Thomas Andrews after the collision

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Matthew, thank you for mentioning "On A Sea of Glass." As you describe, and "Titanic & Olympic" mentioned above, there is some very solid evidence and reason to doubt the story about how Andrews met his end, as legend would have it. We did an in-depth study and search for evidence relating to this in our book, including some accounts which have not been examined previously, such as Fitzpatrick. As stated in the appendix on this subject, we believe that Thomas Andrews was indeed sighted in the Smoking Room by Stewart and there is little reason to doubt his story. However, Stewart left in Boat No. 15, and therefore, would have to have sighted Andrews earlier than people typically think. Indeed, Andrews was seen after this point, helping with the evacuation, tossing deck chairs overboard, and finally, was sighted on the Bridge with Captain Smith close to the end, and entering the water as the ship plunged under.

Oddly, in Shan Bullock's 1912 Andrews book, he doesn't claim that Stewart was the last person to see Andrews, and in fact, gives several examples of him being seen after this by witnesses, although he unfortunately doesn't give names. I wonder if Walter Lord might have been the source of the popular belief that Andrews was last seen in the Smoking Room, since they weren't even claiming that in 1912 when relating Stewart's account? Lord does claim that in ANTR, citing Stewart's account.

Kind regards,
Tad
 
Tad, the thing is... if he had a lifebelt with him, why wasn't he wearing it? He should have worn it before in order to set the example for the passengers and crew, and there are witnesses who claim to have seen him wearing one later. What is the point of taking it off inbetween? There are things like that the ones that make me reluctant to accept Stewarts testimony.
 

Athena

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What is the point of taking it off inbetween?
Maybe in order to take something from his pocket? Just first thing that comes to mind, supposing he was wearing his lifebelt before the sighting in the smoking room. (I agree that it would be logical to assume that he was wearing the lifebelt in order to set example to other crewmen and passengers.)
 

Matthew Farr

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There is really no way to know why he was not wearing the life vest at the time. Perhaps he removed it to offer it to another passenger and was refused. Perhaps he did give it to another passenger and found another one that he had not put on yet. The possibilities are endless really but the truth is that the fact that he was not wearing a life vest does not, by itself, disprove Stewarts testimony that he saw Andrews when he did.
 

Athena

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I was just going over the materials of the U.S. inquiry, and found Henry S. Etches' testimony of his last encounter with Mr Andrews:

12452. When did you last see Mr. Andrews?
- It would be about 20 minutes past 12. He stopped me. I was going along B deck, and he asked had I waked all my passengers. Mr. Harrison came up then, and I said: "No; I am going to see if the Carter family are up." I went to open the door. Mr. Harrison said: "I can tell you they are up. I have just come out of my cabin." His cabin adjoined. Mr. Andrews then told me to come down on C deck with him, and we went down the pantry staircase together. Going down he told me to be sure and make the passengers open their doors, and to tell them the lifebelts were on top of the wardrobes and on top of the racks, and to assist them in every way I could to get them on, which I endeavored to do.

12453. Is that the last time you ever saw him?
- No, sir. We walked along C deck together. The purser was standing outside of his office, in a large group of ladies. The purser was asking them to do as he asked them, and to go back in their rooms and not to frighten themselves, but, as a preliminary caution, to put the lifebelts on, and the stewards would give them every attention. Mr. Andrews said: "That is exactly what I have been trying to get them to do," and, with that, he walked down the staircase to go on lower D deck. That is the last I saw of Mr. Andrews.

12454. He never asked you to put a lifebelt on him, did he?
- No, sir; and I never saw him with one in his own hand.
(TIP | United States Senate Inquiry | Day 9 | Testimony of Henry S. Etches (Bedroom Steward, SS Titanic))

Why Andrews wasn't even carrying (let alone wearing) a lifebelt at this time is anyone's guess, mine would be that he didn't want to cause panic among the passengers.
 

Anna Simpson

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I have always assumed that, in the smoking room, Andrews had already made the decision to die, as he was well aware of the amount of lifeboats. IMHO, I don't think he could've live with the fact that a woman or child died because he survived.
 

Athena

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Whenever I watch ANTR (and I just love Michael Goodliffe's portrayal of Andrews, mind you), I cannot help feeling that the last smoking room scene, the one where he just sits down at a table and looks at his watch, is somewhat out-of-character.

The man was obviously a fighter; he encouraged everyone not to give up and, seemingly, hoped that those who couldn't fit into lifeboats could float around just long enough to be eventually picked up by the Carpathia (or another ship coming to the rescue) - otherwise, he wouldn't be seen throwing deckchairs into water, would he? And he had a wife and young daughter in Belfast. So I just don't see him making the decision to die and waiting for the end to come.

