When where who was the first casualty


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Daniel M. Roper

Guest
Ladies and Gents,

Does anybody know - or is there any decent speculation - as to when, where, and who the first casualties were? As I've mentioned in recent posts on other matters, I'm writing a magazine article about the Titanic and I'd like to mention the time when (and where and who if possible) the first deaths likely occurred. I'm assuming it would have been crewmen working below deck. Any good info will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dan Roper
Rome, GA
 
Dec 7, 2000
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I think someone said there was a stoker in boiler room 6 that died when Titanic struck the iceberg. So far as I know, that would have been the 1st casualty.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Engineers Jon Shepard and Herbert Harvey were, at the very least, two of the earliest casualties. According to fireman Fred Barrett, they were trapped in Boiler Room No. 5, when the bulkheads apparently collapsed.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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True, not one of the mail clerks survived - however two of their (March & Woody) bodies were recovered by the funeral ships, which leads me to believe that the clerks did not die inside the ship (otherwise the bodies wouldn't have been found), but froze to death in the ocean with the other 1500 after the ship sank.

I personally do not believe any of the postal workers were trapped inside the ship, though there is no way to prove it. I think there is only one account that suggests some of the postal workers were trapped below, though I don't recall whose account.
 
May 8, 2001
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Could we count the man at the yards who was pinned by a timber prop when Titanic was launched, and later died of his injuries, or do we have to narrow the search down to the night of the sinking?
 
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Daniel M. Roper

Guest
The passenger whose recollections I am building my article around awoke at midnight (according to his testimony before the Senate) and I'm trying to figure out if, at that point, any of the crew had died. From the information I've seen it sounds like that is possible but by no means certain. One person says that it is possible a crewman or two died even as the collision occurred. But it may be equally likely, according to others, that nobody died until well after midnight.

I'm following everybody's posts carefully and very much appreciate all of the information you all are providing.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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Leaving aside the eight killed during construction, my money would be on John Shepherd. His fate was witnessed but other possible earlier deaths are mere speculation.

(The deaths during construction are listed on this site.)
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Daniel - I'd bet no one had died (yet) by as early as midnight. I cannot think of anyone I've heard of who could have died this early - and I think we even have to rule out the postmen this early.
 
D

Daniel M. Roper

Guest
Bill (and other kind posters),

Thanks for your insight. As a result of your suggestions, I had already modified my article to suggest that seamen "may have been" (instead of "were") dying when the subject of my story awoke at midnight. However, now I recognize even that is unlikely so I will consider revising it further. Perhaps I will change it to "soon seamen would be dying below" or something like that. Anyhow, your observations have been noted and I will continue to strive for accuracy in telling the story.

Sincerely,

Dan Roper
 
Dec 6, 2000
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John - Bosun Nichols assisted in loading the forward starboard boats, according to Symon's British Inquiry testimony. So this means he was still alive shortly before 1 AM. Lightoller claimed to send Nichols below with his team about the time of loading 6 or 8, however, Lightoller was never too clear on the order of the boats he lowered.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Possibly the first passenger fatality was the Belgian steerage passenger (for the life of me I can't recall which one it was)who succumbed to a heart attack on deck. One of the surviving group visited his wife in Belgium to tell her what had become of her husband. The family asked him to keep silent about the cause of death as it might affect their compensation claim.
 
May 9, 2001
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For the life of me, I cannot find the place in Barrett's testimony where he says that the engineers in BR 5 didn't make it up the ladder when the water rushed into the compartment.

This is strange, because I know I read that in his testimony before. Is some of Barrett's testimony missing from the Titanic Inquiry Project?

Yuri
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
I don't remember which question it was offhand, but as I recall, Barrett mentioned that one man didn't make it out of there. It was the man who fell through an open access in the deck and broke his leg.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Yuri - if there is part of Barrett's testimony missing at the Inquiry, neither Rob Ottmers or I are aware of it!

Maybe this is what you're thinking of, in the British Inquiry:

1907. There were stokers working there still; firemen in No. 6? - Yes.
1908. What happened to them? - There was one of them saved.
1909. One of them was saved? - Yes.
1910. Did he get through the watertight compartment with you? - I could not tell you where he got to.
1911. What was his name? - Beauchamp, I think it was.
1912. He is the man who has given evidence here this morning, because he said he was in No.10. As far as you know were any others of your gang saved? - I could not tell you.
It's really not clear from the wording, as to whether Barrett thought these other stokers died in No. 6, or whether they escaped No. 6, and died later when the ship went down. A case could be made that Barrett was refering to dying in No. 6, since if he *was* talking about being rescued from the sinking ship, you would think he would know who was rescued.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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The story about the Belgian was told to me by a Belgian researcher who had contact with the victim's family. I see no reason why it shouldn't be true - but we all know how these tales twist and turn over the years!
 

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