A few weeks ago, I joined a team working on an index for late 19th century British merchant crew lists. I'm assisting in the transcription and my first assignment turned out pretty well. I was quite pleased! I got my second assignment yesterday. I'll be transcribing some crew lists belonging to a foreign-going ship which sailed between England and the Mediterranean.
My research is making a little progress. I enlisted the help of my dad in tracking down an old magazine article with a lovely photo of some of Titanic's deck crew. Thanks, dad!
You can see a copy of the photo on this German site. Nobody is officially identified, but you can see three Quartermasters in the middle row. They think the QMs on the left side might be brothers-in-law Olliver and Perkis. It's possible that QM Hichens is the one on the other end by the window. QM Olliver saw the iceberg as it passed by because he was on duty and running errands for the Officer on the bridge. His brother-in-law was asleep and seems to have slept through the collision. QM Hichens was the man at the wheel.
The fellow in the front row with the cigar could be Jones - a seaman who'd sailed on the Majestic for 6 straight years without missing a trip!
Lookout Hogg may be the one with his hands crossed, second from the right in the front row. He and Evans came on duty after Fleet and Lee at midnight, but when 20 minutes had passed with the ship not moving and no response from the bridge telephone, they came down and Hogg was sent away in the first boat that was lowered.
Today I have been aggregating the deck crew's testimonies into a single chronological "story" file. Osman was waiting for the bell to signal the end of the watch so he could go to bed. To his surprise he heard a bell ring from the lookouts and shortly after that, they hit the iceberg. Nearly all the sailors rushed up on deck to see what had happened. One of them, however, continued reading his book in the mess hall 'till a sailor came in with a chunk of ice, which he tossed onto the floor. Seaman Evans then stopped reading. Osman took a piece of ice down below. (Was he just going to show it off, or did he have plans to wake up someone with some unpleasantly cold greeting, I wonder!)
It also sounds like while Jones prepared his boat, he may not have participated in loading it. Lookout Fleet, the Canadian Major Peuchen, and a steward named Crawford were people known to be involved in the loading No. 8 under the supervision of the Captain and the Chief Officer. When the boat next to that was loaded, Lookout Fleet was ordered in to help the women in. The lamp trimmer had been out on rounds delivering lamps to all the boats, but he seems to have gotten called to help with that No. 6 boat. When Quartermaster Hichens was put in charge of the boat, that left one of the falls empty and the lamp trimmer hopped out of the boat and helped to lower it. He then continued delivering lamps to the boats. Major Peuchen was later ordered down into the boat to work as an oarsman alongside lookout Fleet.
That's the sort of thing that I've been up to lately.