St Ives Times


One of the many links with the west country and the disaster is Mr Samuel Rule, chief bathroom steward, who comes from an old seafaring family resident in Hayle. Now an elderly man, Mr Rule was in his early days a hand on board a coasting vessel, which regularly traded between Cornish ports, Plymouth and Runcorn. He was in the service of the White Star Line Company for thirty-six years, and had made his home in Liverpool, where his family have grown up. Mr Rule mentioned that he had an older brother who was still living in Hayle and being apprised of his home coming made the journey to Plymouth to meet the 'Lapland'. He found his way to the docks only to find his way to the docks barred and guarded by policemen. He explained who he was, but was refused admission. The gentleman remained on watch for some hours, and at length his rescued brother was escorted to the gate by police, and the pair were permitted to talk between the bars, eventually the old man left, but had not proceeded far before the tax on his strength caused a collapse. After treatment he recovered, and returned to Hayle. Mr Samuel Rule, said that on the terrible night of the disaster he had gone to bed, being timed for duty early in the morning. 'I was asleep when the cessation of the engines woke me' he told a 'Mercury' representative. 'The shock was so great, and I heard no crash, but the engines were going full speed astern, and I knew something was wrong. I got up and went upstairs, but as there was no commotion I went back and dressed. A few minutes later a messenger came down and said we all had to leave our cabins, that all had to be served with lifebelts, and the cabins were to be locked. I assisted in getting up some provisions and when I got on deck I saw they were preparing to lower the boats. Though placed on the boat deck , the provisions were never used. Mr Murdoch was in charge of my side of the ship - the starboard - and he directed the getting away of the boats without confusion. I helped to lower the boats - all the odd numbers were on my side - and I was told to get into No. 15 as one of the crew. She was the last of the starboard boats to go down the from the davits. The other fellows who were not wanted to man the boats watched us; they were standing by with lifebelts on.' Was your boat full? 'Yes about sixty-five of us. Before we left the ship there were several appeals as to whether there were more women and children, but none came. I saw women refuse to leave their husbands, and some decided to stand by the ship evidently under the impression that she would not sink'.


'I saw Mr Ismay on the deck working like a n—r. We loaded down to the gunwales and we could pull just about half a stroke. When we were being lowered away we nearly came down on No.13 boat, which was in some difficulty in consequence of coming in front of an aperture through which water was being pumped. We shouted to the men above 'Hold on,' and they did. I tell you, there were cool heads above, although they knew the last boats were leaving them.' Did you see her go? Yes. We were five or six hundred yards away from her, her propellers were far above water. Just before she was lost sight of there was a rumbling, and I believe the boilers and engines must have broken away and crashed through the forward bulkheads. In my opinion everyone of the engine-room staff and firemen of the watch on duty must have been lost. There were some brave men down there that night. They kept the lights going until the vessel was under water abaft the bridge. we watched the lights go out section by section as she went down by the bows.'


Asked as to the whereabouts of the captain at the end, Mr rule said, 'Just after I came on deck the first time he was walking back from the engine room, where I heard he had been to consult with the chief engineer, and I heard from one of the firemen that he would have been saved, but he would not let them pull him out of the water. I believe practically the whole of the watch on duty died at their posts. 'I think the worst part of the disaster was just after the ship went down. The groans were awful, and of course we could do nothing. I shall never forget it. 'Some of my greatest friends have gone down,' added Mr Rule, with brimming eyes. 'Many of us have been a lifetime together, and I feel the pick of the White Star fleet has been lost. During most of my service I have been on ships with Capt. Smith, of course, starting when he was a junior officer. A better man never walked a deck. His crew knew him to be a good, kind-hearted man, and we looked upon him as a sort of father.' We also understand Mr Rule was offered a berth on the Company's 'Olympic' - whose sailing was abandoned - but he has refused. He intends having a rest ashore for a while: adding that his family were hoping he would give up the sea life.

Related Biographies:

Samuel James Rule

Relates to Place:

Hayle, Cornwall, England


Encyclopedia Titanica (2011) HAYLE MAN'S NARRATIVE (St Ives Times, , ref: #12638, published 12 May 2011, generated 5th May 2021 05:14:10 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/hayle-mans-narrative.html