Wireless Operator


monica e. hall

Muddied waters, here, Bob. You're saying we have to try to distinguish between natural ear-aging processes, and cauliflower ears..? Broken noses, and the natural results of over-indulgence? Given the photographic evidence, I think it may be a non-starter, for 1912 - 1920.

Given the evidence for 2005, I think, regrettably, it may be only too clear.

Back to square-one.

Senan Molony

What are you saying, Monica, that it is not a picture from 1912-20 ?

Do you doubt my word?

Senan Molony

Full Barrett CR10 to be uploaded here tonight.

Monitor Hall's ears should be burning red by then.

Bob Godfrey

Just to clarify: Senan has posted an excellent photo of a Fred Barrett who is almost certainly THE Fred Barrett. Good work, Senan. The discussion has turned to the possibility of finding him in other photos, and the problems in general of matching faces in different pics. Nobody has suggested that this pic isn't Fred. He does indeed have very distinctive ears, and I've been burning the midnight oil looking for a younger Fred in all those 1912 survivor groups, but so far no luck. Will report back if I find those ears.

monica e. hall

"What are you saying, Monica, that it is not a picture from 1912-20 ?"
"I am going to enjoy boxing your ears."
"Monitor Hall's ears should be burning red by then."
I doubt it.

Senan Molony

Hi Bob,

I appreciate your efforts to smooth ruffled feathers. However I know exactly what was being implied.

And so does everybody else. It is explicit in the end.

I think a foolish mistake was made by one of our interlocutors in comparing my pic today with the earlier "Barrett" picture I posted, which Eaton and Haas in Triumph & Tragedy clearly suggest was the surviving Fred Barrett by their placement of that pic in their book.

I pointed out earlier that I have doubts about this - since that pic was originally printed by the Daily Mirror in 1912 among a gallery of victims.

For the under-informed, there were two Frederick Barretts, both stokers. Both on the Titanic. One lived and one died.

I do not know where the truth lies for that particular Daily Mirror pic (very young in any case), as it is more than conceivable that the 1912 newspaper made a mistake, but the CR10 pic for Barrett that I posted today comes from an identity card that has accurate information and importantly identifies him as a leading firemen.

People who have never done any Titanic research themselves may be surprised at the quality of the CR10s photographs, but the serious Titanic community can be very glad that they very much exist.

Brian J. Ticehurst

Brian J. Ticehurst

Senan - Many thanks the excellent Photograph.
Below is a story I printed in the Atlantic Daily Bulletin about Mr. Barrett many moons ago.
Mr. Barrett was Fred Leigh's uncle and he wrote the following story - we never did find out what eventually happened to Mr. B - any idea?

