Two men under the lifeboat seats Yates


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Arne Mjåland

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In Fargo Forum, ND, U.S.A. there was an interwiew with survivor Mrs H.F. Chaffee April 23 1912:
"The boat I was in was overmanned. Two men were discovered smoking cigarettes under the seats, and the sailors and stewards were not able to row."
Anybody know who those two men could have been? Could one of them been Jay Yates, the famous gambler?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Whoever they were, and assuming the story isn't just a fanciful concoction, it most certainly wasn't Jay Yates. Jay Yates was never aboard the ship, but since he was on the lam from the authorities at the time, he did what he could to make some people believe that he was.
 

Shane Worthy

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Arne,
The two stowaways in Lifeboat 5 had been identified by Mr. Stengel to be East Asian, perhaps Chinese or Fillipino. There was eight men from Hong Kong who boarded at Southampton. Six of these were Lee Bing, Chang Chip, Choong Foo, Ling Hee, Ali Lam and Fang Lang. These could or could not be some of the two passengers. I do know one of these was later picked up by Lifeboat 14.
Hope this helps,
Shane N. Worthy
All Ahead Full!
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Shane,

What stowaways in lifeboat 5?
Mr Stengel was in lifeboat 1.
Arne's posts refers to Mrs Chaffee, who I understand may have been in boat 4 [?].
 

Shane Worthy

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Mrs. Stengel was in lifeboat 5, Mr. Stengel was in 1. This can be found in Dr. Jay Henry Mowbray (ed.), "Sinking of the Titanic — Eyewitness Accounts" (1912)
Perhaps his wife told him this.
For Mrs. Chaffee, it could have been any boat, as in she does not recall which one she was in. Some claim she was in No. 4.
If this is the case, there was one stowaway whom was identified as French.
All Ahead Full!
Shane N. Worthy
 
Jul 20, 2000
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I would be very cautious with regard to most of the accounts in Mowbray.
Strange Mrs Stengel remembers stowaways, but not being landed on and injured.

You have an account by Mrs. Chaffee, which mentions a French stowaway in her lifeboat? - May I please have a copy or reference to that account?
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Hello everybody. As far as I know, there was no 'stowaway' in boat No. 4.
Mrs. Chaffee may have been in boat 9 or 11, since she mentions stewards and sailors being in the boat with her - there were no stewards in No 4 to begin with. There were two 'Germans' mentioned being in that boat and a stewardess said they were hiding under the seats. There were no stowaways in boat No 9 as far as I know, so Mrs Chaffee may have been in No. 11. Just a theory.

Best regards,

Peter
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Peter,

You say: "There were two 'Germans' mentioned being in that boat and a stewardess said they were hiding under the seats." - Which boat?
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Hello, Lester. I forget whether it was Kate Gold or Annie Martin in boat No. 11 who mentioned them in an interview. I was referring to boat No. 11.

Best regards,

Peter
 

Ben Holme

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Hi Peter, Lester and all,

Just a point regarding Mrs. Chaffee's lifeboat. A brief account of her resuce was described in a Minnesota newspaper in the days follwing the disaster. In the article, Mrs. Chaffee makes reference to the glass enclosed promenade deck, and the difficulty she had in stepping through the window. It would appear thus, that she escaped in boat #4.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Ben
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Hello, Ben. Nice to see that you're around! It has been suggested that Mrs. Chaffee escaped in No. 4, but why then does she make reference to stewards and sailors and the boat being overmanned? No. 4 wasn't completely full even after transfers were made....
On the other hand, if she mentions the glass enclosed promenade deck, it would certainly hint at her being in No. 4 after all. Hm.

Best regards,

Peter
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hello Ben, Peter,

Is this one and the same account we are talking about? - Would it be possible to obtain a copy?

Ben, I hope your University year is going well and that you are close to completing your course. Lots of luck.

With my very best wishes,
lester
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>but why then does she make reference to stewards and sailors and the boat being overmanned?<<

Well, it depends on what she meant by "overmanned." Was she referring to the total number of people in the boat or the number of crew in the boat? After all, the crew was sent along for the purpose of commanding and steering the boat, no? When we say "manned," we refer to the condition of something or someplace being equipped with an adequate amount of trained and knowledgeable personnel to conduct the maintenance and operations of said thing or place. First, how many crew were aboard LB #4, before and after transfer? This might clarify as to what Chafee meant when she said "overmanned."
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Just as I thought--an excess of crew! If the allotment of LB #4 ascribed to ET is correct and complete, there were six crewmen on board LB #4: QM Walter Perkis, Able Seamen William Lyons (who later died) and William McCarthy, Greaser Thomas Ranger, Light Trimmer Samuel Hemming, and Bedroom Steward Andrew Cunningham. It also shows Mrs. Chaffee, but I presume that this is obviously in question anyway.

