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Sadly this discussion is limited by the available data. The basis of this author's research is Daniel Klistorner's excellent cabin assignements which first appeared in 2004; this in itself is based heavily on the incomplete 1st class passenger listing found on the body of steward Herbert Cave (although copies were also found on other bodies). Naturally, in the many years since Klistorner compiled his data, some more information on cabin data has been discovered and this is noted below.
Naturally, this essay is very graphics intensive; an unfortunately necessary evil if one is to place the survivor's recollections in their proper context of location. The graphics of the plans have been scaled to allow stairs etc. to line up, and also so that one can compare survivor's recollections in the same location on adjacent decks; alas, this requires the reader to scroll up and down, and back and forth at times. This is an unfortunate artefact of the size of the images and the amount of data that has been collected ... Locations have been colour coded and relate to rooms and areas mentioned in the text boxes. There is no graphic for the Orlop Deck due to the absence of any data for this deck.
But when it comes to cabin assignements, we are still left with enormous gaps. In 1st class, many people's cabins are unknown; in the other classes, there is hardly any data at all. And placing the stewards in their correct bunk on E deck causes some problems as we shall presently see.
Naturally, we are also limited for other reasons, the most important one is that not all survivor's accounts were available to this author; if you know of any that I have missed, please email me. Furthermore, the large casualty to survivor ratio obviously means that not all recollections of the collision are open to scrutiny. Also, many people slept through the impact, and this again reduces the possible data even further. Further confounding this research is that, in some instances, the locations of people are ambiguous (e.g. the firemen had two quarters, on D and F deck). Then there are those cases where survivors gave puzzling accounts; as an example, researcher Ioannis Georgiou points out the story of 2nd class passenger Ellen Walcroft. In a letter to "The Maidenhead Advertiser," which appeared in their April 29th 1912 edition, she says that she retired to her cabin with her friend, Clear Cameron and was not asleep long "when suddenly a crash came and I was nearly thrown out of my berth." However, Cameron was still asleep and heard nothing; she certainly was not tossed asunder like her friend - or if she was, it failed to rouse her. Although we do not know the exact location of their cabin, the differences in their perception is striking - as is the mention of being thrown from the berth, which very few (mostly dubious) accounts speak of. Certainly, such a strong reaction so far aft (where 2nd class cabins were located) of the collision point seems doubtful. On the other hand Cameron's recollections should be noted; she wrote in a letter dated 21st April, "We retired to bed at the usual time, 10.30 and as we were falling rather tired, soon into bed and fast asleep and the next thing I heard was "Clear, what's that?" I woke up and said "Oh, nothing, I suppose the lads off to bed" "No" says Nell, "I was nearly thrown out of my berth", "listen" I said, "the engines have stopped, what can it be?"
But there is still a preponderance of recollections and interviews to record what people experienced - and where they were when the iceberg and the Titanic came together.
Where possible, the source of the interviews are provided; but Titanic researchers' own collections have been a huge benefit in this study. To give one example, many of the private accounts and letters mentioned below come from George Behe's invaluable, highly recommended "On Board RMS Titanic."
The General Arrangement plans appear courtesy of Bruce Beveridge and can be purchased here.
|3rd Officer Pitman (in his cabin) - At the US Inquiry, Pitman said, "there was a sound that I thought seemed like the ship coming to an anchor - the chain running out over the windlass" and it is this that woke him up. He said that the collision, "gave just a little vibration. I was about half awake and about half asleep. It did not quite awaken me."
2nd Officer Lightoller (in his cabin) - At the British Inquiry, Lightoller said that, "There was a slight jar followed by this grinding sound. It struck me we had struck something and then thinking it over it was a feeling as if she may have hit something with her propellers, and on second thoughts I thought perhaps she had struck some obstruction with her propeller and stripped the blades off. There was a slight jar followed by the grinding - a slight bumping...it flashed through my mind that possibly it was a piece of wreckage, or something - a piece of ice had been struck by a propeller blade, which might have given a similar feeling to the ship." The collision was not violent and only lasted a few seconds he stated.
Quartermaster Alfred Olliver testifed at the US Inquiry, where he said that he "was just entering on the bridge [on the port side] just as the shock came. I knew we had touched something" and that "The sound was like she touched something; a long grinding sound, like. It did not last many seconds."
4th Officer Boxhall said in London that "there was not much of a shock to feel"; in America he said that it was "A slight impact...It did not seem to me to be very serious. I did not take it seriously." At this later inquiry, he said that the impact was so slight it did not stop him in his walk to the bridge. In 1962, Boxhall elaborated slightly: "I was about half way between the Officer's Quarters and the Bridge when the crash came ... and I didn't break my step. She was doing Full Speed and it didn't break my step."
Quartermaster Robert Hichens was at the wheel and said in America that, "during the time [that] she was crushing the ice, ... we could hear the grinding noise along the ship's bottom." At the London inquiry, he said, "I felt the ship tremble, and I felt rather a grinding nature along the ship's bottom." Soon after the collision, Captain Smith emerged from his quarters and asked "what was that?" so evidently he saw the iceberg pass by, or felt or heard the impact.
1. The locations of Olliver and Boxhall are only approximate. Olliver obviously had a clear enough line of sight to see the pointed top of the iceberg on the opposite side of the ship as it drifted sternward. Boxhall said at the US inquiry that he was just approaching the Bridge and was "almost abreast of the captain's quarters" when the impact occurred. In London, he said that he had come out of the officer's quarters when he heard the three bells and the collision was a moment or two later. In a 1962 BBC Interview, he said that he was actually sitting in his cabin having a cup of tea, and immediately got up when he heard the bells.
2. Although not technically not on the boat deck, the recollections of the two crewmen in the crow's nest should be recorded. In America, Fred Fleet testified that there was "not much" jar to the ship, just a slight grinding noise; it did not alarm him and he thought it was a narrow shave. He said that the ship slightly listed to port just after the collision; he agreed that "the blow came beneath the surface of the water and caused her to shift." At the British Inquiry, he said that there "was such a slight noise" and said that the collision struck him as "nearly serious but not quite." His companion, Reginald Lee only appeared at this latter inquiry; "The ship seemed to heel slightly over to port as she struck the berg ... There was a rending of metal [right away] ... You could hear that from where we were ... It seemed to be running right along the starboard side."
|The First Class Smoking Room was the
haven for many people at 11.40; Hugh Woolner said of the collision; "there came a heavy grinding sort of shock beginning far ahead of us in the bows and rapidly passing along the ship and away under our feet" ("The New York Sun" of 19/4/12) and in his testimony to the US Inquiry, he related that "We felt it [the collision] under the smoking room. We felt a sort of stopping, a sort of, not exactly shock, but a sort of slowing down; and then we sort of felt a rip that gave a sort of a slight twist to the whole room."
Woolner's companion was Mauritz Björnström-Steffanson (interestingly, some accounts put him in "the cafe"). An unddated newspaper from 1912, repeated in "The Story of the Wreck of the Titanic" by Marshall Everett says, "It was not a severe shock. It did not throw any one from his seat; rather it was a twisting motion that shook the boat terribly." The apparent lack of awareness of a serious calamity is repeated in "The Toronto Daily Star" (19/4/12): "At the time of the collision a Mr. Woolner and myself were seated in the cafe. There was only a slight jar, and we thought nothing of it until we heard the excitement on dock [sic-deck]." In the New York Tribune, April 19, 1912, Björnström-Steffanson stated, "I was in the smoking room of the Titanic at 11:45 Sunday night with Hugh Woolner, and we were just sitting up with for a late smoke, in evening dress, when the crash came. It shook the whole boat, and we rushed out on the deck." Steffanson also told "The Paper Trade Journal", "There was a jarring, grating noise, and the ship trembled from stem to stern and to her topmost deck."
Spencer Silverthorne stated ("The Daily Northwestern" 19[?]/4/12) that, "When the crash came I said: 'We've hit something,' and went out on the starboard side to look. None of us was alarmed. It occured to me that we might have bumped some small craft." A hand-written article (pre-1955) notes that, "At 20 minutes of twelve I sat reading when I felt a jar which shook me in my seat but which was not nearly as severe as one would suppose for the damage which was done. The vessel shook for a moment and we could feel her slackening speed." This correlates nicely with his interview with Walter Lord: "At 11:40 there came a bump, bump along the side of the ship - not enough to upset glasses, but enough to jolt the chair."
Adolphe Saalfeld said in a letter that there was a "slight jar felt which for a moment made us think [of] some breakage [of the] machinery."
In "The Newark Evening News" of 19th April 1912, it was reported that "Mr. [Henry] Blank was enjoying a cigar ... when there came a jar. The shock was very slight so far aft and no one paid much attention to the incident. He said he had felt worse jars to the ship when her propeller had jumped out of the water."
