With the centenary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic on the 15 April 1912 only days away, much information is being made available from many sources; and film and TV programmes are bringing to the public the suffering, and the loss of life, of the passengers and crew.
However, little is recorded of the 35 members of the engineering staff, all of whom lost their lives, and, with no survivors, the official enquiry into the sinking had no first-hand account of the actions and bravery of those men who stayed at their post and endeavoured to save the ship from sinking. The Guild of Benevolence of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)* – which has a charitable link with the Titanic – hopes to redress the balance, and has published a fascinating 100th Anniversary booklet, commemorating the sacrifice made by the engineers on the ill-fated ship.
Importantly, these men also maintained electrical power to keep the lights on throughout the ship, thereby reducing the danger of panic amongst the passengers. Of course, the power to the radio office also enabled the transmission of distress signals until minutes before the ship sank beneath the waves.
The first legacy of this tragedy was the introduction of international requirements dealing with safe navigation, watertight and fire resistant bulkheads, lifesaving appliances, fire protection and fire fighting appliances which are updated under the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations ensuring safe passage of all ships.
The second legacy was the initiation, by the Daily Chronicle, of the Titanic Engineering Staff Memorial Fund to assist the widows, orphans and dependents of the 35 engineers who lost their lives. The fund was, and is, administered by the Guild of Benevolence of the Institute of Marine Engineers (now IMarEST). Since the First World War, the work of the Guild has grown significantly and it now provides support to needy marine engineers and their dependents worldwide – regardless of whether or not they are members of IMarEST.
The Guild’s 16-page fully illustrated commemorative booklet contains the history of the Titanic, drawings and photographs of the ship and its machinery; a tribute to the engineers – all of whom are named and whose photographs appear in the booklet, along with details of the safety measures that resulted from the Titanic catastrophe, and information on the Guild of Benevolence.
The commemorative booklet can be ordered from www.imarest.org/guild, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or from The Guild of Benevolence of the IMarEST, Aldgate House, 33 Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1EN. Minimum donations of £10 + P&P, or more, for each copy are requested, with all funds going to the Guild to support its work in the coming years.
* reported here on 13 March 2012 following IMarEST’s 2012 Annual Dinner.