Monday, April 16, 2012

Dutch people aboard the Titanic

A hundred years ago on April 15, 1912, at approximately 02:15-02:20 AM (ship´s time) the sinking of the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, caused the deaths of 1,514 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. She carried 2,224 passengers and crew.

On 14 April 1912, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm (ship's time; GMT−3). The glancing collision caused Titanic's hull plates to buckle inwards in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank. Passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. A disproportionate number of men – over 90% of those in Second Class – were left aboard due to a "women and children first" protocol followed (read also Bock McMillan's post) by the officers loading the lifeboats. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean. Among the dead were three Dutch people.


Spring 1907 originated in London the first plans for the construction of three large passenger ships. Shipping company White Star Line wanted the construction of the Olympic, Titanic and Brittanic competing companies surpass in size and luxury. The three ships were in Belfast built by Harland and Wolff, currently the largest shipyard in the world.
On Wednesday 10 April 1912 the Titanic's maiden voyage began under the authority lining of Captain Edward John Smith, for his first voyage from Southampton to New York. For travel more than 1300 people booked. There are 900 crew members on board. Among the passengers were several prominent guests from America and Europe. The majority of the passengers is, however, third-class passengers. The Titanic is currently the largest ship in the world. The ship offers unprecedented luxury for all passengers. Besides the enormous wealth in the first and second class, the company also paid attention to the third grade (see picture of  a reproduction of Titanic's 3rd class cabin. A lot of the 3th class passengers never had slept between sheets.) The large groups of immigrants, who at that time wanted to build a new life in the United States, are an important source of income for the White Star Line.
On board there are three Dutch, a passenger and two crew. 

Three Dutchmen on the Titanic
There were only three Dutchmen on the Titanic : jonkheer George Reuchlin (37) and Wessel van der Brugge (38), both from Rotterdam, and Hennie Bolhuis (27) from Groningen.
None of the three survived the Titanic disaster has. The death of Reuchlin – a VIP avant la lettre – was front-page news in the Dutch newspapers, but was not a word about the two others. That was because nobody had an idea but that they also were on board. That horrific reality in the case of the family Bolhuis became known until 22 July 1912; the family Van der Brugge even heard it until the end of August!

Of Wessel van der Brugge is only a photo from when he was 5 years (it is not totally sure that it is him on the photo). Aboard the Titanic, he was 38 years. He came from Rotterdam, Delfshaven. Already before the turn of the century he made world travel, deep into Africa. He had his official address at his sister Cornelia and her husband Jan Kalff in Amsterdam. It took months before it became clear that he was aboard the Titanic. He worked as a fireman/stoker. He was responsible for a steady supply of coal for the huge boilers of the ship.
He signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April and was on board on 10 April. His monthly wages were £6.

There were 13 leading firemen (Stoker Foremen) and 163 firemen (Stokers) assigned to the Titanic. The ship had 29 boilers, each containing three furnaces for a total of 159 furnaces. Each fireman was assigned one boiler and three furnaces. Of the Titanic's six boiler rooms, each leading fireman was assigned to two of them with 10 to 15 firemen under him. Next to each boiler was a coal chute that deposited coal from the overhead coal bunkers, and a fireman with a shovel would constantly feed coal into the three furnaces. Shifts for all the firemen and their foremen were four hours on and eight hours off.
The heat in the boiler rooms usually exceeded 120 °F (49 °C), so a four-hour shift was very demanding. It was heavy and nasty work. The heat and noise were hardly bearable.
Most of the firemen worked wearing only their undershirts and shorts.
Of the firemen, only three leading firemen and around 45 other firemen survived. Several of the firemen that survived got into the lifeboats dressed only in their undershirts and shorts in 28 °F (−2 °C) weather. Wessel was not one of them. For the dead men from the engine room is a monument erected on the banks of the river Mersey in Liverpool.

Board of Trade from 23 July 1912, asked to whom the estate of Van der Brugge (£1 4s) should go to. In October 1912 his siblings received the money. On Van der Brugges "Account of Wages and Effects of a Deceased Seaman" from 7 May 1912 only his outstanding wages of £1 4s are listed. Unlike his English colleagues, who received a half month's salary as bonus..

Hennie Bolhuis (27) from Groningen was cook on the Titanic. His parents died in 1910 and his only relative, his brother Klaas Bolhuis, lived in Groningen. After the death of his parents, Hendrik left their home to see the world. Good looking Hennie, as he was called, worked at some hotels over Europe: Paris, Monte Carlo and Oostende. He was described as an impulsive man, who loved his freedom. Nevertheless he always returned to his home. This occasion was always celebrated with a party.

In October 1911 he joined the Olympic as a cook in the service of the Italian Luigi Gatti, who ran an à la carte restaurant, a year so later on the Titanic.. He witnessed the collision with the H.M.S. Hawke, and wrote back home: "nearly we went down with every soul on board, because the ship had a heavy collision." He announced his intention to come home in March or April 1912, but he never appeared. His last address was 37 Orchard Place, Southampton.
Hennie, boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a member of the à la carte restaurant. He signed-on on 6 April as larder cook and came aboard on 10 April. He received his wages directly from Luigi Gatti, the manager of the restaurant.

