It's evident from comments made also at the time by some of the surviving passengers that the term 'quartermaster' was often thought to indicate rank rather than particular duties. The term had no more significance than the special designation of some seamen as lookouts or lamp trimmers. These men again had particular responsibilities but no advantage of rank - all were experienced seamen, but with no authority over others and all drew the same pay as any other AB (except for a small extra payment for lookout duties). This misunderstanding might have been due to a confusion with the role of army quartermasters, who were always commissioned officers or sergeants and had very different responsibilities which included authority over men of lesser rank. It would have been wrong to expect a ship's quartermaster to have training or qualities of leadership, and Major Peuchen I think was one of those (perhaps because of his own military experience) who did have such expectations of Hichens, and thus his comment that he didn't think Hichens was 'qualified' to be a QM. In which case, that would have been an unfair judgement.