Wyckoff Van der Hoef


Arun Vajpey

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I have often wondered about Wyckoff van der Hoef, the only fare paying passenger who boarded the Titanic in Belfast.

As a First Class passenger, he must have had the ship's public rooms virtually to himself during the trip to Southampton. Thomas Andrews and a few of the Harland & Wolff "Guarantee Group" were also in First Class but I suspect they were busy planning ahead most of the time. Therefore, Van der Hoeff was probably quite lonely.

As to the previous post, he probably stayed at one of the upmarket hotels near the Southampton docks during the layover there.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I have often wondered if Wykoff van der Hoef ever gave a feedback of his experiences on board the Titanic during the crossing from Belfast to Southampton to anyone who was interviewed after the disaster. He was the only paying First Class passenger on that trip and expect met people from Harland & Wolff's "Guarantee Group" who were also in First Class - Thomas Andrews, Joseph Thompson, William Parr and Roderick Chisholm. Of course, all of them and Van der Hoef died in the sinking, BUT he could have spoken to someone in the hotel he stayed at in Southampton (assuming that's what he did) before re-boarding on 10th April. It was six days after arriving in Southampton that the Titanic departed on its fateful maiden voyage and during that time Van der Hoef could have spoken to several people about the trip and later with some First Class passenger survivors.

Is there any sort of record of Wykoff van der Hoef's impressions on the Belfast to Southampton trip?
 
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Cam Houseman

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He was the only paying First Class passenger on that trip and expect met people from Harland & Wolff's "Guarantee Group" who were also in First Class - Thomas Andrews, Joseph Thompson, William Parr and Roderick Chisholm.
Those were the only two other members he met (besides Mr. Andrews)? William Parr can be seen in the famous Gymnasium photo with Instructor McCrawley in the background.
 
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Mike Spooner

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Wasn't Wyckoff Van der hoef actually breaking the law by been a paying passenger at Belfast, before Titanic had received from the Board of Trade certificate of clearance for paying passengers at Southampton?
 

Arun Vajpey

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Wasn't Wyckoff Van der hoef actually breaking the law by been a paying passenger at Belfast, before Titanic had received from the Board of Trade certificate of clearance for paying passengers at Southampton?
Maybe it was some sort of "arrangement" with White Star. He might have been allowed on board in Belfast - effectively an "official stowaway" - with the understanding that when he paid for his First Class passage in Southampton, there would be an added charge for the board and lodge of the delivery trip.

Speaking of facilities, were there crew to look after his meals, room etc during that trip? He spent two nights on board, I think. He could have had his meals with Andrews and others of the Guarantee Group travelling in First Class, of course.
 

Seumas

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Speaking of facilities, were there crew to look after his meals, room etc during that trip? He spent two nights on board, I think. He could have had his meals with Andrews and others of the Guarantee Group travelling in First Class, of course.
Yes, there were plenty of stewards and a handful of galley crew on the delivery trip.

 
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Arun Vajpey

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It would be really nice to get some idea of Van der Hoef's feedback for that trip. He was in First Class and with the GG people otherwise busy, he would have had the public rooms pretty much to himself, I imagine. With so few people about in those huge rooms, the perspective of a lone man would have been rather different from general, post-disaster comments of surviving First Class passengers.

He must have spoke to some people about his impressions during the 6 days he (probably) remained in Southampton before the actual maiden voyage started.
 

Mike Spooner

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If the law states your must have a Government certificate clearance before having paying passengers and wasn't given at Belfast and was performed by Maurice Clarke from the Board of Trade at Southampton. As for crew members which must have to past the BoT seaworthy certificate. You may argue about stewards, but I don't see them as paying passengers.
Sorry or may not be, I shall be on holiday for the this week. See the replies 8 days time.
 

Seumas

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It would be really nice to get some idea of Van der Hoef's feedback for that trip. He was in First Class and with the GG people otherwise busy, he would have had the public rooms pretty much to himself, I imagine. With so few people about in those huge rooms, the perspective of a lone man would have been rather different from general, post-disaster comments of surviving First Class passengers.

He must have spoke to some people about his impressions during the 6 days he (probably) remained in Southampton before the actual maiden voyage started.
The stewards on the delivery trip would probably have made a start at putting away necessary stores (all that ceramic, glassware, cutlery etc) and furiously cleaning up the public areas after months of workmen passing through them. They probably wouldn't have wanted anyone in the way.

There was a fair bit of interior painting still to be done, which was the reason first class was crammed with fresh cut flowers on sailing day to mask the smell ! It was not uncommon for a ship that big to go to see with some minor work still to be done.