His large suitcase he leaves behind in Southampton with the thought that he fetches on the way. The suitcase holds Hennie's personal belongings. Except for clothes and a ring there is a cookery book that he bought at the Wermeskerken Bookstore in Dallas.

His brother Klaas Bolhuis worried greatly about him as May and June passed by. In early June he received a letter from an Austrian friend of Hendrik, it told him that his brother had gone down with the Titanic. A few days later another letter from France said the same. At the end of July the consul of Holland in London wrote that the board of trade had informed him that "Henri Bolhuis", a larder cook, died in the sinking of the Titanic.
On 24 November 1912 Klaas received a cheque about hfl 257.35. That was all his brother left. On 4 June 1913 he received hfl 31.10 (£2 11s 5d), his outstanding wages, but without any bonus.

Finally, jonkheer Johan George Reuchlin (37) from Rotterdam. He was co-director of the Holland-America Line (HAL), and made the trip professionally.
He has taken the place of the older director Wierdsma, which has been canceled due to family circumstances. Reuchlin by Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, invited to do the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Reuchlin was on the Titanic to evaluate the Olympic-class liners. The Holland America Line had ordered a large vessel from Harland & Wolff - the Statendam II which was already under construction in March 1912.

Jonkheer Johan George Reuchlin, was born in Rotterdam on 6 December, 1874, the second son of Otto Reuchlin (1842 - 1924), wine merchant and later director of the Holland Amerika Line. Johan became bureau chief of the Holland Amerika Line, and was himself later made a director. He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as first class passenger carrying ticket number 19972. The ticket was complementary because of his position with the Holland America Line which was part of the International Mercantile Marine. J. Pierpont Morgan's conglomerate that also owned the White Star Line.
Reuchlin is as important passenger on the most luxurious part of the ship. He sends postcards home about the impressions he gain aboard the Titanic. He writes: "The rooms on this ship are three times as large as the parlor at home." Just before the collision with the iceberg, he sends a telegram to his family with the announcement that the trip runs smoothly.

He survived not. His wife received hundreds of condolences. Queen Mother Emma wrote to jonkheer Otto Reuchlin, father of George, and asked him to let them know his daughter-in-law ' that the crushing blow that has struck her, her Majesty the Queen Mother plays with deepest sympathy '. The Hall paid the widow 5000 guilders per year, until her youngest child 18 years would be. In 1924 did the tax authority there still difficult about: the allowance was regarded as a grant, there was not a penalty for taxes paid 60,000 guilders and advanced. State appeal was only in 1926 that payments under a natural undertaking had received, and thus no tax ' would have to pay.
Note: "Jonkheer" is not a part of his formal name, but rather a Dutch equivalent to "The honourable..."

It is 23.40 on the 14th April 1912. Frederick Fleet, sailor on the 'Titanic', sits as a lookout in the crow’s nest, 20 meters above the deck. He does not have a telescope, no flood light – he has to trust his own eyes. The night is clear and peaceful. He suddenly sees a large black mountain in front of him which blocks out his view of the stars. He sounds the warning bell. 'Iceberg, dead ahead!' he screams into the telephone. The first Officer, Milliam Murdoch, tries to skirt the ship past the left side of the iceberg but he does not manage it. At full speed the Titanic ramming the nearly 300,000-ton iceberg. The starboard side of the ship is torn in several places. The Titanic fills up with water and within three hours the ship sinks. There are twenty lifeboats available. Originally, the placement of forty-eight sloops planned, but this was the view of the cover too limited. The boats were on the deck of the first and second class. The opportunity for passengers of the third class of salvation was so very small. From this class come from the crew, most people end their lives. Women and children first , the three Dutch survive the disaster. Their bodies are never recovered. Although Reuchlin can get a place in one of the lifeboats, he probably responded to the decency line and call the captain to women and children to let go. Bolhuis and Van der Brugge have little chance of a rescue boat to reach. Van der Brugge is located deep in the belly of the ship, where the water first enters.
The position of staff in the restaurant was also unfavorable. The staff consisted mostly of foreigners who were viewed with suspicion. They also had little chance of a rescue boat to reach. Of the 85 men who worked in the restaurant, three people survived. 

Titanic's passengers numbered around 1,317 people: 324 in First Class, 284 in Second Class and 709 in Third Class. 869 (66%) were male and 447 (34%) female. There were 107 children aboard, the largest number of which were in Third Class.
The ship was considerably under capacity on her maiden voyage, as she could accommodate 2,566 passengers – 1,034 First Class, 510 Second Class and 1,022 Third Class.
Usually, a high prestige vessel like Titanic could expect to be fully booked on its maiden voyage. However, a national coal strike in the U.K. had caused considerable disruption to shipping schedules in the spring of 1912, causing many crossings to be cancelled.
The exact number of people aboard is not known as not all of those who had booked tickets made it to the ship; about fifty people cancelled for various reasons, and not all of those who boarded stayed aboard for the entire journey.
There are various figures quoted for the number of people on board the Titanic at the time of its sinking. Some sources quote 2223 people while others cite 2228. This is due to discrepancies, errors, and omissions in the original passenger lists.
The official number varies according to the source. A few of them provides the following:
Sources: several

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