As for the sighting in the smoking room and his not replying to Stewart's phrase, "Aren't you going to try for it, Mr Andrews?", I think he was just too absorbed in his thoughts at the moment. As we remember, the painting he was reportedly looking at was The Approach to Plymouth Harbour, and, if my memory serves me right, the Titanic was supposed to stop at Plymouth on her return voyage. One can imagine what Andrews must have felt as, rushing through the room, he noticed the painting. (The possible reasons for his being in the smoking room were excellently listed by Tad.)

IMHO, I don't think he could've live with the fact that a woman or child died because he survived.
I agree here. Were he to survive (by reaching Collapsible B, for example), the disaster would have haunted him to his last day.
 

Emilie

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Don't anyone here he just could had a deep stress trauma, wich just completly parlysed him, while standing for awhile in the Smoking Lounge, and even if his mind thought still about trying to save himself? That's my opinion.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Hi Athena,
I agree that it wouldn't be in Andrews' character to sit and wait for the end, and as previously stated, the evidence suggests that he actually met his end working to save others, before taking to the water as the Bridge plunged under. The evidence regarding his last actions fits together nicely. After working hard early on to encourage passengers to leave their cabins and go on deck and helping at the boats, he was seen in the Smoking Room taking a moment to regroup. He had a lifebelt with him, but not on at the time. There are accounts from after this point that have him proceeding along the Boat Deck, carrying a lifebelt with him, and allegedly tossing deckchairs overboard for people to cling to. Finally, he was seen on the Bridge with Captain Smith by a crewmember, donning the lifebelt, before entering the water as the Bridge plunged under. All of this is consistent. My coauthors and I believe the evidence for this scenario is very strong. Personally, I find this more compelling than the long-held story that he met his end catatonic and staring off into space in the Smoking Room. While a poignant scene, it isn't supported by the evidence, and Shan Bullock, the author who first related Stewart's evidence of this in his 1912 book, didn't even claim it was the last sighting of Andrews. In fact, he gives several references to sightings of him after this point. I do believe the idea that Stewart was the last person to see him came not from Stewart's account or Shan Bullock, but possibly from Walter Lord in ANTR, and the way he interpreted or related the story. I haven't found an earlier reference to it in the context of it being the last time he was seen.

Kind regards,
Tad
 

Atlantic1987

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Typically, when reenacted, Andrews is seen in the First-class areas and the bridge when he drops the news that the ship is sinking. Would he at any time during the passenger muster after the collision have been seen in Second or Steerage?

If not, who would be able to pass along the information to a person in Second if this is an improbable situation?
 
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I would imagine he was where the people were. I.e the lounge, smoking room, also the bridge at times. I would also infer tgat as tge night progressed he would have (and did) shift put onto tge boat deck to assist with the boarding of the lifeboats. Now. As to your question of if he descended to steerage l find it highly unlikely. Second class. Maybe. He may have gone down some corridors and maybe even bumped into second class people. As he inspected the ship. But i am almost one hundred percent certain he would have come into contact with all the classes. Especially as the boatdeck got more crowded and panic began to spur.


I hope i was of some assistance
 

Emilie

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I think wherever Mr.Andrews during the final moments of his life was, he must have felt awful... Maybe what was going through his head was regret that he wasnt more self-assertive in the subject of lifeboats in order to be able to save more people It is certain that he thought of his family - for he had a small daughter ( there is available to public a cute photo of him and his daughter Elba, which stirs emotions), and he was also thinking of his wife Helen, that is for sure...
By the way if anyone saw the 1 hour drama A Night To Remember starring Claude Rains as Thomas Andrews, how did you like the possible depicting of Mr.Andrews´last moments?
I saw it and its quite weird, I mean this version of the steward asking him repeatedly, then suddenly a crashing sound , the chandelier (also weird set of the room) falling right upon Andrews, and then the tsunami alike wawe rushing into the fireplace... Yeah, I know it was 1957, and for then it was a TV top production, but the whole thing comes to be somewhat funny by its outright attempt to paint the painful moment.
 

Athena

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Oct 31, 2012
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Hi Tad,

I like your version of events, and it's very logical indeed. Could you please tell us who was the crewmember who saw Andrews with Captain Smith?

Now, I wonder why would Lord discard later sightings of Andrews. I re-checked, and found that he gives exact time for the steward's encounter with Andrews: 2.10 a.m. Maybe he just believed the steward's timing to be correct and decided that no one could possibly see Andrews later than 2.10?
 

