Where did the officers eat?


Matthew Charles O'Brien

Hello all,

I know that the ship's officers had their own mess as it were, but were they expected to eat in the first class dining saloon if they weren't on duty at the bridge? Did they act as hosts?


Hi! This is my first post here, so I'm not quite sure if I'm doing everything right...

I don't know for sure if this question was answered somewhere else, as I found similar threads about where some crew members ate, but they didn't give me quite the answer I was seeking and I couldn't find a solid answer on where the officers took their meals. (I may be just completely missing it if it has been answered before)

Was there a particular place for deck crew to eat, or did the officers themselves have their own place to eat? Mainly, I'm just trying to figure out where the officers would have had their meals. And would dining stewards of some sort serve the meals (if the officers ate separately from other crew members)?

Thanks for any help you can give me!
I did see another thread about officer meals, but not regarding specifically where they ate. That thread was posted on the forum for F-deck, and I'm not sure if that was an indication that they ate there, as I didn't see anything that stood out on the f-deck plans. I could have missed it though.

Jim Currie

Hello Libby.

Have have a look at the boat deck plan on this site. On the starboard side, opposite boat No 3 you will see a room marked "Officer's Smoke Room. Aft of that, you will see a smaller room marked "Pantry". It is quite possible that officers below the rank of Chief Officer were served meals in their Smoke Room. This would be brought up from the galley in trays by the officer's steward. Just a guess I'm afraid.

Rob Lawes

A very curious location for the officers mess presumably chosen more due to the proximity to a kitchen.

You would have thought the officers smoking room would have made for a far more sensible location for their mess. Especially given the large pantry next door which I presume would have been used to make tea and coffee.

I'm guessing that the two stewards berthed opposite the smoking room looked after the Captain and officers. Did the Captain have a dedicated steward and the other looked after the rest of the officers or did they share duties?
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James Paintin was the Captains Steward, he most likely served also the other bridge officers and had his cabin opposite the officers smoking room. Can not remember if there was a bed steward who shared the same cabin and work with him together.

The mess is there because it is closer to the kitchens. The pantries were mainly used for tea, coffee or a small snack like a sandwich if I remember right.
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The officer's mess was located in way of the third funnel on the starboard side. A "hoist" (aka "dumb waiter" in the USA) allowed vertical movement of food from the 1st class galley up to the mess. You can trace it down from the boat deck to D deck where it terminated at a "dresser" on the starboard side of the uptake casing. The obvious intent was to serve hot food from the main galley in the officer's mess. This could only be done by sending it directly from the stove to the table via the lift. Food carried forward to the officer's smoking room would have become chilled in the North Atlantic air and there were no microwave ovens aboard (an oversight I'm sure).

-- David G. Brown
Thank you all so much for your replies! I've been able to find it on plans now.

I also appreciate the extra information about the pantries. I sort of figured they might be used for small snacks and such, but was particularly curious if tea could have been served there. I've developed quite an interest in the daily routines and shipboard lives of the deck officers in recent days. :)
Which brings up another question. Was there any sort of ranks for the crew ? Did all of the crew have a common mess regardless of rank ? When I was in the U.S. Navy many years ago , the enlisted men up to First Class Petty Officer had a common mess . The Chief Petty Officers had a separate mess.

I thought the quote was attributed to Mark Twain, who would have probably said today .:
"All I know is what I read on the Internet, and that's my excuse for ignorance."
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I don't know for sure...Other than the Officer's Mess (the location of which I'm now aware of thanks to this post :)), I've noticed several other mess halls. There's a Seamen's Mess forward on C deck (port side) which says it seats 35, a Firemen's Mess starboard on C deck that says 87 seats, and an Engineer's mess on E deck (doesn't say how many seats), so best I can tell, different types of crew members maybe ate in different locations in the ship? Those were the only mess halls I found on a quick look over the deck plans, so there may be others that I missed.

As to ranks for the crew, I know there were some higher ranked crew members in the different departments (like a leading fireman, chief engineer, second engineer, junior second engineer, junior assistant second engineer, and several others in the engineering department detailed more in the list of crew members and their duties aboard ship) but as best as I can tell, they ate with the rest of their department (ex, engineers in engineer's mess). I don't know, and I'm curious if anyone has any more information! I'd be happy to hear if anyone knew anything else. :)

I'm also curious to know where crew members whose jobs were things like window cleaner, lamp trimmer, and the lookouts or the postal workers ate. Do they count as "seamen" and would they eat at the Seamen's mess? They're listed in the deck department along with the able seamen, who I assume would eat in the Seamen's mess. Or maybe I'm just missing another location of a crew member's mess somewhere on the ship's deck plans...

Also curious about where the pursers and such would eat. I've heard the Chief Purser (Hugh McElroy) did regularly dine with passengers.


I think most deck crew would have eaten in the seamen's mess. The firemen were separated probably because, showers and all, they would have been pretty filthy. Remember these were big sweaty guys that shoveled lumps of coal all day, would have taken a brief shower on the way back from their shift, and gone to eat. They probably tracked soot everywhere. Marconi and postal workers had separate dining (D deck, starboard and forward of the aft grand staircase) and were both employed by another company. Maids and valets and a dining room because they wouldn't have dined with passengers. Officers had a dining room, because they were officers. And engineers had a mess, near their quarters and close to the engine room.
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