City's unsung Titanic hero.
By Fred Leigh. 26th February 1987
With permission.
NO disaster of modern times has quite excited the same horror and at the same time, fascination, doubt, bravery and cowardice as the sinking of the Titanic.
Fred Barrett lived in Hanley with his wife and worked in a local pit as a collier. He was tall and strong and a good worker much respected by his mates and employers. Members of a brass band, his father and two brothers and himself would augment their income as buskers.
On his way to the pit one morning, he was informed by a friend that his wife had taken a lover and this man had been seen entering his house when he had left for work. Enraged, Fred returned home to find the insidious pair in his bed. The man sprang from the bed and cowered in the corner of the room.
A fearsome cry and Fred lunged towards him and lifted him bodily from the floor. His eyes blazed with anger and disgust, he paused, trembling, then let him fall to the floor. The man was whimpering like a child and Fred stepped back and glared at his unfaithful wife. She was crying hysterically, holding the bedcovers to her chin as though to ward off the violence she expected to come. Gripping the rail of the brass bedstead he said quietly: ''You're not worth the trouble.'' He left the house and never saw her again.
Fred then went to see his sister in Hanley, Mrs. Ada Leigh, and he told her of his trouble. He said he was going to try and get a job as a seaman and would, later, settle down in America. It was, he said, something he had wanted to do for some time.
Fred soon found work as a stoker. He worked hard and was made a leading fireman.
In 1912 he was offered a job as leading fireman on the Titanic. While waiting for the ship to sail he lodged at a public house, the King and Queen, 24 King Street, Houndwell, Southampton.
Wednesday, April 10, 1912, just before 7.30am, Captain Edward Smith (a fellow townsman), arrived wearing a bowler hat and a long overcoat. He began to receive reports from his officers.
A few moments before noon, Captain Smith gave the order to sail.
A near collision was averted by the alert action of Captain Smith and the Pilot Bowyer as the water under and around the SS New York increased in volume by the movement of the Titanic. The mooring ropes broke and the New York began to move towards the Titanic. An omen? On to Cherbourg, more passengers and cargo. Queenstown, Ireland then into the North Atlantic.
Warnings of ice were telegraphed and were received by the Marconi Wireless Operators Phillips and Bride from other vessels in the area and were passed to the Captain. One was passed to Bruce Ismay, the owner, who put it in his pocket.
When the liner struck, Captain Smith rushed to the bridge and asked officer Murdoch what had happened. ''An iceberg,'' he replied. ''I hard a starboard and reversed the engines and I was going to hard a port but she was too close - I couldn't do any more, sir.'' Captain Smith gave the order to close the emergency doors, ''The doors are already closed sir.'' replied Murdoch.
Down in boiler room number 6, Fred Barrett had been talking to second engineer Hesketh. The warning bell sounded and the red light flashed above the watertight door. There was a crash and the starboard side of the ship appeared to give way. The sea poured in and the two men leapt through the door as it slammed down behind them.
Fred Barrett saw that the situation was as bad in boiler room number 5. The gash ran about 2ft. beyond the door and a great jet of water was gushing through the hole. The stokers were scrambling up the ladder to topside. The lights went out and Engineer Harvey told Fred, who had stayed behind, to go aft for lanterns. Fred Barrett had to climb to the top of the escape ladder, cross over, and down the other side.
Boiler room
By the time he had retraced his steps the lights had come on again. The Engineer then ordered Fred to get the boilers shut down. The pressure had built up while the ship was at full steam. Fred scrambled back up the escape ladder and gave orders to about 20 stokers he found wandering around ''E'' deck. It was back-breaking work boxing up the boilers and putting on dampers to stop the steam rising. Clouds of steam gushed through the boiler room as they sweated and toiled.
Boiler room number 5 seemed the only place under control. After the fires were drawn, Barrett sent most of the stokers topside. By this time the ship was down at the head and listing five degrees to starboard. Fireman Barrett had noticed this but decided to say nothing to the engineers who were working on the pumps. Engineer Harvey ordered Fred to lift the iron manhole cover off the floor-plates on the starboard side so that he could get at the valves to adjust the pumps.
Orders came from the bridge for all hands to report to the boat stations. Fred told the remaining stokers to go but he remained behind to assist Harvey and after about a quarter of an hour they were pleased with their endeavours and the room was still dry. Suddenly the sea came roaring through the space between the boilers at the forward end of the room. The whole bulkhead between numbers 5 and 6 collapsed. Harvey shouted to Fred to get out. Foam surging around his knees then upwards to his waist, he struggled to the escape ladder. He looked round for Harvey who was making his way to the pump room where Engineer Shepherd lay (who had broken his leg through falling down an open manhole cover) and then Shepherd disappeared under the torrent of water. There was nothing more he could do but make his way up the ladder as the water followed him.
Fred Barrett reached the deck and walked aft to deck ''A'' on the starboard side, where there were only two boats left - number 13 and 15. Number 13 was partly lowered and full.
A call was made for any more women. None appeared and none were visible on the deck, which was brightly illuminated, Fred Barrett was told to get in and take charge.
The experience of being lowered in a large lifeboat with 64 people aboard was like descending a tall building 75ft above the ground in a continuous series of jerks. When almost to the bottom, a great discharge of water 3ft to 4ft in diameter which was coming from the condenser pumps almost swamped them.
They shouted to stop lowering, Fred and another man pushed the boat away from the side of the ship with oars then shouted to be lowered again. The lifeboat reached the sea which fortunately was as calm as a lake. Fred Barrett shouted ''Let go the after falls.'' None of the crew on the boat deck heard, or were too busy lowering boat number 15. Boat 13 was now drifting below boat 15 and the occupants were in danger of being crushed. Fred, with seconds to spare scrambled across the boat, treading on women and children. He cut the ropes just in time as boat 15 crashed down beside them. ''Pull away'', he ordered. ''As hard as you can.'' More confusion because the few crew in the boat had never handled an oar before. One of the stokers collapsed because of the freezing cold. A lady passenger draped a coat over him.
They rowed with difficulty for about a mile from the ship when Fred called a halt. The night dark and cold, yet calm, the sky clear and full of stars. They all stared in awe at the demise of the great liner. The lights were still burning, row after row disappearing as she slowly sank. Then, a rumbling noise, as the forward funnel-stays snapped and the giant funnel toppled over in a shower of sparks. The sound of engines, boilers and machinery crashing through the bulkheads.
The after part of the ship went up in the air, stern upwards, almost vertical. The lights went out. She slid slowly but gracefully to her final resting place on the bed of the North Atlantic.
Dawn came and the responsibility of ''Captain'' Frederick Barrett came to an end. They were taken aboard the rescue ship Carpathia.
After giving evidence in the American and British inquiries, Fred Barrett came to the Potteries once more to visit his sister. No hero's welcome here, his native town were unaware of the role he played in one of the world's greatest disasters. Then went I know not where. So ends a legend.
Fred Leigh. Reprinted with permission.
Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers

I am going to enjoy boxing your ears.
Senan, this comment was unnecessary and in poor taste, as I am sure you appreciate with hindsight. Threats of physical violence, however 'jokingly' made, are not amusing. Let's have no more of this please.

Senan Molony

It was meant metaphorically, Paul, and Monica likes her metaphors.

(She knows what she herself was intending to convey with her ear-related circumlocutions.
I know it, and anyone who cares to read her posts can form their own opinion.)

I think everyone knows what I was trying to convey in return, while staying in the "ears" idiom.

Having said that, I appreciate that it was overly-aggressive in tone. If it has disturbed the wider equilibrium, then of course I regret that and I now formally withdraw it, with apologies.

Any lingering suggestion that the picture could not be that of Frederick Barrett from his CR10 card in 1919 will soon be wholly disposed of.

From cauliflower ears to noses out of joint, I'm sure none of this is really important in the wider scheme of things.

Pictures of Barrett's CR10 card to come.

Senan Molony


Hi Bob - there is a slim possibility that this may be Barrett at Plymouth, I can put it no higher than that, in light of his CR10 image.

The relevant picture is in Titanic Voices.

Meanwhile the CR10 would appear to totally copperfasten your conclusion about Poingdestre, which I now completely share.

Brian Ticehurst: Thanks a million for posting that most interesting article. I did not know any of that pre-Titanic material. The wiles of women, eh?

It is great to see all the contributions that have gone up here from serious researchers, particularly Inger's find on Durrant.

I am afraid I do not know what became of Barrett after 1919, Brian. He is obviously a key witness for all kinds of reasons.

Now that my interest is piqued, I might have a scout around.

Jo Durant

Senan, sorry for the ignorance, can I ask how long you've been studying the Titanic? I'm relatively new to this board (and any form of communication with other buffs except Brian Ticehurst,) and it's good to be among such knowledgeable people.

Bob Godfrey

Senan, there's certainly a resemblance, but check out the pic at the top of page 219 of Titanic Voices. Several of the guys on the right of the other picture are in that one too, and I think the man you've indicated is at the front, left of centre, looking less of a hard case when he's smiling. And that lot, I think, are all victualling crew.

Senan Molony

Hi Jo - it is like asking "have you lived here all your life?" and the answer is always "not yet."
I only got back into the Titanic after learning they were making the Cameron movie, when I re-ordered a book I had read as a teenage and remembered as being rather good.
When I saw all these un-Irish names at the back, among passengers supposed to have boarded at Queenstown, I decided to look into it. Turned out a huge proportion of the names were indeed mistakes.
So I am not as long around as many people, and only looking around the place since 1997. Just looking around turns up a lot of interesting sidelines. The pleasure is often to be found in the diversions.
By the way, I saw you briefly posted on our South Pole jaunt. Was that another mistake or did you subsequently realise that you were taking your life in your hands?
Bob - I had a look and agree they are probably the same guy, ie a steward.
It is funny how a lot of very important people slipped through the photographic net. One thinks of people like Frederick Scott and Alfred Crawford...