In an unnamed 1912 newspaper, William Carter said, "At exactly 17 minutes of 12 o'clock we felt a jar and left the room to see what the trouble was outside."
|On the Grand Staircase
William Sloper related that "suddenly there was a lurch and a creaking crash; the boat seemed to shiver and keel over to port" ("The Hartford Times" of 19/4/12). Another newspaper ("The Hartford Courant" of 19/4/12) reported, "I was on companionway [to his room] when the ship seemed to suddenly lurch to the left side, so I had to grab the railing. There was a slight creaking noise and a jar. It could by no means be called a crash." "Ship To Shore" (1984) reports also that he recollected that, "Suddenly the ship gave a lurch and seemed to slightly keel over to the left." (In "The Life and Times of Andrew Jackson Sloper", written by his son, it was claimed that he was observing a notice board in the A deck
foyer when the collision occurred and he ran outside to see the iceberg).
A-34 was the room occupied by the Dodges. Dr.Washington Dodge gave an address in which he said, "The shock to the steamer was so slight that many of the passengers, who had already retired, were not awakened thereby. My wife and I, however, were both awakened by the shock to the vessel." In other accounts he said "We had retired to our stateroom, and the noise of the collision was not at all alarming. We had just fallen asleep. My wife awakened me and said that something had happened to the ship" ("The San Francisco Bulletin," 19/4/12) and also "We went to bed and were awakened about 11:40 by a jar which gave me the impression that a blow on the side had moved the entire vessel laterally to a considerable angle" ("The San Francisco Bulletin," 20/4/12).
|George Rheims testified at the Limitation of Liablity hearings in 1913 that upon leaving the lavatory, he "felt a slight shock." In a letter to his wife on April 19th 1912,
he said that he went to his cabin at 11.00 PM and "felt...a strong shock, and heard a noise that sounded like steam escaping, it was dreadful."
A-20 was occupied by Lady Duff-Gordon. She testified at the British Inquiry that she was awakened by the collision (she woke her husband up in A-16). In "The Denver Post" of April 19th 1912, she stated that, "I was awakened by a long grinding sort of shock. It was not a tremendous crash, but more as though someone had drawn a giant finger all along the side of the boat." In her autobiography, "Discretions and Indiscretions" (1932), she wrote, "I was awakened by a funny rumbling noise. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. It seemed almost as if some giant hand had been playing bowls, rolling the great balls along. Then the boat stopped and immediately there was the frightful noise of escaping steam."
|A-11 was the cabin of Edith Rosenbaum; in many accounts she said that upon reaching her room she experienced a slight jar, followed by a second, and then a third which was strong enough for her to reach out to the bed post.|
1. George Rheims 1913 testimony adds to the list of cabins to which a person can be assigned - A-21, assuming that his memory can be trusted. In 1913 he admitted that his memory had been affected; certainly his claim that he saw the iceberg upon leaving the 1st class male lavatory is suspect as there would be cabins obscuring his view. It is not clear in his 1912 letter to his wife where he was when the impact occurred.
2. In the accounts above, Sloper described how he was in the lounge and went down the stairs, ostensibly to don a hat and overcoat from his room, indicating that he was berthed below A deck. Daniel Klistorner tentatively places Sloper in A-12, with good reason as one can seen in his Encyclopedia Titanica article.
3. It is odd that Edith Rosenbaum felt three jars, the last one of which forced her to reach for support, when Fourth Officer Boxhall, practically directly above her, states that the collision did not even break his step.
4. Helen Candee's room can perhaps be tentatively placed on A deck. In an account on Charles Pellegrino's website, she said that, "I had been given a cabin on the deck with the lounge" and she also said in "Sealed Orders" that after the collision she ascended one deck to reach the boat deck. However, in the former account, she described that after meals and hearing the ship's "excellent orchestra," she "ran to my room so conveniently near for the daily rest that I call my life-saver." Since the band played in the reception room after meals, is she hinting at a room on D-deck? Regardless, her accounts of the collision are interesting: in the Pellegrino letter, she writes, "At that moment a shock. A shock of shocks! It made a picture in my mind of our ship striking on the top of a mountain under the sea. No other than Mt Ararat which seemed to rise again after centuries had gone. It had not been heard of since Noah, but here it was again. With the blow I was knocked off my balance, and would have fallen had I not caught in time the tall post which I clasped in both arms." In "Sealed Orders" she says, "she [the ship] shuddered with horror in the embrace of the northern ice. Twice, from bow to stern, she shook with mighty endeavor to crush beneath her the assailant." Many survivors talked of experiencing not just one blow to the ship, but two or three.
5. Edith Rosenbaum said that the vacant cabin directly opposite hers was assigned to her luggage. Taken literally, this would be A-7, but this was assigned to James Clinch Smith; nearby A-9 was the room of Paul Chevé while A5 was George Goldschmidt's. A clue was found by Don Lynch in an excerpt from an interview with Gracie in an April 1912 edition of The New York Sun. Lynch says that this says that Clinch Smith upgraded but thinks Gracie was exaggerating, and that Smith simply had a nicer room than the Colonel. However, it is conceivable that Smith was moved; Rosenbaum claimed to have some sort of "affection" with Ismay, and furthermore, when she boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg, she had such a presentiment of doom that she sought out Mr.Nicholas Martin, the General Manager of the White Star Line Paris Bureau. She was told that she could leave the ship but her baggage would have to remain on board. He did say however, "I will make a special concession. We will give you a large stateroom next to your own room where we will put your trunks and boxes, and then you will feel happier, and you can keep an eye on them." Did Ismay help an old friend and reallocate a better room to Clinch Smith, his original room being taken over by Rosenbaum's luggage?
Whatever the truth, undoubtedly Rosenbaum was on A deck as she says her room was on the same level as the lounge. In "A Pig And A Promise Saved Me From The Titanic" she says that her room was on A deck and overlooked the promenade, and that her two rooms were almost the furthest forward on that deck at the end of a small corridor. However, she did say in the 1958 account that her room had a bath which doesn't sound right.
6. Edith Rosenbaum also says that after the order for lifeboats she made her way from her room to the lounge, where she passed the open door of a friend's stateroom, in which she saw a bulldog that he had purchased in France. This is probably Robert Daniel and his dog Gamin de Pycombe; however, Edith says that "I do not remember seeing him afterwards, and I learnt that he was lost" - but Daniel was saved. Assuming the rest of her recollection is correct, this would put Daniel's room aft of her room, on the starboard side, although technically she wouldn't actually pass an open door as the stateroom entrances were in corridors of the main passageway - unless Daniel was in a room adjacent to hers, but this seems unlikely given the known room allocations for that area. For completeness, Daniel told "The Times" (20/4/12), "I was in my cabin dictating to the stenograph when the ship struck the berg. The shock was not violent."
|In the Second Class Smoking Room ,
2nd Class Steward James Witter told Walter Lord, "Then suddenly there was a jar, the ship shuddered slightly and then everything seemed normal, my first impressions were that we had shipped a heavy sea"
Also in the room was passenger Edward Beane. In "The New York Evening Journal" of 19/4/12 he relates how "There was a sudden jolt." Charles Whilhems's account appeared in "The New York Times" of April 21st: "A party of four of us had been smoking and playing cards in the second cabin smoking room when the shock came ... There was a man named Fox, a Texas ranchman, one other man, and myself. We felt a slight jar, and hastened to the deck. Even as we did so, we saw the iceberg, huge and white against the dark blue sea, go whizzing past on the starboard side of the ship, just clear of the stern. We returned immediately to the smoking room, and finished our game of cards. By that time we could hear many voices on deck, and again went out to learn what had happened."
|In B96/98, The Evening Post (Frederick, MD) of April 19th, 1912 reports that Mrs Lucile Carter said, "The first I knew of the accident was a tremendous thump which nearly threw me out of my berth."||In the port Parlour Suite, J.Bruce Ismay told the inquiries that he was asleep and was awakened by the impact (At the US Inquiry, he says that he presumes that the collision awoke him.)||B-36 was the cabin of Helen Ostby. Her account in "The Rhode Island Sunday Magazine" of 15/4/62 states that, "I had just dropped off to sleep when I was awakened by a jar that felt about as if you were in a car that scraped along the side of a tree."||B-28 - Martha Stone gave her account to "The Cincinnati Enquirier" of April 20th 1912: "I had gone to bed when the crash came, but I was not asleep. It was not a terrific crash at all. I have travelled extensively, and it was no worse than is often caused by some trivial accident to the machinery." "The New York Tribune" of 20th April has the following: "The shock of the collision with the iceberg was slight at best and in cabins at a distance from the point of contact was probably unnoticeable. In my own cabin it was barely a jar, but I was not resting easily and I awoke."
