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Posts Tagged ‘Titanic Third Class Passengers’

The crew kept the ship running smoothly and it took a cast of thousands to keep this huge vessel running smoothly.

The 322 stewards and twenty-three female crew aboard performing more than fifty-seven different functions in the dining saloon’s of each class, public rooms, cabins and recreational facilities. Today we would refer to these men and women as a waiter, waitress, maid, or attendant.

Each class had their own bath and bedroom stewards. These included keeping the areas were supplied, assisting passengers with dressing and serve passengers that desire to eat in their room. These poorly paid crew members were responsible for anywhere from three to twenty five rooms depending on their clientele. Separate stewards were responsible for maintaining clean bed sheets, bathroom towels and table linens.

There were sixty-two individuals working in the galley and kitchen. These consisted of chefs, cooks, bakers, butchers, and scullions {dishwashers}. Thirteen of these crew members survived.

The Purser’s Office employed four clerks to deal with the passenger’s needs and requests.

Below ship the engineers and coal men worked to keep the engines running smoothly. Their sleeping conditions were cramped bunk rooms.

Above deck Captain Smith and his officers were on duty to steer and navigate the vessel.

Below is just a few of the crew that worked on this beautiful ship:

Captain Edward John Smith had been working for the White Star Line since 1880. He quickly rose through the ranks to become the favorite Captain of many first class passengers. He was known as the “Millionaire’s Captain” and some passengers would only sail with him. He was regarded as a “safe captain” in 1903. He captained such ships as the Majestic, Baltic and Adriatic, all the largest ships of their days. When Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, launched in 1911, Captain Smith was put in charge. He had a reputation as the one of the world’s most experienced sea captain. He was in charge of the Olympic when it collided with the HMS Hawke on September 20, 1911. The repairs on Olympic pushed back Titanic’s maiden voyage almost three weeks. Most reports stated that Captain Smith planned to retire after Titanic’s maiden voyage. However according to Wikipedia the Halifax Morning Chronicle reported on April 9, 1912 that “Smith would remain in charge of Titanic “until the Company (White Star Line) completed a larger and finer steamer.” On the night of April 14, 1912 he attended a dinner party in honor of George Widener. Stories vary as to how Captain Smith spent his final moments, but he went down with his ship. His body was never recovered. Edward J. Smith left behind a wife and young daughter. A monument was erected to him in Lichfield, England.

Violet Jessop was the oldest of nine children. She began working on the Olympic in October 1910 as a stewardess. She was aboard when the vessel collided with the HMS Hawke. She was on the Titanic’s maiden voyage in the same capacity. She was ordered into lifeboat 16, where she cared for an infant. She said the next morning on the Carpathia a woman grabbed the child without saying a word. After the Titanic sinking, she served on the Olympic and Britannic. She was aboard the Britannic in 1916 when the ship hit a mine and sunk in the Aegean Sea. She said she was sucked under and later pulled into a lifeboat. She continued working for the White Star Line and later the Red Star Line, where she took two around the world cruises. At some point she wrote her memoir which were not published until after her 1971 death.

Harold Bride and Jack Phillips were the two British wireless telegraphists that worked tirelessly after the Titanic collided with an iceberg. Phillips was from Surrey, England. He began work for the Marconi Company in 1906 and worked on several ships for both the White Star Line and Cunard Line. Bride was the youngest of five children from London, England. He began working for the Marconi Company in 1911. On April 11, the day the ship sailed, the duo celebrated Philips 25th birthday. On Saturday there was equipment failure and it took all day for them to get it back up and running properly. Reports show Philips delayed in transmitting an iceberg warning to the bridge, at 9:30pm, that could have prevented this disaster. Philips sent out CQD and SOS messages while Bride ran messages back and forth to the Captain. Bride reported that Phillips continued working after Captain Smith released them at 2am. Both men were swept overboard and swam to overturned lifeboat B. Phillips did not survive, and Bride said he’d most likely exhausted himself earlier. Bride survived and assisted the wireless operator on the Carpathia. He had to be carried off of the Carpathia due to injuries to his feet. He continued to work as a Marconi officer aboard ship vessels and died in 1956.