Anna Simpson

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Hello everyone,
Looking again at my opinions and postulations, it seems the only logical circumstance that Andrews would wait for the end if there was nothing, I repeat nothing, to be done to save anyone. Of course, then Lord's time of 2:10 would have to be correct, which it is clearly not. In addition, it seems Andrews did not know how far a rescue ship was. It could have been 3 minutes or 3 hours away. Without knowing this, I agree he would have fought to the end.
Guess I just didn't think that one through enough.
Anna:)
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Hi Athena,
The crewmember in question was Fitzpatrick, who was a Mess Steward rescued off Collapsible B. He told of this in a detailed account to the press. Details in that account are corroborated by comments he made to a friend and colleague of Thomas Andrews who was traveling with surviving crewmembers back to England on board the Lapland, and was trying to find out what happened to him. Fitzpatrick's comments to this witness support his other account and vice versa, and indicate he wasn't seeking publicity with his comments since it was given behind the scenes. We talk about this in significant detail in "On A Sea of Glass."

You are on the right track with the 2:10 time. I believe the timing is something Shan Bullock attributed to Stewart's account, as Stewart is not quoted as saying that time. I believe Walter Lord saw that, and since that was late in the sinking, assumed it was the last time Andrews was seen. However, Bullock gave several instances of Andrews being seen after the Smoking Room sighting, and never forwarded it as the last sighting. Indeed, this fact alone makes the timing he attributes to it suspect. Stewart is confirmed as having been in Boat No. 15 by several lines of evidence, which left around 1:40, much earlier, and his sighting had to have been prior to that time. I have no reason to suspect Stewart was being dishonest, but I do believe his sighting has been interpreted or represented as something other than what it actually is. Andrews was not a figure newspapers were seeking sensationalist headlines about, and his end as the popular legend has it only became famous long after the disaster.

All my best,
Tad
 

Athena

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Oct 31, 2012
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Of course, then Lord's time of 2:10 would have to be correct, which it is clearly not.
Just half and hour, and look what difference it makes here!

In addition, it seems Andrews did not know how far a rescue ship was. It could have been 3 minutes or 3 hours away. Without knowing this, I agree he would have fought to the end.
I suspect he would have fought to the end in either case.

In Julian Fellowes' Titanic, there's a wonderful line spoken by one of the Batleys (I cannot remember exactly who of the two Batleys says it): If we're going down, we should go down fighting. I've always felt this line should have been given to Andrews!

On an off note: I've been wondering just how many people onboard the Titanic knew about the Carpathia coming to the rescue, apart from Phillips, Bride, and Captain Smith. It seems that Lightoller, for example, knew nothing about the Cunarder - I remember reading somewhere that he actually asked Bride if there were any ships coming when they were on Collapsible B. Guess I'll go and search the forums - maybe this issue has already been discussed!
 

Anna Simpson

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Thanks everyone. Tad, your book looks awesome, and I am interested in purchasing it.
For my part, I have always believed that Andrews was in the smoking room as said in ANTR. However I think it is odd that Andrews would have stayed in the smoking room until the ship sank while there were still lifeboats being loaded.
 
Hello everyone! I always thought that Andrews was last seen in the Smoking Room, however this research casts new light on the subject. However, i can't understand what he was doing in the Smoking Room at 1.40. Before that, he had been seen helping women and children to evacuate. The same happened after 1.40 am... What happened in the middle? What was his purpose of being there?
 

skinwants

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At Harland and Wolff, he began with three months in the joiners' shop, followed by a month in the cabinetmakers' and then a further two months working on the ships. The last eighteen months of his five-year apprenticeship were spent in the drawing office. In 1901, Andrews, after working his way up through the many departments of the company, became the manager of the construction works. That same year, he also became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects. In 1907, Andrews was appointed the managing director and head of the drafting department at Harland and Wolff.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Thanks Anna, I hope that you enjoy the book and find it interesting should you decide to purchase it.

Augusto, it is very difficult to say why Andrews may have been in the Smoking Room at that particular time. However, he was literally all over the ship following the collision, conducting inspections below, rousing passengers from the cabins, helping at the lifeboats, in the Grand Staircase and public areas encouraging people to go out on deck and put on lifebelts, etc. I have no way of proving this, but suspect that Andrews may have been below to check and see if there were anymore passengers to get on deck, and paused to have a moment to himself to gather his thoughts and emotions, as the enormity of the situation and impending disaster took hold.

Of interest is that Andrews supposedly had a lifebelt with him, sitting on a nearby table, when he was seen in the Smoking Room. One of the later sightings of him told of him carrying a lifebelt as he walked along the deck, and a final sighting has him donning the lifebelt and entering the water. These accounts are consistent with each other, which in my opinion, lends more credence to the accounts by the three survivors in question.

Kind regards,
Tad