B-22 - Mrs Catherine Crosby gave a deposition to the US Inquiry, where she said, "I had not retired long when I was suddenly awakened by the thumping of the boat. The engines stopped suddenly."
B-20 - Albert Dick's experience of the collision was given in "The Calgary Herald" of April 30th 1912: "Mr Dick had not fallen asleep but was reading when he felt the shock, which was not very severe." He also said in "The Manitoba Free Press" (20/4/12): "Mrs. Dick and I had retired and were reading in bed ... The shock was not very great, it was a sort of grinding with a noise like low thunder."
B-18 was the cabin of Mrs Ida Hippach and her account appeared in "The Chicago Tribune" of 22/4/12 thus: "We had gone to sleep Sunday night when we struck. The shock of the collision was a mild one. My daughter did not wake up until after the collision when the roar of the escaping steam ... reached us." In another newspaper (unknown) in 1912, Ida said, "In fact, the impact was hardly noticeable. The gigantic liner seemed to quiver and shake, as though alive and uncertain of its course."
|Under the After Bridge, Quartermaster George Rowe watched as the iceberg drifted alongside the port side. At the US Inquiry, he said that he "felt a slight jar." Four decades later, in a letter to Walter Lord, he said that he "I was struck by a curious movement of the ship ... it was similar to going alongside a dock wall rather heavy...The engines were going astern by this time [ie when the iceberg was seen.]"||In the Cafe Parisien , a card game was in progress. One of the participants, Pierre Marechal, gave an account which appeared in "The Manchester Guardian" on April 20th: "We heard a violent noise similar to that produced by a screw racing. We were startled and looked at one another under the impression that a serious accident had happened. We did not, however, think for a moment of a catastrophe..." Alfred Omont was also playing the game in the cafe: he said in a written statement that he felt "a shock" at 11.40pm and that he had crossed the Atlantic many times and that the shock was not a great one, thinking that it had been caused by a wave.
In the restaurant office, cashier Ruth Bowker was at work. Her brother told a gathering (which was reported in "The Observer" (Cheshire) of May 18th, 1912 that "she felt a slight shock, and then a curious grating noise."
|B-81 , was the stateroom of Mrs Emily Ryerson. At the US Inquiry, she gave a deposition, where she says that, "At the time of the collision I was awake and heard the engines stop, but felt no jar." At the Limitation of Liability the following year, she simply said, "I felt the ship stop - the engines stop."||In the starboard Parlour suite , was the Cardeza party. Mr Cardeza said, "I had gone to bed but had not turned on my light, when I felt the collision." ("The New York Sun" 27/4/12)||B-49 was the cabin of the Bishops. Helen Bishop told the US Inquiry that, "My husband awakened me at about a quarter of 12 and told me that the boat had struck something."
B-45 - John Snyder wrote to his father that, "We were both asleep when the boat hit. I don't know whether the bump woke me up or I awoke when Nelle [his wife] spoke to me." Nelle was reported in an unnamed newspaper, "We were asleep in our cabin when we were aroused by a grating sound at the side of the boat."
B-39 was the cabin of Miss Hedwig Frohlicher. Walter Lord's notes of her his 1955 interview includes the following: "Suddenly woke up, feeling the ship bump. Half-asleep, she could think only of the white lake ferries at Zurich, landing a little too hard against their piers. Said to herself, half aloud, "Isn't it funny...we're landing!" (A letter she wrote to her brother on April 18th, 1912 states that "Suddenly at four minutes to 12, I woke up for a moment [and] even forgot my seasickness."
|B-3 was the cabin of Elizabeth Robert.
Her account, as published in "The St.Louis Times" of April 19th 1912 was as follows: "The crash of the ship against the iceberg was so violent I was thrown out of my berth."
B-5 was the berth of Miss Elizabeth Allen. She told "The New York Times" of 19th April 1912, "The first crash came at 11.40 P.M. I am sure of the time." She also told "St Louis Globe-Democrat" of 24th April, as likening the impact to "when a small boat runs over a sand bar."
In "Services" was steward Alfred Crawford. At the US Inquiry, he said that, "I heard the crash, and I went out on the outer deck and saw the iceberg floating alongside." At the London interrogation, he affirmed that he felt the shock.
1. I have used Daniel Klistoner's placing of Mrs Emily Ryerson in B-81. Her US Inquiry deposition says that she was "in the large cabins on the B deck, very far aft." He points out that after boarding, Ismay gave the Ryersons an extra room and an extra steward; he notes that a steward would have been allocated rooms from B81 forwards, and this points to the Ryersons occupying B-77, 81, the small servant room B-79 and the new room B-83. The placing of Mr and Mrs Ryerson in B-81 is hypothetical with Daniel suggesting that their children were in rooms on either side of them.
2. Elizabeth Robert's account of being thrown from her berth should be treated with caution. A dubious detail in "her" newspaper account says that soon after the collision, she heard shouts of men and screams of women and that she was swept along by a rush of passengers; a few seconds later order was restored. This is not borne out by other survivor's statements.
3. Miss Allen's statement of "The First Crash" tantalizing hints of those survivor's accounts which mention multiple "jars" or concussions to the ship, like Edith Rosenbaum's stories.
4. Although not germane to this discussion of survivor's descriptions of the collision, we can place stewardesses Katherine Gold and Annie Martin in a specific location; in "The Bathurst Times" of 6/9/13, Gold said, "I heard Captain Smith come down to the room of Mr. Bruce Ismay - managing director of the company - which was only a few feet away from mine." Although it is not clear from her various accounts what she was doing at the time of the impact (she is variously described as reading or asleep), there was indeed a stewardesses berth not far from Ismay's suite - opposite cabin B-58, and slightly aft of the Parlour suite.
5. Vera Dick claimed in "The Washington Post" of April 19th, 1912 that she was on deck and was almost thrown from her feet by the shock of the collision. This account makes unbelievable claims, such as hearing terrified screams soon after the strike, women rushing out with hardly any clothes on at all, and so on. Mr. Dick's account in "The Calgary Herald" says that, after the collision, he went up on deck to ascertain what had happened and then went back below and awakened his wife.
6. Piere Marechal said that, after the sensation of the collision, "through the portholes we saw ice rubbing against the ships sides." Alfred Omont's account is slightly different as he said that a few minutes after he felt the impact, he asked the waiter to put down the port-hole. They saw something white through the port and saw water there. When the port hole was opened they saw nothing but a clear night.
7. In 2014, a newly translated version of Miss Amelie Icard was made public; Icard was in B-28, with Mrs Stone (see above) and this "new" account, written in 1955 states that "three quarters of an hour" after retiring (towards eleven o'clock), "a terrifying shock threw us out of bed" which is in start contrast to Stone's description. Soon, upon being told by a passing officer that nothing was amiss, Icard claimed that she answered, "Listen to that loud noise, it sounds like water is flowing into the ship." Unless she had mistaken the roar of venting steam for the in-rushing water, it is very hard to believe this comment as she was was too high up in the ship. She may, of course, have been mistaken, but the comment about being thrown out of bed makes one suspicious of her recollections from all these decades afterwards.
8. Mrs Carter's comments about the collision "fly in the face" of other observations in the area. The full text of the article can be found here.
|C-148 was Karl Behr's room. He told "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle" (19th April 1912): "I felt a distinct jar, followed by a quivering of the boat. It was distinct enough to know we had hit something." In his memoirs, which form part of the Walter Lord collection, he notes "the ship suddenly trembled all over...my first thought was that we had broken a shaft."||In the Barber's Shop , barber August Weikman noted that, "When we struck there was a slight shock" ("The Daily Enterprise,"20/4/12).
C-86 - Mrs Mahala Douglas's affidavit for the US Inquiry noted that "The shock of the collision was not great to us; the engines stopped, then went on for a few moments, then stopped again."
C-80 - Eleanor Widener in an unknown paper of April 21st, 1912 said, "The shock was not very severe, but we went to the deck."
C-126 - Mr Elmer Zebley Taylor wrote a letter to his cousin, in which he states that the collision was merely "a grinding sensation." In his autobiography in the 1940s, he wrote, "Whether I was asleep or still awake, I do not know, but I was aroused by a very slight lift of the bed, followed by the engines stopping. I did not get up immediately, but speculated on the cause of stopping the engines. I said to my wife after five of ten minutes, 'I think I will go on deck, nose about and see if I can be of any assistance'." In the Atlantic City Daily Press of 20th April, he said, "“There was no crash and hardly enough of a jar to wake you up. I was in my berth and I knew [that?] something had happened." In "The Morristown Gazette," of May 1st, 1912, it is stated that, "I was in our stateroom asleep when the crash came. My wife was reading. The jar awakened me, but it seemed very slight. Mrs. Tayler [sic] was thrown forward and explained to me that she thought the boat had climbed up on something."
