Third Officer Herbert Pitman


Melissa E. Kalson

I am new to this board and am wondering about something. I have been reading and studying about Titanic for the last four or five years. I read somewhere that White Star Line required among other things that their officers not only be trained in sail but that they also be members of the Royal Navy and yet I also read that all of the Titanic officers except Third Officer Herbert Pitman, were RNR officers. Why if White Star Line required that, was Pitman not a RNR officer? I was just very curious. That has been niggling at me for a long time. Sincerely, Melissa Kalson

Inger Sheil

Feb 9, 1999
Hallo Melissa -

Whilst the WSL might have preferred its officers to be members of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), not all its officers held such a commission. It has been stated - erroneously - that Pitman was the only officer aboard the Titanic not in the RNR, but Moody didn't hold a commission either.

I've also come across the incorrect comment that the WSL would only hire officers who held an extra master's certificate. I've found records of many who did not - among the Titanic's officers, for example, neither Lowe nor Moody held an extra masters. Some gained it only after joining the line - Wilde, for example, passed his examinations and received this certification several years after joining the White Star Line.

Not everything we've read about the hiring practices of the White Star Line is true!

~ Inger

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