A Distant Horizon

The first half of December has been uneventful in the history of this corner of the world and I have taken the opportunity to follow some leads into my own family’s past. (No adventures to report.)

A couple of days ago, for no obvious reason, YouTube suggested I watch a documentary on the loss of RMS Titanic. I don’t have a television but am partial to a good documentary. The recommendation – Was the Titanic Deliberately Sunk by JP Morgan ­– proved to be hokum, a “conspiracy theory” that the White Star line switched the sister ships as part of an insurance scam. We are asked to believe that it is RMS Olympic at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Given that we are beaten about the head with a false flag event every other week I came close to buying this unlikely scenario. Thought provoked, I moved on to another “theory” – that the much-maligned Captain of the Californian, Stanley LORD, and several of his officers, failed to identify the Titanic as the vessel firing distress rockets because of cold water mirages. The rockets were not a mirage. Lord would have had a happier future if he’d ordered his only wireless operator out of bed to call the “mystery steamer” and ask what the trouble was. This National Geographic film demonstrated quite convincingly that Californian had cut its engines when faced with a thirty-mile-long stretch of field ice – and not because it was waiting, with its cargo of 3,000 blankets, to rescue passengers from the masquerading Olympic.

Next up was a real surprise – Saving the Titanic –  a dramatization of the efforts of the men below decks who worked selflessly to keep Titanic afloat as long as possible. Engineers, electricians, firemen, trimmers, and stokers – most of whom went down with the ship, that others might live.

Given my interest in “real people” having a fitting (and true) representation on FamilySearch Tree, I drew up a short list of people featuring in these three films (two not identified by name); eight from Titanic, two from Californian.

Whether by chance, coincidence or “judgment of history”, only one of the liner’s crew cannot be readily and certainly found on FST. Leading fireman Frederick BARRETT fought as hard as anyone (in the film) to save the Titanic but after facing the inquiry in New York he seems to have disappeared and there are no good records of his birth family on FST.

Captain Edward John SMITH: LCXW-SB2

Second Officer Charles LIGHTOLLER: 2S4V-V7X

Fourth Officer Joseph Groves BOXHALL: KHMN-VXQ

Chief Engineer Joseph BELL: M6N9-M2D

Designer Thomas ANDREWS: LCVH-7LD

Engineering crew James FRASER: L4N1-DCY

Trimmer Eustace Philip SNOW: 9J7K-VYV

Captain LORD and Third Officer Charles Victor GROVES of the Californian are waiting to be given their places on the World Tree. Whatever their shortcomings on that terrible night, I think they should be there.

The names of all the crew of RMS Titanic, and much more, can be found here.

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