C-78 was the cabin of Daisy Minahan. At the US Inquiry she stated in an affidavt that, "the crying of a women in the passageway awakened me." But 12 days before, on 4th May, a different version appeared in "The Birkenhead News": "We had retired when there was a dull shaking of the Titanic, which was not so much like a shake as it was a slowing down of the massive craft."
|C-116 was the cabin of the Stengels. Charles Stengel told the US Inquiry that "...as I woke up I heard a slight crash. I paid no attention to it until I heard the engines stop." In the Newark Star of April 19th, he is reported to have said, "I had been sleeping but a short time and was having a terrible dream which I cannot fully remember when I felt a shock. This was no greater than one caused by the propeller coming above the surface of the water." Stengel told Dr.Blackmarr on the Carpathia, "About 12:00 Sunday night, we heard a grating noise which did not seem to be very strong."
C-68 - Mrs Marian Thayer's affidavit in 1912 remarked that, "The jar of the impact was slight, but prolonged."
C-66 - Jack Thayer wrote soon afterward the disaster that, "There was no great shock. I was on my feet at the time, and I do not think it [the shock] was enough to throw anyone down." In the Philadelphia "Evening Bulletin" of April 14th, 1932, he further notes, "When the ship struck, if one had a brim-full glass of water in hand the shock was so slight not a drop would have been spilled."
|C-104 - Major Arthur Peuchen told the US Inquiry that, "I had only reached my room and was starting to undress when I felt as though a heavy wave had struck our ship. She quivered under it somewhat. If there had been a sea running I would simply have thought it was an unusual wave which had struck the boat."||C-32 - Mrs Ella White testified to the US Inquiry thus: "It did not seem to me that there was any very great impact at all. It was just as though we went over about a thousand marbles. There was nothing terrifying about it at all." In the same cabin was Miss Marie Young; she told "The Washington Post" (21/4/12), "the ship struck with a grinding, wrenching force, followed by several violent bumps."||C-54 - Margaret Hays was reported as saying in "The San Francisco Call" of 19/4/12 that "The shock was comparatively light."||In the seaman's mess Edward Buley only noticed a slight jar as though something was rubbing along the hull (US Inquiry).
Outside the Seaman's mess - John Poingdestre felt a "big vibration," as if the engines were going astern (British Inquiry); Walter Brice recalled "It was like a heavy vibration. It was not a violent shock...it was not a bad jar" and "a rumbling noise" that lasted for about 10 seconds. (US Inquiry). William Lucas had just left the mess and he told the inquiry in London that he was nearly sent off his feet by the "hard shock" but did not pay attention to any sound. He did concede that it sounded "like a ship running up on gravel, a crushing noise."
Although he does not specify a location, Jospeh Scarrott was "about the forecastle head" and he told the inquisitors in London that "it seemed as if the ship shook in the same manner as if the engines had been suddenly reversed to full speed astern, just the same sort of vibration, enough to wake anybody up if they were asleep," and that he noted "just a trembling of the ship." In "The Sphere" of May 25th, he said, "[the collision] shook the ship from stem to stern. The shock of the collision was no so great as one would expect the considering the size of the iceberg and the speed the ship was going ... I was underneath the forecastle enjoying a smoke at the time...the shaking of the ship seemed as though the engines had suddenly been reversed to full speed astern."
|C-93 - Mrs Jane Hoyt said, "[we] were roused by a noise ... which seemed to indicate that the engines of the ship had reversed. I looked out of the stateroom window and saw something white passing by." ("The Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat" of 23/4/12).
C-91 - Mrs Edith Graham told the New York Times (20th April 1912), "we were awake, although in bed, when the iceberg was struck. It was a grinding, tearing sound. We didn't regard it as serious." The "New York Evening World", April 19, 1912 recorded her as saying, "The sound of the ship scraping against the iceberg continued for some time."
C-89 - Mrs Virginia Clark's story appeared in "The Anaconda Standard" of 26/4/12: "There was no shock from the impact that in any way startled me." She told Carpathia passenger May Birkhead ("New York Herald", April 19, 1912, and "St. Louis Republic", April 19, 1912) "she had just gotten into her bed when she felt this sudden jar and heard the engine‘s immediate stop with a death-like stillness. Thinking the engine was panting, she listened to hear it take up again. At that moment she looked at her window, the Titanic having huge windows instead of portholes, and instead of seeing the blackness of the night she saw a perfectly white background. She got up very calmly and not at all frightened and went to the window, and as far as she could see she saw this huge white thing. She had no thought of an iceberg - the thing was so huge she thought it a tremendous ship with its white bow at the window. She then went to her bathroom, climbed up on her tub and put her head out the porthole and there was nothing to be seen, which shows the rapidity with which the ship must have passed the huge white thing after it was hit."
C-125 - Elizabeth Shutes recalled, "Suddenly a queer quivering ran under me, apparently the whole length of the ship. Startled by the very strangeness of the shivering motion, I sprang to the floor."
|C-121 - May Futrelle related her account to "The Seattle Daily Times" of 22 and 23/4/12; "We felt a slight concussion." In "The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin" of April 29[?] 1912 she said "I had fallen into another sleepy spell when I felt a shock and a kind of shiver of the ship. It was so slight that it did not disturb anything but I sat up in bed. I heard the engines pounding below - reversing. For about twenty seconds, I should say, this pounding continued. Then followed another shock, scarcely heavier than the first." "The Daily Boston Globe" (17/4/1932) ran an interview thus; "I was reading the book when the crash came...it was not a great shock...where we were. If you have ever rowed a boat up on a beach and then got out to put it up higher, you know how it felt. You wait for a wave coming in, and give a yank. The pebbles run out with the wave and you wait, and with the next wave give another yank. That's exactly how it felt. Two distinct shocks." An interview was published in the UK "The People" newspaper on 21/4/12; "I was reading when there came a slight shock ... there were two distinct shocks; the first appeared to be lengthwise in the ship: the second was lateral. There was an appreciable interval between. I glanced at the clock, and it indicated 11.30, though I have since been told that the ship struck at 11.45"
C-77 was the cabin of the Countess of Rothes and Gladys Cherry. The latter wrote that "we were awakened by an awful sort of bang and the engines stopping suddenly." The Countess told "The New York Herald" (21/4/12), "I was awakened by a slight jar and then a grating noise."
|C-109 was the cabin of Doña Fermina Oliva y Ocana; in the Spanish newspaper "ABC" of November 3rd, 1959, she said, "I was entertaining myself a little by sewing my corset and as soon as I laid down on the bed, the ship stopped suddenly; what will be, will not be? 'It's nothing, it's nothing', said the employees."||C-101 - Mrs Caroline Brown's account appeared in "The Boston Daily Globe" of 21/4/12 where she says that she "was just retiring that night when we struck the iceberg. There was no sharp collision such as one might have expected under the circumstances, but rather a long shuddering and a grinding and scraping that all in my stateroom plainly felt. But there was no shock such as would throw one forward or down even had one been standing."
In the same cabin, Charlotte Appleton's story was related in "A Night To Remember" where it was said that she "...felt hardly any shock at all, but she noticed an unpleasant ripping sound ... like someone tearing a long, long strip of calico."
|C-27 - Mrs.Mary Fortune's story was related
through her son-in-law, H. C. Hutton; "Mrs. Fortune said that she was asleep in her cabin with her daughters when the collision occurred. She felt the great ship shiver violently." - "The New York Times," 20/4/12
C-53- Gilbert Tucker reported, "I was in bed and asleep when a bump, nothing more than the banging of a door or the dropping of a trunk in the next room, roused me." ("The Times Union," 19/4/12)
C-51 was the cabin of the famous Colonel Archibald Gracie. In his book, he reports that, "I was aroused by a sudden shock and noise forward on the starboard side, which I at once concluded was caused by a collision, with some other ship perhaps." In "The Outlook" of 27th April 1912, he said, "I was asleep in my cabin and was awakened by the noise of a collision with some object which I supposed to be a small boat! The jar amounted to nothing..."
|C-7 was the cabin of Caroline Bonnell. The relevant portion of her story is as follows: "[we] were lying in our berth half asleep when the blow came. It was terrific. For a second the whole boat just stood stock still in its swift tracks and then it gave a great shiver all through." ("The Decatur Review," 19/4/12) She also related her experiences in "The New York World" of the 20th April: "Miss Wick and I occupied a state room together. We were awakened shortly before midnight by a sudden shock, a grinding concussion. Miss Wick arose and looked out of the state room window."||In the Lamp Trimmer's room, Samuel Hemming was roused by the impact and looked out of the porthole but saw nothing, surmising it to be ice as he could see no vessel nearby to attribute to the shock.|
1. The only addition to Daniel Klistorner's list is Dr. Henry Frauenthal and his wife: according to his article in "American Medicine" (May 1912) they were in cabin C-88.
