Engine Department Heroes


The organisational structure of Titanic had been established over many centuries, and so the traditional trades that were hired for Titanic were mostly indentified as being appropriate for either THE DECK DEPARTMENT, ENGINE DEPARTMENT OR VICTUALLING DEPARTMENT.

The Engine Department was the youngest department and had only been established since the introduction of artificial propulsion for ships, in the case of steam c.1838. Steam was responsible for the generation of energy for the ship’s engines and electrical power with Titanic’s Engine Department being staffed by 325 men, 36% of the total Titanic crew. 253 of the Engine Department lost their lives.

Chief Engineer Joseph Bell headed the Engine Department with Senior Second Engineer William Edward Farquharson as his representative. The importance that White Star placed in the engine department is illustrated by the wages and conditions that were agreed. The engineers had, besides their own mess, a separate smoking room on the boat deck and their own promenade section.

Chief Engineer Bell had the largest cabin with bedroom and living quarters. He was the only member of the crew besides the captain to have his own bath.

Besides Captain Smith who received an annual salary of £1250 approx, there were about fifty men aboard Titanic who earned £10 or more monthly, twenty-two of them were in the Engine Department. Joseph Bell as chief engineer, and Senior Second Engineer William Edward Farquharson, his representative, were paid £35 and £22 monthly respectively. Joseph Bell was in charge of the entire Engine Department, and Farquharson was responsible for the engine-room men analogous to the jurisdiction of the chief officer in the Deck Department. The wages bill for a round trip from Southampton to New York for thirty days, for the Engine Department, would be £1506.00

The collision with the iceberg in the night hours made new demands of an organisation that was running a normal routine. The crew did their jobs; not like the daily routine but for the first time an emergency drill that was the real thing. Not all knew how they were supposed to act in this situation, they just did what they must have considered to be their duty, and we know that they were also heroes.

Six hundred and eighty-seven crew members did not survive that night. Almost 46 per cent of all Titanic lives lost belonged to the crew.

For those who would like further information please see  “Guide to the Crew of Titanic” by Gunter Babler, 2017.

Joseph Bell Memorial St Faith's Church Crosby Merseyside

Joseph Bell Memorial in St Faith’s Church, Crosby, Merseyside. Funded by his wife Maud Bell, and unveiled on 6th January 1913


3 Responses to “Engine Department Heroes”

  1. tonymac88 Says:

    Love the story it will last for ever tony mac ex engineers steward merchant navy seafarers telephone link . ________________________________

  2. Aleshia Travers Says:

    We like your web site, it has interesting content, Have a nice day!

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