Walter Belford


Dennis Foley

I can't put my hands on my copy of ANTR, but if I remember correctly, Walter Lord interviewed someone whose named sounded like "Walter Belford", a crewman, yet I can't find his name anywhere. Was he an imposter or did Lord get the name wrong? Thanks. Dennis

Yan V Ivania

so, wait a second, Walter Belford was a con-artists who wanted an attention? Is there is any prove that Belford really wasn't on Titanic?

PS. Thank God if that is true, i had a headache trying to locate that guy.
The Titanic Historical Society was started because of the death of Walter Belford and the destruction of his collection. His annotated copy of "A Night to Remember" was used to line the bottom of his land lady's birdcage. Edward Kamuda and THS accepts Walter Belford as a legitimate crew member and survivor of the Titanic disaster. Robert H. Gibbons Co-founder and Past President THS
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Belford is not on the Sign-on Sheets for the Crew. He is not on the [largely accurate] US Senate Crew List. More importantly he is not on the List of Surviving Crew [with their signatures] who signed for their final pay and not on any Survivor List that I have seen. Neither was there a Crew Rating: Chief Night Baker.
I just did a google search for Walter Belford, and came up with articles from Edward S. Kamuda, President of the Titanic Historical Society and Walter Lord, author of "A Night to Remember" and "The Night Lives On" both accepting Walter Belford as a Titanic crewman and survivor. In fact, according to Walter Lord, Walter Belford was the first Titanic survivor he met in person. I suggest you contact the Titanic Historical Society ([email protected]) for their opinion in this matter. Robert H. Gibbons

A claim made to Walter Lord is not evidence. We know that others also lied to or misled Walter. - In the case of any Crew claimants they fail because we still have the documentation that I referred to. - I await a reply from THS!
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Belford's story appears to have been inspired by that of Charles Joughin, who really was the (only) chief baker aboard, who really did leave the ship at the last possible moment and really did survive for a long period in the water, with the help (as he wrongly assumed) of alcohol. But even Joughin couldn't match Belford's quite unbelievable claim to have survived for five hours in the freezing water - a claim which the THS have supported without question. As we all know, the numbers of claimants for the dubious celebrity of being an unlisted 'Titanic survivor' have run into hundreds if not thousands, and the vast majority of these claims are supported by nothing more substantial than wishful thinking. If we are to regard Belford's story as any more believable than the rest, we need to see the evidence which supports it. Only then can his claim be resurrected from the bottom of the bird cage.
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Belford is also not in the list of crew members who we paid by the Board of Trade for being put to the trouble of making depositions and generally having their lives disrupted. The list includes all but one or two survivors.

Didn't Lord wake up to Belford in the end?
Morning All and a Happy new Year
Below is my printout on Mr. Belford - (collected over many years) I hope it gives a bit of background to the above discussions. Please note I have never been able to find any documentary proof that he was aboard.

BEDFORD, (BELFORD) WALTER. Possible Imposter. Saved in Lifeboat number 4. Lived at 163 Manor Road, Woolston, Southampton. Chief Night Baker.?. (Lived in New York).
Walter Belford did not appear on the Titanic's crew lists. In fact, he never was a Titanic crewman, he just told Walter Lord he was, the reasons were only known by himself.
URL: Walter Belford - 9KB - 26 Dec 2005
(From ANTR, Walter Lord, page 34)
- ''In the galley just to the stern, chief night baker Walter Belford was making rolls for the following day. (The honour of baking fancy pastry was reserved for the day shift). When the jolt came, it impressed Belford more strongly than steward Johnson - perhaps because a pan of new rolls clattered off the top of the oven and scattered about the floor''.
(Newscutting from Southern Evening Echo, 16 April, 1962).
Soton liner memorial
Argentia, Newfoundland, Monday.
A United States Navy chaplain held a memorial service in an aircraft over the North Atlantic yesterday to mark the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
A wreath was dropped from the U.S. Coast Guard plane onto the icy waters where more than 1,500 people died after the liner hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.
One of those attending the mid-air service was Captain Ross Bullard, commander of the international ice patrol formed in 1913 to prevent a repetition of the Titanic disaster.
Several survivors of the sinking attended another memorial service in the New York Seamen's church institute.
Among them was 92-year-old Walter Belford, originally from Glasgow, who was chief baker aboard the liner.
(Extract from the New York Herald Tribune, Monday April 16, 1962).
. . . Those present were: Walter Belford, 92 of 230 W. 99th Street, who was night chief baker on the ship; Mrs. Julia Smith White, 64 of 113 E. 91st Street; Mrs Katherine Manning, 66, of 32-43 Steinway Street, Astoria, Queens; Mrs. Henry B Harris, of the Spencer Arms Hotel, Broadway and 69th Street and Washington Dodge of 417 Park Avenue.
Strike opened oven doors
Mr. Belford recalled: ''We were working on the fifth deck amidships, baking for the next day. There was a shudder all through the ship about 11:40 pm. The provisions came tumbling down and the oven doors came open''. He escaped by going down the side of the ship by rope just before she sank.
Mrs. White, who was 14-years-old Julia Smith of Dublin, Ireland, left the stricken ship in Life Boat number 13. It was the last to leave. Mrs. White kept alive the legend of a man in woman's clothing who escaped by lifeboat. Women and children were given priority.
''I remember him,'' she said. ''He was a lad from Dublin, and he got into our life boat.''
Present at the ceremony was the Rev. James N. MacKenzie, who was at the Titanic launching. He watched her daily as she was being built in Belfast, he remembered.

Best regards