Where were the women and children


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Annie O'Greefa

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Why were there so few women or children's bodies recovered?
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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Including passengers and crew, there were over 3 times as many males on board as women and children. Since women and children boarded the lifeboats first, more women and children survived than did males. About 1360 males died, but only about 157 females and children perished. So its only natural that many more male bodies were recovered.
 

Dave Gittins

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Research on the recovered bodies by Bill Wormstedt strongly suggests that many third class passengers, including women, either remained below decks and went down with the ship, or failed to wear lifebelts. As most of the women and children lost were third class, Bill's work helps to account for their bodies not being found. See his work at http://home.att.net/~wormstedt/titanic
 

Mike Herbold

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Dave:
I have seen Bill's excellent analysis before and thank you for bringing it up again.

Bill's chart shows that 1360 men died and 157 women and children died. That's a 90/10 ratio. Based on my theory, that same ratio could be expected to show up with the bodies recovered.

But counting up the info on the ET list, there were 305 males recovered and 22 women and children (14 and under). Thats a somewhat higher 93/7 ratio.

There were some puzzling observations, however. Mr. Strauss was found, but Mrs. Strauss was not. Mr. Allison was found but his wife and daughter were not. There may be more cases like that, but I didn't notice any right away.

It also seems statistically puzzling that of the first 76 bodies found, 13 were women and 3 were children (a 79/21 ratio). Of the last 251 bodies found, only 6 were female (nearly a 98/2 ratio).
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Just popping in for a minute, after a week away from the computer!

Thanks for the compliments re: my body research.

One thing I'd like to point out, regarding Mr. and Mrs. Staus (and also the Allisons, probably the same scenario). Wherever Mr. Straus was when the ship went down, his wife was very probably with him - and probably both wore lifebelts. I doubt very much that he did, and she didn't. Anyway, the fact that his body was recovered and her's wasn't is pure luck.

And I do not believe the Straus' went below deck after the incident at the lifeboat, otherwise Mr. Straus' body would not have been recovered.
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear Bill and Mike, please note that several of the officially unidentified bodies are easily identifiable as 'sailor' or 'third class passenger' etc. Almost every sailor was recovered after the sinking, but six or so remained unidentified (one of them is almost certainly the body of Bertram Terrell. I think this is body No 20, but I can't remember right now).

Best regards,

Peter
 
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Jason Bidwell

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Peter - why do you think Bertram Terrell is body #20? I looked at the description and saw nothing to directly point to Terrell, other than that the unidentified man was a sailor. Or if you got the body number wrong, which is it? Terrell was 20 years old, so perhaps you mixed up that number with the body number you were trying to think of, if you're incorrect about #20. Thanks.
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Peter - checking back on my work files, I see 9 of the Deck Department who died, were NOT recovered. Also, most of the unidentified sailors are listed as 'probably sailor', so even the id of sailor is questionable.

I don't think we know enough to say with any certainty that almost every sailor body was recovered.
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear Bill and Jason; the following bodies were listed as 'probably sailors'; 20, 24, 40, 106, 160 and 254. I think body No 29 is also that of a sailor. Most of them wore 'blue White Star jersey', i e the kind of jersey with the White Star emblem sailors on the ship wore. The body I believe to be Bertram Terrell is No 24, not 20.
This is why I believe the report that six sailors were lost inside of the ship to be a mistake.

Best regards,

Peter
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Peter - checking the Halifax data, I see that most of the bodies you mention do not say 'White Star jersey'. Only 20 and 40 mention a White Star jersey.

106, for example, says 'blue serge suit', which doesn't even tell us whether it's a passenger or not. 160 says 'blue suit', 254 is 'dark mixture suit' - I must guess that in these cases, the identifier was using info we don't have at this time to say 'probably a sailor'.

It's too bad that Lightoller didn't identify the six sailors who he says went below. He did identify Bosun Nichols, who had been seen earlier in the evening loading boats - and then seemingly disappeared! Which Lightoller's account would explain.

So, we're back to the same - were these really sailors or not? If these ids are correct, then they account for 6 of the 7 missing sailors.
 
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Jason Bidwell

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Peter - to your list should probably be added the identified bodies of sailors Frank Couch (#253) and David Matherson (#192). Then William H. Lyons was buried at sea, so that leaves 9 deck department seamen unaccounted for: Bosun Nichols, Master-at-Arms King, and sailors F. Bradley, George Clench, Stephen J. Davis, Harry Holman, C. Taylor, William Smith, and Bertram Terrell. I would agree that for 24 Terrell is certainly the most likely ID; he's the only sailor young enough and he matches the physical description, vague as it is.

106 and 160 are only described as "possibly a sailor." Not sure 29 is a sailor. So besides the identified Couch and Matherson, and Lyons, we have #s 20, 24, 40, and 254 who were probably sailors, though of course not certainly. That accounts for 3-7 of the 12 seamen who died.
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear Bill, I agree with you. I always thought body No 29 was that of a sailor because of the description of his clothing, which is almost identical to the other identified sailors. I already had 253 and 192 as officially identified, that's why I didn't include them in the list earlier.

Best regards,

Peter
 
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Jan Shellenbarger

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As far as the "Women & Children first" theory, did First Class men follow through on this with the Second and Third Class passengers? My belief is that they may have put their own families first, but probably were not too concerned if the lower classes survived. Is there any research on this topic?
 
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Kay Wilson

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On the subject of sailor's bodies, don't forget the unidentified man believed to be a sailor whose body was found in Collapsible A by the Oceanic and buried at sea.
 

Celia Bennett

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Mar 18, 2001
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Jason and Peter. My grandfather was the brother to Harry Holman - Lookout. Harry Holman went down, but was reported incorrectly in the Gosport and Portsmouths paper as Alfred the other brother. My grandfathers name was Joseph. My grandfather lived to the age of 93 and died in 1973. This was a great seafaring family. There were 5 sons and 2 daughters who made up this family. There is lot more I can tell you about this family
 
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