Looking after your servants after the crunch


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Jun 11, 2000
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I've read, and my servant granny of the period always endorsed this, that servants were one of the family. Mind you, she was rather a character, and not the sort to be fobbed off. I know many maids were saved as well as their mistresses, but has anyone analyzed whether they were in the same boat? And how many menservants died, but were not apparently seen in the company of their masters? Bruce Ismay's valet comes to mind - Bruce was busy, we know, but he got off, but where was the valet? Guggenheim and Victor seemed close, but how many of them ensured as a priority that their servants were with them - as I think we would today. Employer responsibility etc.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Monica,

Most lived or died together; as in both employer and servant lived or both employer and servant died. Exceptions were Mrs Straus' maid who survived. Her employer did not. The female servants of the Allison's survived. Their employers did not. While William Carter survived, neither Alexander Cairns who was his employee travelling with him in 1st Class, or Charles Aldworth the family chauffeur who was travelling in 2nd Class survived. While Ismay survived both his butler John Fry [who was travelling as his valet]; and his secretary William Harrison died. Although Mrs White and her maid survived her manservant died.

All of the maids and other female servants survived, but only two of the menservants. Thomas Cardeza's valet Gustave Lesueur and Henry Harper's servant Hassab Hamad.

I hope that helps.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Regarding whether or not employers and their servants boarded the same boats, this was a reflection of how they travelled. Close personal servants like Ladies' maids and valets travelled First Class in cabins adjacent to those of their employers and in most cases they arrived on the boat deck as a 'party' and all (or at least the women) boarded together. Other servants, like cooks and chauffeurs, travelled Second Class and made their own way to the boat deck, where survival owed more to their own luck or initiative.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Thanks, guys, interesting. The Strauss's and the Allison's both made decisions to stay, so their servants surviving obviously reflects their general care. Bob's reply makes a lot of sense. The only real villain of the piece seems to be W. Carter who, according to Lord (TNLO) not only arrived on the Carpathia before his family, but claimed to have left himself only after watching their boat leave safely, which is apparently disputed by boat leaving schedules. And he lost both his servants, and was eventually divorced, partly on account of his behaviour on the night. Maybe not a very brave or nice man?
 

Bob Godfrey

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The Allisons did not actually make any effort to ensure the survival of their servants, but in the circumstances this is understandable as they were fully occupied in a desperate search for their missing son. Unknown to them, nurse Alice Cleaver had made her own way to the boat deck with baby Trevor in her arms. Sarah Daniels, their maid, likewise found her own way to boat 8 while Mildred Brown, the cook, arrived independently to join Alice and the baby in boat 11. Of the Allison's servants, only the chauffeur, like most men in Second Class, did not survive.

In a letter to her mother written on the Carpathia, Mildred implies that both she and Sarah were more concerned about the loss of their belongings than by the loss of their employers. She expresses a hope that Hudson and Bess Allison might have survived, but "I am not going to worry about that as they have several friends on board". Poor Loraine Allison is not mentioned at all.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Monica,

Revised departure times of Titanic's lifeboats has concluded that boat 4 departed at 1:50 and that boat C departed at 2am. See: http://home.attbi.com/~bwormst/titanic/revised.html

A paper co-authored by Messrs George Behe, Tad Fitch and Bill Wormstadt; containing supporting arguments for those times was published in the THS Commutator #155, 2001.

Lester
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Hi Lester,
Thanks for the link, most interesting. I still think W. Carter was basically a rotter! It's only 10 mins between boats 4 and C even by the revised times. I suppose, since boat 4 took so long to get away, that he could have seen them into it, and then wandered off. But I don't think so. Her divorce citation (Lord, TNLO) says he woke her and told her to get herself and the children up to the boats, and that was the last she saw of him until the Carpathia the next day. So he didn't help her and the children, nor did she record that he was saying his farewells as they got into boat 4, which you would expect if he were seeing his family safely off. He also greeted her on the Carpathia (it's said) with the words that he'd had a jolly good breakfast and never thought she would make it. He obviously left a bad impression on her - maybe he was more bothered about his new Renault in the hold ...
Monica
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Monica,

Mrs. Carter and her lawyers obviously twisted information in order to put Mrs. Carter into more favorable light so she could get her divorce. If you read the accounts from 1912, they do not correspond with the divorce papers. I can't remember any accounts by Mrs. Carter specifically, but those that I've read from Mr. Carter show him in much more favorable light. Mrs. Carter and her lawyers obviously used the wrong boat launching times to their advantage, even though 1912 accounts say he was with his family until they left in the boat.

After saying goodbye to his family what was he supposed to do? Wait around for 20 minutes or longer until it was considered ok for him to look for safety? Once his family was gone, he was on his own. It was his luck that he made his way to the starboard side where he did manage to get on a boat.

He had absolutely no control of how soon his boat got to the Carpathia. It was not his fault that boat 4 stayed around the scene, picked up people from the water and then rescued some people from collapsible B. In the mean time those in charge of collapsible C (which is where he was) made their way for the Carpathia, which is why they got there sooner. This was under no influence of Mr. Carter.

We don't know what happened to the manservant. Perhaps Mr. Carter and Cairns went their separate ways to try their own luck. But from what I read and I'm sure that the family stuck together until boat 4 was lowered.

Regards,

Daniel.
 

Pam Kennedy

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Oct 24, 2005
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Would an unaccompanied Irish servant be able to board a "first class" lifeboat, or is it likely that she would have been turned away in favor of other passengers?
 

Bob Godfrey

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In practice, most of the 'first class' boats (ie those at the fore end of the boat deck) had gone by the time the third class began to arrive in any numbers, but Harold Lowe had this to say about the possibility of selection: "There was no such thing as selecting. It was simply the first woman, whether first class, second class, third class, or sixty-seventh class. It was all the same; women and children were first".
 

Brian Ahern

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Pam - I have no doubt that she would have been allowed to. Most first class lifeboats took off any woman within sight and would have taken more women if any had happened along.

So there was no need to distinguish between the classes. Even if there had been more of a crush at the first class boats, I personally don't believe there would have been discrimination among the classes on the boat deck itself. I would say that most people who feel that class discrimination did occur feel it happened more belowdecks, in terms of gates from third class being opened or left closed.

Regards...
 

Harry Peach

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Jun 26, 2005
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In James Camerons Film Rose's Mother sends her maid Trudy Back to the cabin to "put the Kettle on" - Ruth then Leaves with Molly brown (Lifeboat 6) then as you see the ship sink - you see poor Trudy sliding down the ship - But would this have happened, would employees leave without servants etc - or was it very taboo to be separated from them - or send them to do something on there own?
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Lucile's personal secretary, Miss Francatelli, would not leave the ship without Lucile, even though she was asked to by Cosmo. Lucile wouldn't leave without Cosmo. Miss Francatelli wasn't exactly a servant but she was a working girl, and chose her employer, over a place in the lifeboat for herself. I am not sure I would ever have been so loyal to someone that employed me!!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I don't think I'd be in a hurry to draw any conclusions from a movie, but the attitude in this case may have been typical of a real world person who doesn't think anything is seriously amiss. (Which in the real accident, was a common enough attitude.)

The Trudy character was a White Star employee if I recall correctly. Asking the steward or stewardess for refreshments to be handy after the "excitement" was over wouldn't be all that out of place and I doubt anybody would have given it a second thought.
 
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