Were the stewards assigned certain lifeboat stations


In reading several of the stewards biographies here on ET it appears they were assigned certain lifeboat stations. Who gave those orders? And did the stewards know before the disaster where to report in case of an emergency? I've often read there were no drills prior to the maiden voyage, so I suspect they wouldn't necessarily know where to go or what to do?
I'm also wondering if the deep divide between the deck crew and the victualling crew (stewardess Violet Jessop describes how the other male crew look down at stewards not regarding this as a "manly" job)caused the officers to prefer manning the lifeboats with deck crew rather than stewards?
 
Many of the crew testified later that their lifeboat assignments were posted on notice boards in their accommodation areas - but not all bothered to read them.

It's natural that the officers would have preferred experienced seamen manning the boats. They were the men trained for the job, so prejudice doesn't come into it. But they were also needed to launch the boats and for other specialised tasks, so on the night demand exceeded supply. Where possible boats were launched with at least one seaman in charge, but there's ample evidence that many other crew members assigned to row didn't know one end of an oar from the other. Certainly some of the passengers could have done a better job.
 
>>I'm also wondering if the deep divide between the deck crew and the victualling crew (stewardess Violet Jessop describes how the other male crew look down at stewards not regarding this as a "manly" job)caused the officers to prefer manning the lifeboats with deck crew rather than stewards?<<

I'm with Bob on this one. The issue is not so much any sort of divide as it is a question of having people launching and manning the boats who actually know what they're doing. Boat operations are dangerous enough even under setpiece drill conditions in the reletively safe confines of the harbour. Out on the open ocean in a life and death emergency, an open boat is no place to have amatures.
 

Adam Went

Member
Yes, the impression certainly is that the manning of the lifeboats, lifeboat stations, etc was a pretty disorganised affair which not too many passengers or crew knew anything about. Hence why you ended up with officers asking for people who knew how to take charge of a boat to get in (Peuchen) as opposed to having able crew members ready and prepared to take charge.

It's lucky in more ways than one that the ocean was calm and Carpathia wasn't too long in arriving.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
>>It's lucky in more ways than one that the ocean was calm and Carpathia wasn't too long in arriving.<<

Damn right it was, and the issue with the shortage of trained people was one which would be chalked up to "Lessons learned."
 
Puechen was asked to take charge of an oar. Any seaman, no matter how low in the ranking, was rightly regarded as the man best qualified to take charge of the boat - at least in terms of seamanship. Some of them, however, had little or no experience in the exercise of authority and it showed.
 

Adam Went

Member
Michael:

Yes, certainly a lesson learnt the hard way!

Bob:

Peuchen had to take charge of an oar because of the fact that the able seamen who should have been assigned to the lifeboat hadn't been assigned to the lifeboat, hadn't been trained for such emergencies on the Titanic, and, in any case, weren't there at the time.

Fortunately some of the passengers were more resilient, women included, as some of the crew members who did make it into the boats weren't much use at all.
 
I remember Lightoller mentioning somewhere that in the latter stages of the sinking, he had to limit to two seamen per boat, as there were only 30 I believe.

In any case, it was definitely lucky that the water was calm, and the women certainly helped rowing.
 
One thing i was wondering was how did the officers choose which Seamen to put into the boats??, i noticed that of the 2 Seamen neither survived whereas most of the Able Seamen did, i know the numbers outweigh but you'd think one would have gotten in to a boat, and also when the officers allowed a lot of stewards and engine crew into boats 13 and 15 were any passengers or deck crew allowed to enter the boats?? also, i doubt anyone knows but does anyone think they might have a clue as to what happened to the men like Harry Holman and David Matherson or Montague Vincent Mathias, because i know Alfred Nichols was sent to open the lower gangway doors and i know that he took a team of 7 men, possibly including himself to open them and none were seen again, just wondered if anyone had a clue as to what could have been their fate?? thanks guys :)
 
It's often stated that those men were 'never seen again'. But as we don't know who they were (apart from Nichols) that's always seemed to me to be an odd assumption. And even if we did know their names there were plenty of people even among the survivors who were never mentioned in anybody else's testimony.
 
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