Brave Engineers Of Belfast
Coming from Belfast and having grown up and worked close to the dock where RMS Titanic was built, there isn't a year that passes when on 15 April my mind doesn't turn to the Titanic tragedy.
Previous blog posts that I've written have included references to the great ship such as this one about Titanic's boilers. Today, I want to focus on a part of the Titanic legacy that, although acknowledged over the years in the media, has not been written about quite as much as some other aspects. Today I'm thinking about the 10 men who formed 'The Guarantee Group' aboard the ship on her maiden voyage.
The ship's designer Thomas Andrews was at the head of the Group and alongside him were 9 others, all hand-picked from the 3,000 who worked on the ship's construction. These 9 were regarded as the elite in their field of craftsmanship and engineering and even included top, young apprentices who had showed great promise.
For them it was a great honour to be chosen to accompany Andrews on the ship's maiden voyage but tragically, all 9 men and Andrews himself went down with the ship on 15 April 1912.
Being an engineer myself, it occurred to me that if these men were at the top of their respective fields, then their loss of life had a greater impact beyond the grief it caused their families and friends.
These were men who probably had ideas and innovations in planning about which they were excited and looking forward to developing. Yet because it was an era without computers etc, when they died, their ideas probably died with them and so the world never got to see how much further they could have taken their respective fields of expertise. That kind of loss is impossible to quantify; perhaps it's a loss that many people haven't even stopped to think about, I don't know ... but I certainly have.
The Group members included ...
- Thomas Andrews - principal architect of RMS Titanic
- Roderick Chisholm - chief draughtsman for RMS Titanic
- Anthony Wood Frost - with Harland & Wolff from the age of 14. Supervised machinery installation on RMS Titanic. Last seen in the engine room working to keep the ship's lights on.
- William Henry Marsh Parr - supervised electrical installations on RMS Titanic. Another of 'The Group' reported as last seen in the engine room working to keep the lights on.
- Francis Parkes - apprentice plumber and one of 5 brothers who worked at the Harland & Wolff shipyard. Aged just 21 he was one of several top apprentices selected to accompany Andrews on the maiden voyage.
- Ennis Hastings - apprentice electrician and just 18 years of age when he died in the sinking. Received several academic awards from the Belfast Municipal Technical Institute just prior to the voyage.
For more information on "The Guarantee Group" visit this page where you will also find a gallery of images.
- Tags: acoustic cleaning