considering everything I said, I don't know what we are to make of it.

But given the points you made - which seem very sound to me - I take back what I suggested in my previous post, and now agree with you in that White was most likely among those picked up by Lifeboat 4.
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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Passenger cross-referencing project

I apologize if there is a thread asking this question already.

Does anyone know of any project to cross-reference passenger and crew testimonies and create a database of where every person was during the course of the sinking?

For example, if one looked up the 1st Class Smoking Room at 11:30PM or the Grand Staircase A Deck at 1:10AM, it would be able to list all persons known to be present.
 

Matteo Eyre

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Surely Cunningham and his mate Siebert ( later died ) would have been by the falls of boat 4 on the boat deck when they threw themselves into the water
Matteo :)
 

Bob Godfrey

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Boat 4 didn't stay put when it cast off. It was rowed towards the stern, and along the way several crewmen were taken in after climbing down the falls of the after boats. It then continued astern and away from the ship before returning after the sinking. That's when Cunningham and Siebert were taken from the water.
 

Matteo Eyre

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Oh right, cheers Bob, who were the original members of the crew when it was lowered from the deck?? since it was a Lightoller lowered boat i'm guessing that very few of the crew were lowered in the boat, my guess is that Perkis, Dillon and McCarthy were the 3 original members and Prentice, Foley, Hemming, Scott, White, Cunningham, Ranger, Siebert and Lyons were pulled from the water with the latter 2 dying, Siebert in the lifeboat and Lyons aboard the Carpathia. Would i be right??
Cheers Bob
Matteo :)
 

Bob Godfrey

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As far as I know the boat cast off with Perkis, Foley and McCarthy already onboard. It then moved aft, where Scott and Ranger climbed down the falls from an empty derrick. Ranger dropped into the boat, Scott into the water but was immediately pulled into the boat, which then pulled further away and astern of the ship. Hemming swam out to it at this time. After the Titanic went down boat 4 returned and picked up 7 more from the water - one passenger plus Dillon, White, Prentice, Cunningham, Siebert and Lyons. The last two both died on the Carpathia.
 

L. Colombo

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I'm quite convinced that boat 4, when it returned to the site after the sinking, picked up actually eight, and not seven, people (Scott excluded, since he had been rescued earlier): Dillon, White, Prentice, Cunningham, Siebert, Lyons and two unknown people. I've made a little exam of the testimonies by the crewmembers in Boat 4 and that led me to this conclusion - I've discussed this question in this thread: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/boats-1-4/30834-boat-4-men-pulled-water.html
 

Bob Godfrey

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We're agreed on the known people pulled in from the water. I also have examined all the testimonies in detail, but several years ago so I'm not so familiar now with everything that was said and there were of course inconsistencies. My conclusion at the time was that there might have been 8 but there were certainly at least 7. Right now I wouldn't want to argue the case either way as that would mean re-reading all those testimonies and as you know that takes a long time!
 

Matteo Eyre

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Ah right, i'll look threw them later on, it certainly dies take a long time, i've been reading for a while now and i'm only about 6 or 7 people in, they seem to repeat so many questions
Cheers Bob, you may also be pleased to know i am awaiting Titanic People Cd to be delivered so hopefully i won't end up asking any more question i can easily find the answer to
Matteo :)
 

TitanicLove

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Is this true? Alfred White and the 4th funnel

One night I was half asleep while watching a documentary on the Titanic. At one point I remember seeing a crewmember climb the fourth funnel and watch from the top as the ship's bow sank under the water. The next day I thought I imagined this part of the documentary because in all the years I've been reading about the Titanic, I've NEVER heard of a crewmember (stoker) climbing the ladder in the fake fourth funnel, to the very top, and looking out on the ship as it sank. The stoker was named Alfred White and he claimed to see the break-up from high up in a funnel.

So, is this true? If it is, then it would be one of the most remarkable tales from the sinking. I'm curious if anyone has read any of the interviews he did when he was alive.
 

TitanicLove

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Thank you for the link to the previous discussion. I'm inclined to believe his story simply because he talked about the ship breaking in half many years before the discovery of the ship. I realize people have a hard time accepting the story because they can't believe someone would survive the funnel breaking off and falling, but like someone said in a previous post, people have survived all kinds of amazing falls - with some people walking away without even a scratch - so I don't think we can dismiss the story simply because he survived. I wish there was more on Alfred White because his story is one of the most fascinating (if it's really true).
 

Jay Roches

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That would be very interesting, but I don't think it'd be possible. You'll see in the testimonies that there are very few references to actual times. There were clocks, and some people did have watches, but people mostly described their experiences in broad, non-specific terms, like "about 15 minutes" or "just before midnight." Especially at the American inquiry, the line of questioning was anything but linear. There would be questions about one event, then about another, then about a third, and then maybe questions about the approximate time of the first event.

There are some other fundamental problems: not everyone survived, not every survivor testified, and people rarely gave neat lists of who they saw at each place. You would be able to get some of the people at some of the places at some of the times, but nothing close to an exhaustive database.

It's been difficult enough to piece together a somewhat accurate chronology of the major events. What has been done was mostly achieved by working out times for a few 'anchor' events -- the collision, radio messages, lifeboat launches -- and then matching up people's stories to those events. For example, we might know that Crewman X was on Lifeboat Y that was launched at 1:45 AM. You can take his story, piece by piece, and match it up with other known events to figure out how much time really passed each time he spent 'about 10 minutes' or 'about an hour' doing something.

J

[Moderator's note: Two threads addressing the same subject have been merged to form this one. This message was a response to Tim Turner's of 28 April and those two constituted one of the two merged threads. MAB]
 
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