William Murdock was on the bridge during the collision. He worked diligently to help load the lifeboats. He had sixteen years maritime experience behind him. He served as First Officer on the Maiden Voyage. The body of the Scotsman was never found.

Harold Lowe was from Wales. He claimed to run away at fourteen and begin a life at sea. The Titanic was his first trip on the North Atlantic. He was put in lifeboat 14 to help row. He later gathered five lifeboats together and tied them to one another, as he redistributed the passengers. He took the only lifeboat that returned to look for survivors in the water. He picked up four survivors, one of which died in the lifeboat. He remained at sea and joined the Royal Naval Reserve during WWI. He died in 1944.

Charles Lightoller was from Lancashire, England. He went to sea at the age of thirteen and by 1895 survived a cyclone, shipwreck and fire at sea. He briefly left the sea life for other pursuits but soon returned. He served as Second Officer on the Maiden Voyage. He helped load the lifeboats. Once in the water he saw for Collapsible Boat B and stayed upon it all night. He was the most senior surviving officer to survive. He served in both WWI and WWII British Navy. He died in 1952.

Frederick Fleet was a lookout for the Titanic when she hit the iceberg. He’d been at sea for nine years by the time of the Titanic disaster. He reported “Iceberg Right Ahead” to the bridge. He helped load the boats, survived and continued working on the sea until 1936. He died in 1964.

Charles Joughin was the chief baker that survived the cold 28 degrees of the Atlantic because of his alcohol level. At the time of the sinking he and some other chefs were filling the lifeboats with food and supplies. By all accounts he refused a lifeboat for himself, although he helped others board and threw deck chairs overboard. At some point he found time to consume a considerable amount of spirits. By all reports he stepped off the bow as the ship went down and into the water where he remained for over three hours. His testimony said he swam and treaded water until he was pulled into a lifeboat after daylight. He died in 1956.

Musicianssee my article on these heroes

There were five postal clerks, two American and three British. The five clerks worked to save the 200 bags of registered mail as the hauled the to the upper decks. None of these men survived.

There were twenty five engineers and ten electricians and boilermakers aboard ship. These men were the highest paid of the crew and none of them survived. These men worked feverishly after the collision to keep the ship afloat as long as possible. These men had also been battling a fire in Boiler Room 6 for most of the voyage. There were apparently 163 stokers to keep the boilers running. Only a handful of the stokers, trimmers and greasers survived. A memorial was erected to these men in Liverpool, England. PBS is currently running a very interesting special about these men and the work called “Saving the Titanic.

First Class, Second Class, Third Class information

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Third class passengers were in the steerage. They were primarily immigrants moving to the United States and Canada for a better life. Third class consisted of diverse groups of nationalities and ethnic groups, although the largest number of passengers were British, Irish or Scandinavian. Other countries represented included Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Lebanon, Syria and Hong Kong. Passengers ranged from those traveling alone, to single moms traveling with their children {most were going to join their husbands who were already settled in their new homeland} to large family groups.

A third class ticket ranged from seven to forty pounds, which would be approximately $700 today. Children’s tickets were three pounds {about $300 today}. Depending on their port of departure, some tickets also included the price for rail travel.

I was surprised in my research to discover that third class had automatic flushing toilets, while first class did not. The reason being most “third class passengers were unfamiliar with indoor plumbing and may not remember {or understand} the need to flush the toilets themselves”.


Third class life was a lot simpler than what the first and second class passengers were enjoying. Third class passengers had a simple berth which was shared with other passengers, along with a smoking room and general room.

Third class passengers had to make their own fun. Children would have played on deck and as represented in the popular 1997 film, it is very possible that an impromptu dance took place.