What was the standard crew assigned to a lifeboat the size of LB #4? I'm not sure, but it probably wasn't 6 people, especially considering that many of the T's lifeboats went away with only two or three crew members.

As for the number of crew after the transfer (presuming that the above list was the allotment at launch, save for the steward and Hemming, whom Lightoller would never have let go, as they weren't essential to boat operations), I will check in a minute...
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Of course, in another thread or two in this folder, I found what I was looking for:

>>Boat No 4 probably left the Titanic with about 30 people in it (or 35 including the Richards/Hockings), then picked up eight crewmembers from sea, two of whom died, after that got perhaps eight or nine from boat 14, and then another eight or ten from boat B, for a grand total of perhaps 55 or 60 when the Carpathia rescued them.

Best regards,

Peter K.

Someone else said that LB #4 had 12 crewmen, which is a tally most likely included in Peter's summary.

Okay, so presuming that LB #4 was lowered with a regular complement of three crewmen, including Perkis (and if I'm wrong, it'll no doubt be more, which would confirm my case even more), this lifeboat picked up 8 crewmen from the sea, eight or nine more from 14 (although I think that Peter suggests that some of these were passengers, too), and another 8 from Collapsible B (also including passengers). With the 8 crewman from the sea and the initial 3 (?) crewmen, that would make 11 crewmen known to have been on board this lifeboat. That's a lot of crewmen in a single lifeboat. This is not counting the exchange from LB #14 and C. B, which would increase that already excessive tally probably beyond a dozen crewmen. Therefore, the entire allotment of occupants in this lifeboat consisted of at least a dozen to 20 out of 60 occupants--1/5 to 1/3 (or more?) of the total amount of occupants in the lifeboat. It is no wonder that a woman would think that the boat was "overmanned" with all the crew on board. Perhaps, too, she used the term "overmanned" to refer to the actual number of crew on board as opposed to the number of crew actually maintaining operations, per se.

Just my thoughts.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Therefore, in light of this, it is very possible that Chaffee may have been in LB #4, meaning that there is really no mystery or contradiction here.
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Mark, you may well be absolutely right. I have tried to find where it is stated who the people were that were transferred from boat No. 14 to No. 4 and the only reference I have found suggests that there were only four or five people (no men, I believe). I suppose Mrs. Chaffee may well have been in No. 4, but the only little thing I have seen, which Arne Mjåland presented some time ago, indicates that the boat per se was full. I took 'overmanned' to mean 'full with people' (not just crew), but I wouldn't know exactly what she meant by that remark. The factors making me doubt her presence in boat 4 based on that short article are:
a) That the boat was described as 'overmanned' ant the crew had difficulties in rowing due to the amount of people on the boat
b) That those rowing were sailors and stewards (firemen/stokers aren't mentioned)
c) That she doesn't mention anyone being picked up from the sea or being in the same boat as Mrs. Astor (quite a few women said that)
d) That there were two men 'under the seats' smoking - this never happened in boat 4.

To me, her statements made me believe she was in a starboard boat - boats 9,11,13 and 15 all had a large amount of crew in them (in percent beginning with No. 9 - 40%, No 11. - 45-50% (including stewardesses),No 13. - 40% and No. 15 - 45%)
But then, Ben Holme had an interview indicating her presence in No. 4. I really don't know what to believe.

Best regards,

Peter
 

Bob Godfrey

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Peter, steward Cunningham in testimony also stated that boat 4 was "fairly well crowded" and that "there was not room to row" even before any transfers had taken place. He also claimed to have been one of the rowers, so Mrs Chaffee's statement that the boat was rowed by "sailors and stewards" does not seem too far out of place as a subjective observation, especially since she probably didn't have a clear view of all of the rowers from whatever position she was seated in - possibly too far away from Mrs Astor to make her presence notable. The one objective statement she did make was that she had to climb through a window to get into the boat, and that surely is more than a hint at boat 4.
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Bob Godfrey

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I'm not sure exactly what was said about the smokers under the seats, but can we be sure that it didn't happen? There were several men pulled in from the water who were sitting or lying in the bottom of the boat, and some of them were conscious though all would have been soaked and freezing. Had I been one of them I'd probably have sought any available shelter (like under the seats) and certainly would have eagerly accepted the likely offer of a smoke.
 
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