Why so few French passengers?


May 3, 2005
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Just some of those " I have often wondered about that " things. :)

(1)
How many passengers boarded at each port of call on the westbound voyage of Titanic ?
Southampton - 922
Cherbourg - 274
Queenstown - 120

Also another question.
(2)
Could a passenger purchase a round trip ticket at Cherbourg or Queenstown to return to those port s ?
Would Titanic have returned only to Southampton ?
Or just the reverse of westbound....that is....stops at Queenstown, Cherbourg , Southampton in that order ?
If not, how would they manage to return to their home port ?
I have read that some who boarded at Southampton only traveled as far as Cherbourg and got off there ?
Also only to Queenstown ? Of course there was Father Browne in that case.

There was also a story that an American passenger had offered to buy Father Browne a round trip ticket to New York.
When he wired his Uncle (whom I believe was a Bishop ?) he got an emphatic reply . :
" No ! Get off that ship ! "
I would have thought that there would have been more persons boarding at Queenstown than at Cherbourg instead of the other way around , which was Cherbourg 274, Queenstown 120.
But as Harry Peach asked, " Why ? "
 

Harry Peach

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My only insight would be to encourage everybody to NOT over think the problem. Markets are notoriously fickle, and it's likely that the few French passengers aboard is nothing more incredible than simple indifference or a lack of desire to travel.


It's not about overthinking anything, and it's certainly no a 'problem'. I'm just using the forums for there precise purpose - to DISCUSS interesting points about the Titanic.

It's not something to loose sleep over - but it's interesting enough to see what other peoples opinions are!
 
May 3, 2005
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Out of interest - I wondered why there were so few French passengers aboard Titanic? I was shocked when researching that there were no (or very few) French passengers in Steerage?

Considering Titanic actually stopped off at Cherbourg, I just find this surprising and fascinating. What would be the reasons behind this?

Could it have been the political/economic situation in France being stable at the time and not many people wanting/needing to emigrate? Or maybe the poor being SO poor at the time they wouldn't have afforded even a steerage ticket?

or perhaps Franch relations with the US? Anti American (or British) sentiment?

Also considering Canada had/has a large French population and cities like Quebec and Montreal, I'm surprised there wouldn't be more passengers travelling too/from France to French Canada visiting family etc via New York.

Could it also be that the French preferred there own fleets for cross-Atlantic travel and not British/American ships?

Any incites on this?

I think that the reason might be simply that you might prefer a ship from your own country if you are leaving from a port in your own country.
How many English passengers would you find on a French ship ?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>> It's not about overthinking anything, <<

Well, it kinda IS overthinking it. Not being mean...just the reality. Markets are fickle and people either go...or not...depending on as little as "We just didn't feel like it."

Also Robert's point is well taken. French nationals preferring a French owned and operated vessel is not unreasonable.
 
May 3, 2005
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>> It's not about overthinking anything, <<

Well, it kinda IS overthinking it. Not being mean...just the reality. Markets are fickle and people either go...or not...depending on as little as "We just didn't feel like it."

Also Robert's point is well taken. French nationals preferring a French owned and operated vessel is not unreasonable.
Well, with apologies to Michael for perhaps a bit of overthinking. :)
Also there just might be more French ships sailing from Cherbourg than English ships.
There was the coal strike in England, too......But not in France ?
And how many German passengers would you find on a French ship and vice-versa ? LOL
 
May 3, 2005
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One question leads to another and maybe Michael or someone has an answer ?

During a vacation visit to New York many years ago I had the opportunity to visit RMS Queen Mary and SS France.

There were also many other ships of other nations in port.

How about Americans ?
If they were going to England would they prefer Queen Mary or France if going to France or an American ship such as SS United States in either case ?

In my case I had once considered a trip to England and chose RMS Queen Mary instead of an American ship.

And many years later, at Long Beach, California we enjoyed a memorable stay at Hotel Queen Mary in a former First Class Cabin and a dinner in Sir Winston's, the former Verandah Grille.
 
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Harry Peach

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I think that the reason might be simply that you might prefer a ship from your own country if you are leaving from a port in your own country.
How many English passengers would you find on a French ship ?

Ah well if that French ship stopped at an English port before a voyage - then I would image a number of people would! I mean no one really questions ownership of a Ferry fleet these days - its usually the one that cheapest and or at a convenient time!

that's the point - that it stopped at a French Port - of course if it was an English ship going straight from England to the US - I'd not question why there weren't many French passengers!

it's the fact it did actually stopped in Cherborg!
 
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I wonder if it would have made any difference in the number of French passengers on the Titanic if the Titanic would have gone straight to New York from Cherbourg if it hadn't made the additional stop at Queenstown ?
I had always assumed (perhaps rather erroneously) that Titanic stopped at Cherbourg not just for French passengers but for many others such as immigrants , persons from other European countries, Americans
Canadians, etc. returning from Europe on business or pleasure trips ?
 