Meals on the Titanic were very simple for the Third Class, but succulent compared to what these passengers might be familiar with on land. Third class only had one course that was served. The menu found for the night of the sinking consisted of soup, roasted pork, two or three vegetables, pudding and biscuits. Looking at the menu it seems this is the noontime meal {compared to the large meals being in the evening for the First Class and Second Class}. Third class would enjoy tea in the midafternoon with beef and biscuits. Later in the evening coffee was served with a soup and some biscuits.

Before boarding the vessel Third Class Passengers were given a health inspection to check for disease, lice and other infectious infections. The gates were present but they were there to prevent the third class from spreading disease to the upper classes.

Third class was the group hardest hit by the disaster and experiencing the greatest loss of life. The reasons for this are numerous, including but not limited to: first and second class given more importance, many did not understand the true magnitude of the disaster right after the collision with the Titanic, at least some of the third class gates remained locked, and many of the passengers that were non-English speaking did not understand.

Sadly there were some families that were completely lost in the sinking. I am including more information about a few of these below:

The Goodwin Family were from Fulham, England. Frederick was an electrician, and married to Augusta. They had six children. The family were moving to New York, where Frederick’s brother procured him a job in a power station. The entire family was lost.

The Sage Family were from London, England. John George Sage married Annie Elizabeth Cazaly and had nine surviving children by the time they sailed on the Titanic. The family was relocating to Jacksonville, Florida where John planned to grow pecan nuts. Some reports say that daughter, Stella, reached a lifeboat but got out when the rest of her family could not join her. The entire family of eleven perished. Only the body of son, Will, was recovered.

The Andersson Family was from Sweden. Johan and Alfrida had five children. Traveling to Stanton, Iowa. The family was traveling with Alfrida’s sister, Anna Danbom and her family. A traveling companion, Anna Nysten, was the only survivor of the group of eleven.

Milvina Dean was the last survivor of the Titanic upon her death on May 31, 2009. She was only nine weeks old at the time of the sinking. She was traveling with her parents, Frank and Georgette, and brother, Bertram. The family was immigrating to Wichita, Kansas where her father had a cousin. Bertram was separated from his mother and sister and not reunited until they were on the Carpathia. Her father perished in the disaster and the family returned to England in May. Milvina did not know she’d been on the Titanic until her mother told her when she was eight years old. She worked for the British Government during WWII. Her brother, Bert, died on the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in 1992.

Frank Goldsmith was traveling with his parents, Frank and Emily Alice. The family was from Kent, England and immigrating to Detroit, Michigan. Emily was the only one of nine children that had not moved her family across the Atlantic. The father, Frank, went down with the Titanic. Frank lived near Tiger Stadium, where the crowds were so loud they reminded him of the sounds made as people perished in the water. He never took his children to a baseball game because of this. Emily died in 1955. Frank died in 1982.

Rhoda Abbott, better known as Rosa, was the only woman to be plucked out of the cold Atlantic waters that survived. She was travelling with her two sons, Roosmore Edward {age 16} and Eugene Joseph {age 13}, and they were returning from a trip to England. The family had just retired on the night of April 14 when they were awakened by the scraping sound on the side of the ship. The seriousness of the situation was not realized until a steward came around thirty minutes later. The group reached deck as the last of the distress rockets were fired and the last lifeboat was being loaded. Rhoda refused to enter the lifeboat, realizing her sons would not be allowed. All three of them were swept off of the deck and her motherly instinct fought to keep her sons near her. Rhoda resurfaced but her sons did not. Someone reached out and pulled her into Collapsible boat A from the water. Rhoda and the other occupants stayed in the swamped, water filled boat until Officer Lowe arrived later with Lifeboat 14. Rhoda struggled to comprehend her loss and suffered with health problems due to the cold water for the rest of her life. She later remarried but was unable to have more children. She died in 1946.

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