There are Mess stewards on the deck crew, engine crew and places like that. Was their job just to hang around in the mess rooms and take food orders and bring up the food or something of the sort? Does anyone know?
I suspect that in the firemen's and sailors' messes the "diners" would grab their own meal, whereas in the officers' messes they would have been waited on, so to speak.
In addition to the duties you mentioned, the mess stewards also cleaned up after meals and maintained the tidiness of their mess areas.
Christa, the junior officers had meals at whatever time fitted their watches. The seniors seem to have a friendly arrangement to relieve each other for meals during watches. Lightoller and Murdoch certainly did. Captain Smith pleased himself, subject to the needs of the ship. He could eat whenever and wherever he pleased.
For a description of life as a mess steward and general dogsbody, you can't beat David Haisman's Peggy on a Skin Boat on this site.
Here, below, is my printout for Mr. Franklin - I hope it helps.
You mention his grave site above - can you supply the details for me please? I will then update my Memorials BOok.
Thanks in advance -
Brian J. Ticehurst - Southampton UK
Franklin, Alan Vincent. Home address: Ergemont, Newton Road, Bitterne Park, Southampton. Occupation - Saloon Steward. 29 years old. (Born in Warwick, Warwickshire).
Body number 62. Estimated age 30. Hair light. Clothing:- Steward's coat, vest and pants, green overcoat, ''A. Franklin'' on shirt. Effects:- Corkscrew, metal belt, keys, metal watch and chain, knife, rubber purse. Second class Steward number 9.
(From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913)
Number 415. Franklin, Blanche, widow. Children: Alan Vincent and Blanche Elsie. All class D dependants.
(From the Minutes of Titanic Relief Fund, Liverpool Area Committee, December 1st 1915).
No. 415. Franklin, Mrs. B. Address for cheques: The National Provincial Bank of England Limited, London Street, Norwich. Net monthly allowance to widow £3 7 2d one child £1 1 8d total £4 8 10d.
Thank you Brian for your email, which contains more information than I had previously. I believe I have found him on the 1901 census, which contains very few Alan/Vincent Franklin's. The headstone and body are at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, N.S., about an hour from our home. Very moving to see all the graves, with all the same dates. Any other information you require?
The actual amount earned in tips on a particular voyage depended on luck to some extent - some passengers were a lot more generous than others, and some gave nothing at all. But a steward would be very unlucky to earn less than half as much again as his wages in tips, and it wasn't uncommon for the tips to amount to more than the basic pay, especially for an old hand who knew just how to impress 'his' passengers. Total earnings of £5-6 a month would be typical, but the unpaid time between signings could amount to anything up to 4 months in a year.
In terms of modern purchasing power it would be about £3000, Stephen - not bad by the standards of the time, when even the junior officers on Titanic earned the equivalent of less than £5000. James would of course have had his bed and board provided during voyages, but he needed to buy his own uniform and pay for its upkeep in perfect condition. The 'widow's application' document linked to his biography page is interesting in that £5 a month was claimed to compensate for the loss of his income - a good indication of his earnings including tips.
Stephen - Here is a bit more on your relations:
Wood, John Thomas. T. Lived at 7 Norfolk Road, Upper Clapton, London. Occupation Assistant Steward. 40 years old. (Born in Kent).
(From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913).
No. 658. Wood, Sarah, widow. Class E dependant.
(From The Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, and Cheriton Herald, 25th April, 1912, page 11).
There are at least two Hythe residents mourning the loss of relatives who were on the ill-fated Titanic. One is Mr. W. R. Wood, the popular Postmaster, whose brother, Mr. J. T. Wood, aged 49 years went down with the great majority. Mr. J. T. Wood's proper ship was the Oceanic, but he was helping on board the Titanic just before she sailed, and was persuaded at the last moment to sign on for the latter in the capacity of second-class steward. His home was at Clapton, and he leaves there a widow and two grown-up daughters. Mr. W. R. Wood and his deceased brother were in each other's company on March 23rd, when they saw the former's son off to Canada. The Postmaster is very grateful for the many kind expressions of sympathy he has received.
Note as his daughters were grown up and probably married - or working - they received nothing from the Relief Fund the cut off was 16 years of age.
Any idea of their names?
Thanks for that new information. The relief fund booklet record is somewhat off the mark (James not John, Narford not Norfolk, 49 not 40 - though that's because JTW always signed on as younger than he in fact was).
He made three passages on Oceanic in 1912 before signing on the Titanic:
The daughters were Grace Wisdom (Sarah's maiden name) and Adelaide. Both born at Booleroo in South Australia in 1891 & 1893(?) respectively.
Both James and Sarah came from Crayford. James went to Australia in the mid 1880s whhere he worked as an assistant storekeeper and Sarah married him there. They lost their money in the bank crash in the 1890s and returned to Crayford where Grace was enrolled at the school in 1895. They later moved to Gravesend, where the photo of Sarah, now on the J.T.Wood ET page, was taken years later.
I attach a picture I think may be of James (on the left)and Sarah and the two girls taken in 1893 before they left Booleroo.
Stephen - Many thanks for the Photograph and for the corrections. It all helps to fill the picture.
What was your grandfathers connection with the hardware shop (behind him in the picture?).
Very best regards