If the law states your must have a Government certificate clearance before having paying passengers and wasn't given at Belfast and was performed by Maurice Clarke from the Board of Trade at Southampton. As for crew members which must have to past the BoT seaworthy certificate. You may argue about stewards, but I don't see them as paying passengers.
Sorry or may not be, I shall be on holiday for the this week. See the replies 8 days time.
It was one solitary passenger, it's not a big deal at all.

For all we know Mr Van de Hoef may have been granted official permission to travel from the authorities.

Royal Navy warships are not supposed to carry civilians into battle but in 1914 and 1941 they did just that. Exceptions are made.

You may argue about stewards, but I don't see them as paying passengers.

Nobody said they were passengers. They would have had a lot of work to do on the delivery trip.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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He was the only paying First Class passenger on that trip and expect met people from Harland & Wolff's "Guarantee Group" who were also in First Class - Thomas Andrews, Joseph Thompson, William Parr and Roderick Chisholm. Of course, all of them and Van der Hoef died in the sinking
Sorry to quote myself, but in the past hour I learned something that I had missed before. I had been under the impression that Joseph 'Joey' Thompson also died with rest of the GG members when the Titanic sank but I just discovered that he in fact got off in Southampton.

But despite that 'lucky break', he died only 5 years later in an accident.
 

Mike Spooner

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Did we known if Wykoff van der Hoef had a partner? If was on his own must felt a bit lonely been the only passenger in the first class restaurant, or did he mix in with the crew members, or seat at the captain table? I wander what was on the menu to?
 

Arun Vajpey

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Did we known if Wykoff van der Hoef had a partner? If was on his own must felt a bit lonely been the only passenger in the first class restaurant, or did he mix in with the crew members, or seat at the captain table?
AFAIK, WvdH was the only First Class (or any class) fare paying passenger who boarded in Belfast. He was on his own in that respect but there were 4 people from Harland & Wolff's "Guarantee Group" who were also berthed in First Class cabins. They were Thomas Andrews himself, William Parr, Roderick Chisholm and Joseph Thompson. I expect WvdH joined them for meals but they would have been busy during daytime "office hours" and so he would have had the First Class public rooms to himself. The two evenings were probably better when the H&W men also relaxed a little.

If I had been in WvdH's position, I would have browsed the Second Class library or got one of the more senior stewards to regale me with stories of past voyages. But I expect given the social norms of the day, WvdH himself would not have done that.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Harold Sanderson was there, too.
This is incredible. I confess that up to now I had never heard of Harold Arthur Sanderson. But obviously, he was a passenger from Belfast to Southampton in his capacity as a VP of International Mercantile Marine. Could he have been performing a similar supervisory function for IMM just like the Guarantee Group for H&W?

Either way, it then looks like Wykoff van der Hoef had some company for a chat over cigars and drinks. They were in the same "Upper class middle aged men" group and would have been socially compatible.

But unlike WvdH, Sanderson left the Titanic in Southampton and did not return for the maiden voyage.

But one thing I don't understand. On Sanderson's ET bio it says that he was the sole passenger from Belfast to Southampton, which cannot be right if WvdH was also there. On Wykoff van der Hoef's ET bio it says the same thing but that he was the sole paying passenger. Could that mean that as VP of IMM, Sanderson did not have to pay for his passage?
 
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Thomas Krom

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Mr. Sanderson was on-board as the representative of White Star Line during the Titanic her sea trails, just as Thomas Andrews Jr was on-board to represent Harland and Wolff. Just as the members of the guarantee group, Mr. Ismay, Mr. Ismay his secretary Mr. Harrison, his valet Mr. Fry and Mr. Reuchlin of the Holland America Line he had a complimentary ticket.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Mr. Sanderson was on-board as the representative of White Star Line during the Titanic her sea trails, just as Thomas Andrews Jr was on-board to represent Harland and Wolff.
That's what I thought (as mentioned above) when I looked up the credentials of Sanderson just now. Therefore, the mention on ET bio that he was the only passenger of the Titanic from Belfast to Southampton might have to be rephrased. Sanderson was a similar (if not the same) kind of "passenger" as Thomas Andrews or William Parr ie, there in his official capacity. Wykoff van der Hoef on the other hand was an independent businessman with no direct connection to Harland & Wolff, White Star or IMM as far as I am aware. That and since he was the only Belfast boarder with a Ticket Number and Fare makes WvdH the only bona fide paying passenger on that delivery trip. (Thomas Andrews had a ticket number and cabin but no fare mentioned while Harold Sanderson had neither, as far as I could see)
 

Arun Vajpey

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It's been corrected... that entry must be 20+ years old!
Does this look right?
It looks more than right! Thank you.

Am I right in thinking that Harold Sanderson, who was there on behalf of IMM and Francis Carruthers for the Board of Trade would have been present mainly on an official supervisory capacity and would not have had a great deal to do during the delivery trip, unlike Edward Wilding or Thomas Andrews & his Guarantee Group?
 
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