2. May Futrelle's 1912 accounts should be treated with some caution; for instance, she confuses decks, the occupants of her lifeboat and the actions they performed, seems to place a piano out on the boat deck (an impossibility) and hearing "the heavy clang of a gong - the signal to close the water-tight compartments" (which seems unlikely given her cabin location and the fact that no-one else remembered such a sound that night). It should also be noted that the determination of the Futrelle's as being in C-123 is not certain; as Klistoner notes, in her account of the disaster, Futrelle wrote that she crossed the corridor to go to the Harris's cabin; Mrs Harris in "A Night To Forget" says that the Futrelle's were "opposite" hers, which is not possible. Incidentally, Futrelle related in 1955 that she and her husband were taking a turn around the deck and were on the starboard side at the time of the crash!
3. Although the Countess of Rothes told "The New York Herald" of April 21st, 1912 that she and Gladys Cherry were in cabin "No. 77 on deck B" there are indications that she, like others, got the deck confused. In some accounts, Lambert Fletcher Williams is reported as being in the vicinity of their cabin [he was originally in C-128 but moved to C-102] and that he helped them to locate their life belts, which were under the bed. Klistorner's excellent detective work on the styles and furnishing of the cabins leads him to conclude that this refers to cabin 77; there was no available location otherwise where the belts could be stored.
4. In prior incarnations of this page, Daniel Kistorner informed me that the Astors were in C-17/C-21. He says, "Mrs Astor also said that her nurse had a cabin near hers [Caroline Endres in C-45] and Peuchen said he spoke to a lady that had a cabin near the Astors. As Peuchen seems to have moved in Canadian circles, he is more than likely referring to the Fortunes here." Don Lynch has informed us that Astor's secretary, who booked the rooms, saved the deck plans and had rooms C-74 and C-78 [sic? 76?] circled. Also, Daisy Minahan in C-78 said she heard a woman crying in the corridor, and May Birkhead (of the Carpathia) said that a woman from Wisonsin was awakened by Mrs Astor crying. From these clues, it is likely that Minahan, of Green Bay, was this woman, putting her close to the Astor's - confirming that they were placed near her stateroom, and not forward in the ship.
As for what was experienced, Madeline Astor told W.H.Dobbyn, one of her husband's employees, that she was awakened by the shock, rather slight, and of the engines stopping. Her husband said it was nothing, and looking out of the porthole said there was ice about.
5. To show just how slight the collision was, and how subjective people's impressions were, one should mention Irene Harris's recollection. She was in C-83 and according to "The New York Times" of 3/9/69: "my clothes, which had been swinging on their hangers a moment before [because of the ship's engines], suddenly stopped swinging. "We didn't feel the impact with the fatal iceberg." Of course, she could have been too immersed in her game of double Canfield to have noticed the actual impact! Her recollections in "Liberty" magazine in April 1932 state the following: "I was facing the clothes-closet door. It was open, and I saw my dresses swaying to such a marked degree that I asked how fast we were going. He said he thought about twenty-four knots. 'How dreadful to make such speed among the - 'I had not finished my sentence when, without a jolt or any perceptible motion or sound, the ship stopped." Harris repeats that she did not notice the collision in "A Night To Forget", c.1962, although she notes the time of the collision (11.20) wrongly and her exclamation when the ship stops is different.
6. Violet Jessop wrote to Walter Lord on 20/3/1957 and signed off as "ex-stewardess of "C" deck forward" - which would put her in the room to the port corner of the No.5 and 6 boiler casing (for funnel No.1). In her memoirs, the editor John Maxtone-Graham says that Violet never identified the room that she or her colleague Ann Turnbull occupied, except that it had a double bunk, Jessop taking the lower one. However, there was no stewardess named "Ann Turnbull" on board and Jessop's story does not tally with that of Elizabeth Leather who is believed by some to be "Turnbull." In her memoirs, it is mentioned that, "At the end, my book closed, I lay lazily reflecting on many things, comfortable drowsy. Crash! ... then a low, rending, crunching, ripping sound as Titanic shivered a trifle and the sound of her engines gently ceased."
|D-56 was Lawrence Beesley's room. In his book, he wrote, "And then, as I read in the quietness of the night ... there came what seemed to me nothing more than an extra heave of the engines and a more than usually obvious dancing motion of the mattress on which I sat. Nothing more than that - no sound of a crash or of anything else: no sense of shock, no jar that felt like one heavy body meeting another. And presently the same thing repeated with about the same intensity."||In the Bakehouse, baker Charles Burgess noted that he and his colleagues had just had supper when they felt a slight shock, and all of them simultaneously exclaimed "Hallo! there goes a blade!" They took no further notice and went on working. ("The Daily Banner", 16/5/12).||In the First Class Dining Saloon, steward James Johnson was on night watch duty with a few others. He told the British Inquiry that they were "about the third or fourth table up." His recollection of the impact is that, "I did not feel much because we thought she had lost her wheel or something, and somebody passed the remark, "Another Belfast trip.""||D-36 - Miss Madeleine Newell: "The shock was not sudden, but was more like that of an earthquake." ("The Evening Post," New York, April 19, 1912)
D-30 - Mrs Mary Marvin's recollection was, "I was in our stateroom when the crash came. It was a grinding, ripping noise..." ("The New York Press," 19/4/1912)
D-28 was the cabin of Mrs Elizabeth Lines. Unfortunately her testimony at the Limitation of Liability hearings in 1913 amounted to an admission that she "heard" the impact; she does not provide any more detail. However, her daughter Mary did provide her account in a letter to a friend on April 16th, 1912: "First at a quarter to midnight my mother felt that the ship had received a terrible blow. She jumps from her bed and wakes me up ... then we hear the sound of steam escaping with a frightful hissing."
D-20 - Martha Stephenson later wrote that "I was awakened by a terrible jar with ripping and cutting noises which lasted a few moments."
D-40 - Mr Isaac Frauenthal told "The Globe Democrat" of April 20th [?] 1912, "I heard a noise that puzzled me. It was a long drawn out noise, much the same as you hear when a ferry boat bumps into her slip and rubs slowly along its walls. There was nothing specially alarming about it..."
D-8 - Antoinette Flegengeim was awakened at 11.45 by "a loud thump which shook the ship gently, followed by a long grinding noise. In ten seconds the commotion was all over, though." (See here),
|D-35 - Richard Beckwith's account to his
wife's brother included the statement that, "The bottles on the dressing table were not knocked over...so light was the shock..." Another account of Mr Beckwith's appeared in "The Hartford Courant" (19/4/12) as follows: "I was in the lavatory when I felt a scraping jar, a dull sullen sound that lasted about four seconds. It was no crash. I felt that we must have scraped an iceberg."
D-37 - Mrs Anna Warren ("The Portland Oregonian" of 27/4/12) stated "About 11.45, ship's time, we were awakened by a grinding noise and the stoppage of the vessel. Our room was on the starboard side of deck D, about 30 feet above the water and in line with the point of impact."
D-33 was occupied by Henry Harper. His account appeared in "Harper's Weekly" (27/4/12): "...[I was] awakened by a grinding noise that seemed to come from far below our deck. It was not a loud crash; it was felt almost as much as heard. But years before I had been in a ship that ran over a reef and was sunk, and I remembered that the impact and thrill then were so slight that I thought we were simply running over a fishing smack that bumped and scraped under our keel. So the moment I was awakened by the noise and heard the same sort of sound I sat up in bed and looked out of the nearest port."
D-31 was occupied by Eleanor Cassebeer. In "The Binghampton Press" of 29/4/12 she recounted the collision thus; "...I felt the full impact of the iceberg when we struck it... It sounded as if something were grinding and tearing away the very entrails of the monster liner." A letter to her son dated May 21, 1932 includes the following: "I had already prepared for the night and was brushing my hair before the mirror when I felt a slight vibration, and then I heard a long howl, just as if the "Titanic" was crying in pain. My wrist-watch indicated 11:44..."
D-45 - Walter Hawksford wrote to his wife on April 19th 1912 that "I was ... just dozing off when I felt a bump and then a long grinding noise."
D-19 - Edwin Kimball told "The Chicago Evening Post" (23/4/12): "It seemed to me like scraping and tearing, more than a shock. It was on the starboard side under our room, and the ice came in our port hole." "The Boston Post" of 20th April has the following quote, "I had just gone down from the smoke room to my stateroom and removed my coat and was standing in the middle of the room when the ship struck the iceberg. It seemed to me like scraping and tearing more than a shock. It was on the starboard side of the ship under where our room was located and the ice from the iceberg poured in our porthole." Kimball wrote in a letter to his nephew, "On Sunday evening I had just gone down from the smoking-room to my stateroom and removed my coat and was standing in the middle of the room when the ship struck the iceberg. It seemed to me like scraping and tearing, more than a shock. It was on the starboard side of the ship under our room, and the ice came in our port hole." This was published in "Chicago Evening Post," of April 23, 1912.
D-21 - It was reported in "The Oak Park Oak Leaves" newspaper of April 27th that, "Mrs. Kenyon afterwards told me that the shock of the impact with the iceberg was very loud and heavy, but immediate danger was not expected."
D-17 - in an unknown 1912 newspaper, Alice Leader said, "We - that is, my travelling companion, Mrs Swift, and I - had gone to our stateroom on deck D for the night when we felt a jar. It was so slight; however, that we paid little heed to it until some one in the stateroom next to ours called out that we had struck an iceberg and pointed to bits of ice which had fallen on the ledge outside the porthole."
Margaret Swift said ("The Brooklyn Daily Eagle," 19/4/12) that it was "An awful crash." In the "Newark Evening News" of April 19, 1912, Swift was recorded as saying, "... as Dr. Alice Lieder [Leader], my travelling companion, and myself were preparing to retire there came an indescribable wrenching, followed by a fearful recoil."
D-15: Mrs Emma Bucknell's account in an unknown newspaper is as follows: "I was awakened by the crash...when I went out into the corridor between our cabins [her maid?] I found pieces of ice on the floor. They had been forced through a broken port hole when the iceberg was hit." In another unknown paper she talked of the "jar and thunder and shock" of the collision." She also said, "To describe the hitting of the iceberg is difficult. The nearest I can come to that is to say that it sounded like a continuous and terrific peal of thunder mixed in with many violent explosions."
D-11 - Anna Hogeboom's story was related in "The Daily Home News" (20/4/12). The relevant portion is, "At 11:45 Sunday night we were awakened by a terrific crash on the side of the ship where our staterooms were. I called to my sister and niece to find out what it was. In going out to the corridor we found many ice crystals, which had come in through the portholes."
D-7: Miss Kornelia Andrews told the readers of "The Hudson Evening Register" (20/4/12): "...the crash came and we were all in bed. I rushed to my door and met Gretchen [Longley] coming from hers and ice crystals were all over her, having come in the port hole." In "The Newark Advocate" on the same date, she also said, "I rushed to the door and saw the ice crystals all over, they having come in through the porthole next to mine..."
1. Mrs Marvin's account should perhaps be treated with some caution; she also remarked upon revolver shots and other dubious details.
2. Although listed as unoccupied, cabin D-27 was explored during "The Ghosts of the Abyss" dives in 2001, when it was found that before the ship sank, someone had taken a drink from a water carafe and placed the glass back on a shelf. Who this was is currently unknown.
3. Although her diary indicates that she had a cabin on the starboard side of E deck, 2nd class passenger Hilda Slayter's mention of a watertight door control on the floor hints that she was actually on D-deck. A summarised version of her diary says that 'she heard a dull thump. She thought perhaps Titanic had hit a "wooden vessel."'
4. The determination of Antoinette Flegenheim's cabin comes from this article.
5. Stewardess Alice Prichard wrote on April 10th, "My Deck is W [sic] in the first class but I have to go such a way to the pantry. As I am writing this the band is playing. Just outside my room is the reception room. They play there 4 to 5 and 9 to 10." Although she gets the time of the musician's second session in the reception room wrong (it was actually 8-9.15pm, thereafter spending the next hour outside the 2nd class entrance), her letter would put her in the "stewardess" room at the starboard corner of the No.5 and 6 boiler casing for funnel No.1
6. As stated in another essay, Fred Seward and John Crafton may have been somewhere in the vicinity of D-20, occupied by Elizabeth Eustis and Martha Stephenson.
|The Confectioner's Cabin hosted chief baker
Charles Joughin. He was in his bunk and "felt the shock and immediately got up" according to his testimony at the British Inquiry.
In the room allocated for engineer's mess stewards was Cecil Fitzpatrick. The "Western Daily Mercury" of April 29th, 1912 summarises his experience thus: "On the fateful Sunday evening he was aroused from sleep by a sudden lurch of the vessel and the stopping of the engines. One of his mates inquired the cause, but was told it was nothing serious."
|Scotland Road was the location of the
dormitories for the ship's stewards, waiters, cooks, storekeepers and various miscellaneous staff. Unfortunately it is very hard to place these people in the correct rooms. 1st class steward Fred Ray talks of being in No.8 room with 28 in the room, mostly saloon stewards, but in later testimony he says that he was in No.3 room (perhaps the "8" became obscured into a "3" in the transcript?). Given that he talks of the forward end of the alleyway being flooded when he went down to fetch his coat, his room must have been aft of the doorway to the Grand Staircase foyer. In "The Daily Mirror" of May 1st, A.M.Baggott says that he was just falling asleep
in "No.5 peak" (sic?) which accommodated 38 stewards when he was "thoroughly aroused by a severe vibration of the whole fabric [of the bed?] which lasted probably about fifteen seconds."
2nd class smoking room Steward Jim Witter said he was in No.7 room, and that there were 32 in there. Saloon steward James Johnson was in room No.3, and he describes it as being half way between the companionway to the Grand Staircase and the door down to the engine room. Bathroom Steward Samuel Rule was in a room with a total of eight people including the linen keeper, smoke room steward, deck steward, lounge steward, 2nd bedroom steward, bathroom steward and himself; the next berthed cabin is twelve. This would, as he said, put his room on the aft part of E deck, forward of the chef's room. The problem in this case is that the plans drawn up by Bruce Beveridge show two rooms in this area, whereas the plans in the endpapers
of "Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy" show one room which corresponds with Rule's memory. Assistant store-keeper Frank Prentice says that he was sitting on his bunk talking to a friend "in the storekeeper's room when the collision occurred"; Encyclopedia Titanica says that 5 other storekeepers were in his room, and this sounds reminiscent of the room claimed for Rule, as can be seen on the Beveridge plans, except that Rule says that there were 3 people, including himself in the room at the time, and they were all turned in. Perhaps Prentice meant the room reserved for the butcher and assistant store keeper, slightly aft of Joughin's room? However, in an interview which appeared in "The Sunderland Daily Echo" on 30th April 1912, it was stated that he was in the storekeepers room with nine others.
Regardless, those who experienced the collision were unperturbed: Charles Andrews, Assistant Steward (US Inquiry) said that he "was wakened up by a movement of the ship...I thought something might have gone wrong with the engines." 1st class Dining Room Steward William Burke (in a room he believed contained 28, all table stewards with the exception of one assistant deck steward) said "When I first felt the impact I did not know exactly what to make of it. I thought probably she had dropped her propeller, or something." (US Inquiry). George Crowe, Saloon Steward, was just dozing; in America, he remarked "there was a kind of shaking of the ship and a little impact, from which I thought one of the propellers had been broken off." It was so inconsequential he did not think it would have woken him is he had been asleep. Henry Etches, bedroom steward was in a room of 19; he said in America "I was awakened by something, but I did not know what it was." John Hardy, the Chief 2nd Class Steward said (US Inquiry) that he felt a "slight shock." Fred Ray also said in America, that it was "A kind of a movement that went backward and forward. I thought something had gone wrong in the engine room. I did not think of any iceberg" - he was roused by the impact; in an interview with the BBC in 1958 he likened it to a train pulling into a station. William Ward, Saloon Steward said (US Inquiry) that he felt the shock "slightly." Edward Wheelton, 1st class steward remarked in America, "It felt as if it was the dropping of a propeller or something like that." 2nd class bath steward James Widgery testified (US Inquiry) that the noise woke him and that "it seemed to me like a grating." Likewise steward Edward Brown was also awakened by the shock but never thought there was any danger (British Inquiry). Bathroom Steward Charles Mackay was awake in his quarters situated at the afterend of the 1st class dining saloon; he said he felt the shock but that it was "not too severe" (British Inquiry). Samuel Rule was woken by the stoppage of the engines (British Inquiry). A classic example of how unimportant the collision seemed to be can be found in the British Inquiry testimony of 2nd class pantry steward Wilfred Seward: he was in his bunk, felt the shock and then went back to sleep!
Walter Nichols, the assistant saloon steward, told "The Brooklyn Daily Eagle," 19/4/12) that "I was awakened by feeling a bit of a vibration". 2nd class steward Jacob William Gibbons told "The Daily Sketch" of 1/5/12, that he "had just turned into the Glory Hole..and was hanging up my watch when I felt a sudden jar. The shock was very slight..." Frank Prentice recalled "I was in the storekeeper's room when the collision occurred, and did not notice any impact at all" (an undated edition of "Daily Telegraph"); in an interview for ITV c.1982 he said that "There was no fuss" when the collision occurred and he likened it to putting the brakes on a car and you gradually came to a halt. At about the same time, in a BBC interview, he recalled, "we came to a sudden stop...just like jamming the brakes on a car. There was no impact, no great impact, you couldn't feel it, just a bit of a shudder." Entree Cook Isaac Maynard was probably in the "12 1st class cooks" room. In "The Western Daily Mercury" (30/4/12), he is reported thus: "I was asleep at the time of the disaster, said Maynard, but the shock which aroused me was not a serious one. The engines stopped suddenly, but they never went astern." 1st class saloon steward Percy Keanes' story was reproduced in "Titanic Voices" : "Most of us were asleep ... I heard the impact, but the sound was in no way alarming, for it seemed to be nothing worse than a blade falling from a propeller." His recollections in "The Western Daily Mercury" of 30th April was thus; "the collision as being violent enough to awaken everyone in the Titanic who was asleep, though it partook of the nature of a prolonged trembling such as he had before experienced at sea when a vessel had shed a propeller." Benjamin Thomas was also a 1st class saloon steward and his story also appeared in the same newspaper: "I was lying awake in my bunk ... when the ship struck. She struck gently, and I thought so little of it that I was going to sleep again." First saloon steward Alexander Littlejohn described in "The Weekly Telegraph" (for Waltham Abbey, Chestnut & Districts, Friday 10 May 1912) how he experienced the collision: "I had been [in bed] some 10 minutes when I was roused by a shaking sort of noise. The whole ship seemed to shake; it was a similar shock to when the Olympic dropped a propeller blade." Gloryhole steward William Wright ("The Southend Standard" 23/5/1912) simply said that he was in his berth when the collision occurred and the shock of the impact awakened him.
|The Seamen's Quarters was also the location of the look-out's bunks. George Symons was awakened by a grinding noise, thinking that the ship had lost her anchor and chain, and it was running along her bottom (British Inquiry) and that it was "only a slight jar" (US Inquiry). Ernest Archer was also asleep and said in America, "I heard a kind of a crush, something similar to when you let go the anchor; it sounded like the cable running through the hawse pipe...no shock and no jar; just a grating sensation...it was more of a noise than a shock." Fred Clench was also asked in America about his recollection of the accident and he remarked that he was also asleep and was roused "by the crunching and jarring, as if [the ship] was hitting up against something." Also in America, George Moore noted that he had turned in "and there was suddenly a noise like a cable running out, like a ship dropping anchor. There was not any shock at all."||In the Trimmer's area was William Mclntyre. In "The Thrice-a-Week World" of April 22, 1912, he said that, "He was thrown from his bed by a "rogglin' row" of crashing ice under the vessel’s side, went back and turned in ..."|
|E-101 was the cabin of Edwina Troutt, Nora Keane and Susie Webber. Troutt wrote a letter (where she talks of hearing "an unnatural noise") and had her experiences featured in "The Bath Chronicle" (11/5/12) - "we heard an unnatural noise, also the sudden ceasing of the vibration, the engines being stopped." Webber's remarks about the collision were reported in "The Western Times" of May 13th where she says "an awful crash woke me." Keane's story appeared in "The Patriot" of April 20th, 1912, where all she says is "I felt a slight shock."||In The Electrical Store Room was greaser Thomas Ranger. He testified at the British Inquiry that "There was a slight jar [which] just lifted us off our feet."||E-50 was the cabin of the Harders. At
the US Inquiry, George Harder said, "I heard this thump. It was not a loud thump; just a dull thump. Then I could feel the boat quiver and could feel a sort of rumbling, scraping noise along the side of the boat."
E-44 was the cabin of the Silveys. Alice Silvey told the Duluth News Tribune (24/4/1912): "My husband and I had retired but were not yet asleep when we felt the jar of the collision. We did not feel it much ... "
E-34 - Margaretta Spedden's diary notes that "At 11:40 in the night we were awakened by a sudden shock, a grinding noise and the stopping of the ship's engines."
E-33 - In "The Cleveland Leader" (9/5/12), Mrs Edith Chibnall was quoted as saying, "I thought the ship had been struck by lightning when we dashed into the iceberg, so loud was the crash." But in "The Hastings and St Leonards Observer" 18/5/12 (via "The New York Herald") there is the following observation: "The impact was no so great as to throw passengers into a panic. "Miss Bowerman, the daughter, says that that neither she nor her mother thought that a serious accident had happened."
E-31 - Mrs Carrie Chaffee gave her recollections to "The Evening Tribune" (23/4/12): "The jar was enough to waken one but was not violent, as the mass of ice seemed to move under the impact. Then, as it [sic] under ledge ripped open the bottom of the ship, there was a noise as if a chain were being dragged along the side. I remarked to Mr.Chaffee that it sounded as if something were being done with the anchor chains."
E-28 - Emma Schabert wrote in a letter that, "At a little before twelve there was a mighty crash which awoke me."
E-26 - Laura Francatelli's letter to 'Marion' on 18/4/12 noted that she "felt a shudder." In letter to Mary Ann Taylor ten days later she said, "The collision shook me, as well as everything else in the room."
E-25 - James McGough provided an affidavit for the US Inquiry, but sadly all he says was that he was "awakened." In the "Philadelphia Evening Bulletin", of April 19, 1912, he said, "When the crash came I ran to the porthole. I saw the ice pressed close against the side of the ship. Chunks of it were ground off, and they fell into the window."
E-23 was the cabin of the famous Margaret Brown. In "The Newport Herald" of 28th and 29th May 1912, she says "I gave little thought to the crash that struck at my window overhead and threw me to the floor."
|E-8 - Norman Chambers testified at the US Inquiry thus; "At the time of the collision I was in bed, and I noticed no very great shock, the loudest noise by far being that of jangling chains whipping along the side of the ship." In his October 1912 account for "The Lawrencville Alumni Bulletin", Chambers said that before the sound of "jangling" chains, he felt a "slight" shock "as if we had run into floating timber, that I should not have been disturbed about it all." His wife told a very similar story in "The Syracuse Herald" (24 April 1912): "At 11:46 they noticed a curious grinding rumble, as though a heavy chain had been dragged the length of the ship in the hold. The engines stopped." In an unknown paper from 1912, she reiterates, "The shock was not so great as to cause us much consternation."|
1. Margaret Brown's comments about being thrown to the floor must be wrong, given the reaction of the others on the deck! The fact that she gave it little thought must strike one as being slightly odd.
2. Daniel Klistorner suggests that the Gibsons were in E-22 but we are not sure of this determination; all we know it that they were placed " near the elevator hall and not far from the staircase." With regard to her perception of the collision, Dorothy Gibson says, in "The New York Dramatic Mirror" of May 1st, 1912 that "No sooner had I stepped into my apartment than there suddenly came this long drawn, sickening crunch."
3. The "Cave List" puts Francatelli in E-36, but this room was actually allocated to the Spedden party. Francatelli herself remembers that after the collision, men started screwing down the watertight door outside her room - and there was a control panel in the floor directly outside cabin E-26.
4. Although Emma Schabert seems to indicate that she was on C deck (she talks of having room 28 "on the port side" (e.g. "New York Tribune" of 19/4/12) and being close to the Strausses suite which were rooms C-55 and C-57) researcher Craig Stringer has determined that she was actually on E-deck. In one account (which admittedly this author has not seen), steward Alfred Theissinger talks of having people on E deck under his charge; including the Taussings, Arthur Gee - and Emma Schabert. However, in other accounts, Theissinger also talks of being allocated cabins and people on decks B and C so it is difficult to assess his veracity; perhaps he had been allocated a different area on that specific shift? Caveat Lector.
5. Daniel Klistorner notes that "when Nora Keane was dressing and trying to put on a corset, Troutt took it and threw it down the corridor in their room ... which indicates they were in a more inboard 'L shaped' cabin." Indeed, Don Lynch remarks upon this saying that the corsets were thrown "down the hall leading to the porthole." Klistorner suggests that this indicates a cabin like E-100, 103 or 106, but as he says "Either way, this doesn't change the location drastically so her recollections are still useful when looking at that part of the ship."
6. Mary Coutts can be hypothetically placed on E-deck. In The "Islington Gazette and North London Tribune" of May 9th, 1912, she says "the deck [was] two stories up." If she meant third class space, which deck? The well deck (C) or the poop deck (B)? The former would put her on E-deck, the latter F deck. She writes that soon after the collision, she saw "foreigner all carrying their belongings ... up on deck." This sounds like the exodus of steerage men from third class areas in the bow, who made their way along Scotland Road to end up on E deck. Regardless of this, she said that she was awake when the ship struck and that "[it] was so slight I thought little of it."
7. Roberta Maoini, was probably on E deck in the 1st class corridor, like other servants; she also said that she was in a cabin near the Squash Court, says Daniel Klistorner; his best guess is E-11. Maoini said in "The Daily Express" of 1926 that, "After I had been in bed for about an hour and a half, I was awakened by a terrific crash, followed by the rending of metal, the rushing of water and the shouting of men." In a letter to Walter Lord, The Countess of Rothes said that Maoini reported to her that water was getting into her cabin. This was fairly early in the sinking (certainly before their boat - No.8 - was launched) which again points to her being on E deck.
8. Madeleine Mellinger's account says that she was in an starboard 2nd class cabin with two bunks, a wardrobe at the bottom of her bed and a couch under the porthole. The only room that matches this configuration is E-106.
9. Researcher Bob Godfrey says that Constance Willard was in E-9 but he cannot recall the source. If this is correct, we have a few stories from her. In one, she says that there was "a tremendous crash" followed by a "great trembling" and then quietness as the engines had stopped. In another interview she said she paid no attention to the impact!
|F-8 was the cabin of the Beckers. Nellie Becker said that "I was awakened by a jolt, and the engines stopped." ("The Madras Mail," 22/5/12)||In the "2nd Assistant Stewards" room, Joseph
Wheat told the British Inquiry that he was just about to turn in and that he "thought she had cast one of her propeller blades. It sounded to me like that."
In the "Female Turkish Bath Attendants" room, Annie Caton said that, "About eleven o'clock we were awakened by a terrible crash, and then an awful grating sound" ("The Hastings and St Leonards Observer," 4/5/12). Her companion, Maude Slocombe recounted in a filmed interview c.1956, "the thud woke us up," a recollection confirmed in an interview with Walter Lord, where she called it a "bump."
|In room 58 of compartment E, Anton Kink had a berth; he wrote a 20 page account of the disaster soon afterwards and it said, "At 11.45 we were awaken out of our sleep by a terrible blow and a loud clang. The entire ship came alive." In The Milwaukee Journal of April 24th, 1912, he said, "We slept well during the early night until the crash shortly before midnight. There was a crash like an earthquake, and the boat continued to quiver for a time, but we were not thrown from our berths."|
|F33 was Elizabeth Nye's cabin. In a letter to 20th Century Fox, when the 1953 movie "Titanic" was in pre-production, she recounted her experience thus: "I heard a loud scraping noise, the great ship shivered and stopped." In "The Folkestone Herald" of 4/5/12, she said, "we felt an awful jerk, and the boat grazed something along its side, and the sea seemed to splash right over the deck."||Outside the 3rd Class Pantry, steward Albert Pearcey later told the British Inquiry, "There was just a small motion, but nothing to speak of."||Victor Sunderland was in a room in "G compartment". In "The Cleveland Plain Dealer", of April 26, 1912 his story appeared: "A little before midnight we felt a slight jar and heard a noise similar to that a basket of coals would make if dropped on an iron plate." Also somewhere in "G" compartment was Olaus Abelseth. All he said, which was related at the US Inquiry, was that he "woke up" and his companion inquired what had happened.||Charles Dahl was, presumably in a room in "C compartment" (see the notes). In "The Manitoba Free Press", of April 29, 1912 his story appeared: "I was awakened by the ship crashing into the ice, I got up very confused. I did not know where I was for the moment, as I had been awakened from a very sound sleep."|
1. Daniel Klistorner's cabin list puts the Beckers in F-4, but they were actually in F-8; the Navratils were directly opposite them, in F4.
2. Eugene Daly said that he was in "compartment 23, Deck C" in "The Daily Sketch" of 4th May 1912. Presumably he meant room 23 in compartment C, which was on F deck? He says that two other men were with him in the room, however this was a 2 berth cabin (of course the other men could have been awake, chatting; there is nothing to indicate they were asleep in their bunks). Of the collision he notes, "I was in my bunk alseep ... a crash woke me up. It nearly threw me from my bed." He would have been extremely close to the initial point of impact.
3. Presumably, Charles Dahl was in "C" compartment. He said that after going on deck for a second time after the collision, "on being told that the water was pouring into "C" compartment I went back for my lifebelt." It is a matter for debate whether he would have returned to his cabin if he had been told water was entering another area of the ship.
4. 2nd Class Passenger George Harris says that his cabin was numbered 52, that he was 30 feet from the stern and that he had an outside stateroom with a porthole. The only room that matches this description is F-52. However, his account in the Stamford, Connecticut, "Daily Advocate" of April 19th says that he saw the iceberg from his window. This is impossible if he was in F-52 as this room was on the port side of the Titanic (and to be fair, the newspaper interview contains much that is doubtful).
5. "The New York Times" of April 24th reported that "Julian Pedro" (Julian Padron Manent) was in a cabin next to the Navratils. Unfortunately I know of no interviews in which he described the collision. However, "The Evening World" of 23/4/12 says that the Navratils were at the next table to his in the dining saloon.
|G-10 was the cabin of Berk Pickard, who testified in America. He said, "I first knew of the collision when it happened, about 10 minutes to 12. We had all been asleep, and all of a sudden we perceived a shock. We did not hear such a very terrible shock, but we knew something was wrong..."|
No data at present
|In the Turbine Engine Room, Greaser Frederick Scott was standing just against the door to the reciprocating engine room, on the starboard side. He told the British Inquiry, "I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong."||In the Reciprocating Engine Room, Trimmer Thomas Dillon later told the British Inquiry that he felt the collision "slightly."||In the aft starboard coal bunker of boiler room No.4, Trimer George Cavell recounted to the inquiry in London, "I felt a shock ... and with that all the coal round me fell around me... It did not have time to knock me over. The coal surrounded me before I knew where I was."||In boiler room No.6, Leading Fireman Fred Barrett simply told the British Inquiry that the crash occurred "two feet" from where he was standing. In "The Manchester Guardian" of April 29th, 1912 he says the water burst in "like big guns going off." Standing nearby, and fuelling the furnaces fireman George Beauchamp told the same inquiry that the collision was "Just like thunder, the roar of thunder."|
For completeness, this is what those firemen located in their quarters recalled: at the British Inquiry Alfred Shiers, in his bunk, felt "the rumble - the shock", but it did not seem much; the following year, at the Limitation of Liability hearings, he said that the collision was "A jar; the shake of the ship." Fellow fireman Harry Senior related his experience in the Liverpool "Journal of Commerce" (29/4/12): "I was asleep in my bunk at the time of the collision. I was awakened by the noise and between sleeping and waking I thought I was dreaming that I was on a train [or tram] which had run off the lines, and that I was being jolted about." Fireman Hurst told Walter Lord that he was awakened by"a grinding crash," and Jack Podesta told the Southern Evening Echo (27/5/68) that the crash sounded like "tearing a strip off a piece of calico - noting more, only a quiver. It did not even wake up those who were in a good sleep." Jon Thompson (New York World, 22/4/12): "We felt the crash with all its force up there in the eyes of the ship and my mates and I were all thrown sprawling from our bunks. It was a harsh, grinding sound, as if everything were being torn out of her." Frank Dymond (Western Daily Mercury 29/4/12): "Mr. Dymond had just looked at his watch, which indicated twenty minutes to midnight, when he suddenly heard a rasping sound. To give it in his own words, he said it was 'like a knife being drawn over a rasp'." Harry Oliver's account (Western Daily Mercury 29/4/12) was that "a crash" aroused him. In the Larne "Weekly Telegraph" of May 11th, 1912 fireman William Murdoch said that, "I was just preparing to go on duty about twenty-five minutes before midnight when she struck the iceberg. There was not a tremendous crash as reported in some of the American papers. The noise of the collision was of a dull, grating sound, and not such as to cause general consternation." Presumably he was in his quarters as he said he then went down to the stokehold. Charles Judd ("The Daily Herald", 29/4/12) said, "I was lying in my bunk when I heard the sound of the collision. It was like a log of timber hitting us. There was no loud noise, but just a bumping and a grating sound beneath the bottom."
As stated, it is to be noted in the plans that there are two rooms for the firemen, but Podesta's detailed account might give a clue as to where he was: "The few of us who were awake went out of our room to the spiral ladder of the No.1 hatch. We saw some men running up from the 12 to 4 room which was on the starboard side (about where the ship struck the iceberg). They must have been flooded out as we could hear water rushing into the forward hold." Did he mean "firemen" when he said "some men"? Their room on F deck wasn't exclusively on the starboard side. Or did he mean the greaser's quarters, which were on the starboard side of G deck? In he did indeed mean "firemen", he certainly seems to differentiate between their room and his own - which puts him on D deck. It would also be more likely that he heard the crow's nest warnings from D deck rather than lower in the ship. Ioannis Georgiou says the following were on the starboard D deck, 4-8 watch: Shiers and Senior. The 12-4 watch on F deck: Oliver, Thompson, Dymond, James Taylor, William Taylor (who was not very much disturbed by the collision); G deck port leading firemen - Hendrickson (who was not awakened by the shock) and Threlfall (who was also asleep).
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