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Aly Jones

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Could've been just a week where the French didn't want to travel, or the French just didn't like traveling on British ships. We really need to check Olympics and other British French passenger manifest prior from titanic .
I know the struass always traveled on German ships prior titanic (cause of their German ancestry) but this time only they picked a British ship. Their own son, at the time of titanic sinking, he was travelling on a German ship.
 
May 3, 2005
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As mentioned on a previous post probably just a matter of sailing on a ship of your own country.
Also maybe a matter of language ? Maybe wanting to sail on a ship where the officers and stewards, etc.
spoke your own language and had the same customs ?

Also, years ago I had thought of a trip to England from America.
I would have chosen RMS Queen Mary because of my English ancestry instead of an American ship.such as SS United States.
My previous ocean voyages were on American ships with "USS" prefixes. :)
 
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Aly Jones

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ld say you are correct with the language barriers and French would prefer french crew than any other. Even today, I have heard from season traveller to Europe and expat from Germany working both at my work that the French are very hardcore about their language and hate speaking in English. So in 1912 French would be more passionate about their French culture and language.

Did you end up going? I bet not to many French onboard?
Likewise ,I would love to travel on the queen mary for a transatlantic voyage for two reasons or three or 4 . She's belongs to cunard, she's famous, she's British, and I have mainly British ancestry.
For a cruise trip, I wouldn't mind trying Italian or French ship. I'm curious about how different it will be from British ship and also officers and sailors from those countries all speak English as well as their own language. However in 1912, the average sea-traveller passengers from europe couldn't speak English, so most opted for their own nationality of ship, which I believe why only few French were aboard .
 
May 3, 2005
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No, I cancelled plans for that trip. That was the year that " I went from Texas to Yellowstone National Park
via the New York World's Fair " on my vacation trip. I did meet a lot of German College Students at Yellowstone......No French ? ....No French. LOL

And after my visit to Queen Mary I was glad and much relieved about doing so. The less said , the better....especially Second Class Cabin C-119, which Cunard had listed as being available. Ugh !!!! Yuck !!!!! This was during the New York World's Fair of 1965 and Queen Mary looked like she had seen much better days.

However, as mentioned on a previous post , a later stay at Hotel Queen Mary was just the opposite pleasure wise. First Class Suite, Verandah Grille, etc..

Back to topic. After going over the reasons why not, I wouldn't have been surprised to find out that there were absolutely NO French passengers on the Titanic ! :)

Just an aside on another Titanic legend.
There are stories that Mrs. Margaret Brown had self-taught her self , had toured Europe quiet extensively and was a gracious person in many respects. It was also said the was fluent in several languages (besides English ! LOL) and was helpful in talking to and helping to deal with immigrant survivors in steerage from many different countries while on the Carpathia to New York.
Certain not the "hick" as portrayed in ANTR !
 
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Mark Baber

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the struass always traveled on German ships prior titanic (cause of their German ancestry) but this time only they picked a British ship.
1. I take it you mean Mr. and Mrs. Straus?
2. This is not correct. A brief and non-exhaustive search of the immigration records at Ellis Island shows Mr. Straus as arriving at New York in 1894 on the American Line's New York; in 1885 and 1905 on Cunard's Etruria; in 1911 on Holland America's Rotterdam; in 1910 on Cedric. He did not travel only on German ships.
 

Aly Jones

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1. I take it you mean Mr. and Mrs. Straus?
2. This is not correct. A brief and non-exhaustive search of the immigration records at Ellis Island shows Mr. Straus as arriving at New York in 1894 on the American Line's New York; in 1885 and 1905 on Cunard's Etruria; in 1911 on Holland America's Rotterdam; in 1910 on Cedric. He did not travel only on German ships.
yes the straps. Ok wasn't aware of this. What I read was obviously wrong. Thanks for the info.
 

Aly Jones

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Scroll down near the end.

Titanic had French cafe full of French waiters, but why? When British ships don't carry many French in 1st class, also I believe French were not that keen on the British.

Did French liners have British cafes???
 

Aly Jones

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There are stories that Mrs. Margaret Brown had self-taught her self , had toured Europe quiet extensively and was a gracious person in many respects. It was also said the was fluent in several languages (besides English ! LOL) and was helpful in talking to and helping to deal with immigrant survivors in steerage from many different countries while on the Carpathia to New York.
Officer boxhall probably wished he had her on his boat. He couldn't understand any of them. He had so much trouble counting the people in his boat.

Yes, she seems like a very caring lady. Amazing she taught herself other languages. Must be a very talented lady.

Ps- wow must be an amazing experience on queen Mary back in the 60's- a lot less drama back then, happy days ill bet.
 

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