One hundred years ago today, Hugh McAllister, 34, of Carrickfergus and Daniel McAllistor, 29, of Belfast disembarked the RMS Titanic, on which they had temporarily served as crew. Both men were stokers (‘firemen’) on the ship’s journey from its Belfast birthplace to Southampton, England, where it would take on passengers for its very first Atlantic crossing.
After arriving at Southampton, some of the engine crew stayed on for the remainder of the voyage. Whether by choice or because they had not been hired for the longer job, Hugh and Daniel headed home to Ireland. Perhaps this was a disappointment – after all, Titanic was one of the most remarkable (and luxurious) ships that had ever been built, its passenger list a contemporary Who’s Who, and its maiden voyage the event of the season. But any disappointment they might have felt surely changed to relief – and perhaps disbelief – twelve days later, when they learned of the ship’s fate. Had they stayed on for the rest of the journey, they would probably have perished – only 17 of the Titanic‘s 321-man engine crew survived.
Copyright (c) Lynn McAlister, 2012