George GUMERY – Mess Steward on board R.M.S. Titanic
Early Life in Balsall Heath
George was born on 20th December 1887
Signing on as Crew on the Titanic
In early 1912 George signed on as crew with the
White Star Line ship
After departing Southampton at noon the Titanic crossed the channel to Cherbourg, France arriving there at 18.30 on the evening of 10th April to take on more passengers; then departing soon after at 20.10 for Queenstown, Ireland where she arrived in the morning of April 11th. At 13.30 Titanic left Queenstown for New York. On the following two days she sailed through calm, clear weather but on Sunday 14th April eight ice warnings were received throughout the day from other shipping in the area, showing a huge ice field directly ahead. At 22.55 the Californian, about 10 to 19 miles north of the Titanic, is stopped in ice and sent out a warning to all shipping in the area. At 23.40 the lookouts on board Titanic saw an iceberg dead ahead. The ship was steaming at over 22 knots when the order was given to turn to port, but an underwater spar of the iceberg collided with on the starboard side of her bow.
Collision with Iceberg
The double bottomed hull of the Titanic was divided into 16 watertight compartments; because four of these could be flooded without endangering the liner's buoyancy, she was considered unsinkable. The collision with the iceberg opened up a 300 foot long gash which ruptured five of the watertight compartments. Within minutes water poured in to a depth of fourteen feet in the front of the ship. At midnight the Captain was told that the ship was sinking, and gave the order for a radio distress signal to be sent out. At 00.05 on April 15th the orders were given to uncover the lifeboats and to get the passengers and crew ready on deck. The order to start loading the lifeboats was given at 00.25, starting with women and children.
The first lifeboat was lowered away at 00.45 but instead of carrying its capacity of 65 people, had only 28 on board. In fact the Titanic had only 1178 lifeboat places for the 2224 persons on board ship. By 1.15 the tilt of the deck was becoming increasingly steep, and by 2.05 the last lifeboat had departed leaving more than 1500 people stranded on board the sinking ship. At 2.17 the last radio call for help was sent out and Captain Smith told his crew "It's everyman for himself !". The Titanic's bow plunged under the water and many passengers jumped overboard. The forward funnel collapsed crushing a number of people, then at 2.18 there is a huge roar as all moveable objects inside the ship crash toward the submerged bow; the lights blinked once, then went out for good. The ship became perpendicular to the water remaining that way for several minutes before, at 2.20, sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic 13,000 feet below.
Sadly George Gumery did not survive. He was one of four Mess Stewards in the Engineers' Mess which was situated on the port side of the fourth (rearward) funnel casing on Deck E. Forward of the Engineers' Mess were a number of cabins that would have been used for the various stewards, and it was no doubt one of these that George would have shared with the other three Engineers' Mess Stewards. Possibly he would have been off duty when the collision occurred. The mess and cabin was on an enclosed deck so, if they were in their cabin at the time, would have had to climb to deck A which was the embarkation deck for the lifeboats. Of the four Engineers' Mess stewards only one survived – Mr Charles William N. Fitzpatrick. The other three, Mr Seaton Blake, Mr John Coleman, and George did not survive. There were not enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew on board the Titanic, and the crew would have been the last to leave the ship, so it was likely many went down with the ship or found themselves in the freezing waters of the north Atlantic Ocean.
The New York Times front page 16 April 1912
The Birmingham Gazette printed a report about
"Mr George Gummery,
one of the mess stewards on the Titanic, whose name is not included in the
list of survivors, was a Birmingham man, and well known in the Balsall Heath district. For many years he was a scholar
at the Sunday school connected with the
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund
A relief fund was raised by public subscription at the invitation of the
Lord Mayor of the City of
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