Wyckoff Van der Hoef


Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
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?
I would not have thought so, not with a Board of Trade official and VP of IMM also present. They would not have wanted to start with someone breaking a rule even before the proper Maiden Voyage started.
 

Philip Hind

Editor
Staff member
Member
Sep 1, 1996
1,767
76
323
England
I wonder if there is a primary source somewhere that shows that he did actually pay for his ticket. If he was able to book as the Belfast Newsletter reported (although they may have been using the term loosely), then what was to stop other people doing so. Perhaps he just knew someone in authority and hitched a lift?
 

Thomas Krom

Member
Nov 22, 2017
221
366
108
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?
The only thing Mr. Sanderson did outside observing in the name of the White Star Line was putting his signature, as well as Thomas Andrews Jr his signature, on the certificate of the Board of Trade.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
I wonder if there is a primary source somewhere that shows that he did actually pay for his ticket.
It says on WvdH's ET bio that he paid £33 10s for his First Class ticket. But whether that was in Belfast when he first boarded or when he returned to the ship in Southampton is hard to tell. Obviously, the fare covered his trip up to New York.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
Do we know why Wyckoff Van der Hoef was in Belfast at the time?
It says here on ET that Wykoff van der Hoef left for Europe on 26th March 1912 on a trip that was a combination of business and pleasure. His visit to Belfast is thought to have been due to his desire to explore his Irish ancestry (despite the Dutch sounding name). A lot of Americans visiting the 'old country' in those days tried to search for their roots.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,070
216
138
I take your point of an American visiting the 'old country' in those days tried to search for their roots.
Do you think Titanic was his plan beforehand?
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
I take your point of an American visiting the 'old country' in those days tried to search for their roots.
Do you think Titanic was his plan beforehand?
Hard to tell but on balance I would have thought not; with the coal strike and all that, it would have been difficult to plan ahead with precision.

My guess is that Wykoff van der Hoef happened to be in Ireland at the time and discovered that the Titanic was due to sail out of Belfast on 2nd April 1912. He took his chance, perhaps contacted a few officials at H&W and White Star and requested them to accommodate him. They probably allowed him thinking that it would be an interesting publicity gimmick. I am sure that if the Titanic had not sunk and reached New York safely, WvdH would have given a press interview specifically about the delivery trip.

Come to think of it, did he do that in Southampton or elsewhere in the UK? He had almost 6 days between arrival and departure in Southampton and the opinion of a "proper" First Class passenger about the ship even before the start of its actual Maiden Voyage would have been something of a small news scoop for an enterprising reporter.
 
Last edited:

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,070
216
138
I am trying to understand why was he was given permission to board the ship, when the ship has not been given a Board of Trade passenger clearance certificate whilst in Belfast. Was there a backhander? As I see Smith would have the last word and had ever right to ordered him off the ship to?
 

Philip Hind

Editor
Staff member
Member
Sep 1, 1996
1,767
76
323
England
This seems to suggest he did book a legitimate passage.

Screenshot 2021-06-12 at 22.48.58.png

Belfast Telegraph - 15 Apr 1912
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
Looks like Whiting & Telford must have been local shipping agents in Belfast and they officially booked Wykoff van der Hoef from Belfast to New York.

I am trying to understand why was he was given permission to board the ship, when the ship has not been given a Board of Trade passenger clearance certificate whilst in Belfast. Was there a backhander?
I doubt if they would have resorted to backhanders and such for just one passenger. I think it is more likely that WvdH put in a request to Harold Sanderson who then, in his capacity as an IMM official, obtained a nod from Francis Carruthers of the Board of Trade. Probably all a part of the "Old Boy Network".
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,594
983
388
65
But still leaves the question whether captain Smith had the final say in the matter or was he been over ruled by his bosses?
My guess is neither. Other than the fact that taking on a passenger on a delivery trip bent the BoT regulations, it was a relatively small matter for all concerned. Captain Smith, Harold Sanderson, Francis Carruthers etc would have had other things occupying their minds just before the delivery trip and it would have been easier for all of them just to nod to Wykoff van der Hoef's request than to start with spoiled public relations by waving the rule book at him. After all his presence on board would not have affected anyone else's schedule during the trip and for his part, WvdH in all probability just enjoyed the First Class amenities and minded his own business.

Something similar had probably happened on other new ship delivery trips and no outsider was any wiser. If the Titanic had not struck the iceberg and sunk, Wykoff van der Hoef would not have been singled out from other passengers and would have been forgotten after a few weeks.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads