Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

Titanic Video: The Crew Members

Video Hero Image: Titanic's Crew posted by Titanic Honor & Glory, October 2018.

Video Hero Image: Titanic's Crew posted by Titanic Honor & Glory, October 2018. Vintage Digital Revival - www.TitanicHG.com; Facebook Titanic: Honor & Glory. GGA Image ID # 1108087cd3

Titanic's Crew is a short 9-minute 23-second film that explains the division of the crew members into the Deck, Engineering, and Victualling, and provides insights in the duties of the crew members, and points out that the Chief Engineer and Pursers were also officers of the ship. You'll understand the roles Quartermaster, Boatswain, Lookouts, Master of Arms, and others.

Video Still Image: Wireless Room on the RMS Titanic from the Documentary Film by Titanic Honor & Glory entitled "Titanic's Crew."

Video Still Image: Wireless Room on the RMS Titanic from the Documentary Film by Titanic Honor & Glory entitled "Titanic's Crew." GGA Image ID # 110818326a

Transcript of Video

00:00
let's talk about the crew of an ocean
00:02
liner on the older steamers the crew of
00:05
these ships were much smaller the first
00:07
oceanic class in the 1870s had crews of
00:11
between a hundred and a hundred fifty
00:13
but as the ship's grew obviously the
00:16
size of the crew did to the Titanic
00:19
demanded a crew of nearly nine hundred
00:21
of those nine hundred only twenty-three
00:24
were women at the very top of the chain
00:26
of command is the captain he is the
00:29
commander of the entire ship and
00:30
whatever he ordered was what went on the
00:34
Titanic we have Captain Edward John
00:36
Smith who had been a seasoned captain
00:37
for several decades the White Star Line
00:40
didn't officially use the term Commodore
00:42
which was the term for the lead captain
00:45
of an entire company but if they had it
00:48
would have been EJ Smith an interesting
00:50
tidbit passengers loved captains they
00:53
still do they're like celebrities when
00:54
you're on a ship it was always an honor
00:57
to spend time with them or dine with
00:59
them tour the bridge or just sit down to
01:02
a private party which they sometimes
01:03
held in their quarters Captain Smith
01:06
himself did indeed interact with the
01:08
passengers quite often especially in
01:09
first class on the night of the Titanic
01:11
sinking he attended the party with the
01:13
white nurse in the art restaurant but
01:16
these social obligations which were
01:18
actually part of the job tended to
01:20
distract captain's from their ship
01:23
duties on top of this the role of
01:25
captain was becoming overwhelming for
01:28
one person as the ship's grew larger as
01:30
a result the Cunard Line White Star
01:33
Line's competing company adopted a sort
01:36
of second captain entitled him the staff
01:39
captain this freed up the lead captain
01:42
from needing to deal with
01:44
micromanagement and freed him up for
01:46
larger picture commands as well as his
01:48
social obligations this was started soon
01:51
after the Titanic disaster in fact it
01:54
might have been sparked by the
01:55
suspicions that the captain was
01:58
distracted or negligent somehow I don't
02:02
know the exact year I know it was soon
02:04
after the Titanic in 1912 but I also
02:06
know that it was prior to 1915 when the
02:09
Lusitania went down because the
02:11
Lusitania on her fateful voyage
02:13
had a staff captain as well immediately
02:15
under the captain is the chief officer
02:18
who was almost like a second captain as
02:20
well on the Titanic we have officer
02:23
Henry Wilde the first officer was next
02:26
followed by the second and third all the
02:29
way up to the sixth on the Titanic we
02:31
have first officer William Murdoch
02:33
second officer Charles Lightoller third
02:35
officer Herbert Pittman fourth officer
02:38
Joseph Boxhall fifth officer Harold Lowe
02:41
and sixth officer James Moody on deck we
02:44
have you guessed it the deck crew
02:47
quartermasters were sailors with extra
02:50
training who were trained to steer and
02:52
man the ship while the officers in
02:55
captain gave the commands the
02:57
quartermaster's did the physical
02:58
steering quartermaster is sometimes
03:01
abbreviated as Q M Titanic had seven of
03:08
these and I believe this was the largest
03:10
group of a given rank to have entirely
03:13
survived then there were the other deck
03:15
crew bosons who had the command over the
03:18
seamen and then the seamen themselves
03:21
who did the day-to-day work on the ship
03:23
including operating machinery moving
03:26
things and other odd jobs assigned by
03:28
their superiors there were also the
03:31
lookouts who would sit up in the crow's
03:32
nest and kept a sharp lookout for other
03:35
ships obstacles and anything else that
03:38
might be seen on the seas all six of
03:41
them on the Titanic survived the sinking
03:44
as well
03:44
the master-at-arms was essentially the
03:47
ship's sheriff he along with the
03:49
officers had the ability to make arrests
03:51
and was responsible for the ship's
03:53
security the two masters at arms on the
03:55
Titanic as well as chief officer Wilde
03:58
had the exclusive access to the
04:00
Titanic's weapons Titanic's officers
04:04
didn't quite stop there the Purser's
04:06
were considered officers as well and a
04:09
purser is in command of the ship's
04:10
passengers and cargo
04:12
traditionally they were in charge of
04:14
handling the ship's money but by the
04:16
ocean liner era the purser had become
04:19
the main go-between officer for the
04:22
ship's crew and the passengers he was in
04:24
charge of making sure the passenger
04:27
were happy and comfortable this brings
04:29
us to what was called the Vittel encrypt
04:31
which the purser was in charge of in
04:33
regards to passenger interaction and
04:35
comfort there were many other positions
04:37
that needed to be filled by crewman
04:39
doctors and surgeons were operating the
04:41
ship's hospital for any sick passengers
04:43
and crew
04:44
there were also stewards stewardesses
04:47
bellboys special attendants store
04:50
keepers clerks switchboard operators
04:52
translators and even barbers to serve
04:55
the 1,300 passengers and 900 crew aboard
04:59
the ship Titanic's victualling staff was
05:01
almost half of the entire crew with 421
05:05
men and women talk about service this is
05:08
not even including the 66 staff members
05:11
of the ala carte restaurant on B deck of
05:13
those 66 only three survived the chief
05:17
engineer was also considered an officer
05:20
and he was in command of the engine
05:22
rooms and the operations that powered
05:24
the ship on the Titanic we have chief
05:26
engineer Joseph Bell under him were
05:28
several other engineers Titanic had 25
05:31
engineers all of whom were lost during
05:33
the sinking all eight electricians were
05:37
also lost alongside them all trying to
05:39
keep the ship's power on for as long as
05:41
possible which is why we see the lights
05:43
burning up until the very last moment
05:44
which you don't see on other ships the
05:47
power is usually one of the first things
05:48
to go we hear about firemen and Stoker's
05:51
these refer to the same job they
05:54
shoveled the coal into Titanic's boilers
05:56
and Titanic had around 175 of these
05:59
Stoker's 73 trimmers were tasked with
06:03
carting the coal from the coal bunkers
06:05
to the firemen they were called trimmers
06:07
because they had to be cautious about
06:09
where they took the coal from taking too
06:12
much coal from one side resulted in the
06:15
ship becoming unbalanced they had to
06:18
keep the ship trim in their work
06:21
trimmers were the least paid crew on
06:23
Titanic 33 greasers also kept the
06:27
machines and engines oiled and
06:29
lubricated I just listed off 240 for
06:33
engineering staff of the Titanic of all
06:35
of them only around 70 survived the
06:38
sinking there are a few other crewmen
06:40
who were not officially part of
06:41
Titanic's crew it was easier more
06:44
practical and cheaper for the White Star
06:46
Line to subcontract these jobs out to
06:49
highly-trained professionals and bring
06:52
them in and have them fill these jobs
06:54
Titanic carried the most advanced
06:56
wireless station on the seas even
06:59
significantly more powerful than the
07:01
wireless apparatus on her sister ship
07:03
the Olympic and unlike most other ships
07:06
which only had one telegraph operator
07:08
Titanic employed two who were able to
07:11
keep watch around-the-clock chief
07:14
operator John Phillips and junior
07:16
operator Harold bride were not White
07:18
Star Line employees but employees of the
07:21
Marconi company Titanic carried the
07:23
prefix RMS which stood for Royal Mail
07:26
ship
07:27
she held a contract with the British
07:29
Royal Mail service
07:30
she had a post office in her hold which
07:32
employed five postal workers two of them
07:35
worked for the British Royal Mail and
07:37
three of them worked for the United
07:39
States Postal Service it's traditionally
07:42
believed that these were Titanic's first
07:44
five victims there were also nine
07:46
members of the guarantee group on board
07:49
who were officially employed by Titanic
07:51
ship builder Harland and Wolff they were
07:54
under contract to sail on the ship under
07:56
the command of ship builder Thomas
07:58
Andrews and their duties were to fix any
08:01
problems with the ship's construction
08:02
during the voyage if something wasn't
08:05
installed right they fixed it if
08:07
something broke because of poor
08:08
craftsmanship they fixed it all nine of
08:11
these men including the chief builder of
08:14
the Titanic Thomas Andrews gave their
08:16
lives during the sinking to keep the
08:19
ship afloat just a little bit longer
08:21
another group of crew members who you
08:23
may be surprised to hear were officially
08:24
labeled as second-class passengers is
08:27
the ship's orchestra nine of these
08:29
crewmen performed in two separate groups
08:32
throughout the ship but they were
08:34
contracted through the CW and F n black
08:38
company in Liverpool under Wallace
08:41
Hartley the band master and first
08:43
violinist the ship's orchestra played
08:45
until the last and were all lost in the
08:47
sinking Titanic screw was hit harder
08:50
than any of the three classes on board
08:52
it suffered the highest fatalities many
08:55
of them stayed behind voluntarily to
08:57
keep the ship afloat as long as possible
08:59
hopefully now you understand a little
09:00
bit more about their different roles the
09:02
different titles and their different
09:04
duties in the operations of the Titanic
09:06
and other ocean liners

Return to Top of Page

RMS Titanic Video Documentaries
GG Archives Collection

Updates and Social Media