Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Titanic engineer who went down with the ship

WHILE the Titanic was sinking a brave Waterloo engineer worked in darkness in the boiler room in a last ditch attempt to save the ship.

Although his efforts failed, Herbert Wilson, who was a former pupil of Merchant Taylors', will be remembered as one of many ship workers who tragically perished doing the job they loved.

Archivisits working for the school have unearthed his tragic tale.

Known as Bertie, he was just 28 years old when given the post as senior assistant second engineer on the Titanic.

He attended Merchant Taylors' school between 1893 and 1898 before taking up an apprenticeship at J H Wilson & Co of Sandhills.

The promising seafarer worked as fourth engineer and third engineer before being promoted to work for the White Star Line, serving on the Teutonic as second engineer.

His numerous jobs enabled him to save up to marry his sweetheart Mabel Agnes Lloyd at St Thomas of Canterbury, Great George's Road in Seaforth on January 7 in 1908.

When White Star Line moved the centre of their operations to Southampton the newly married couple were quick to follow them.

The move paid off when ambitious Bertie, much to his delight, was given the job of senior assistant second engineer on the ‘indestructible' Titanic.

Not much has been reported about his activities before the ship's collision with the iceberg but during the incident he was working in boiler room number five.

His role was to keep the pumps working and it is thought that while the lights failed, he and his colleagues continued to work in darkness in last ditch efforts to keep the ship afloat and save hundreds of lives.

Sadly, like countless others, Bertie's body was never recovered.

His distraught mother Mary died the following year and his heartbroken widow Mabel Agnes Wilson died just four years later, the couple had no children.

A memorial to Bertie is inscribed on the grave of his mother in the churchyard of St Luke’s in Crosby.

The inscriptions reads: In Loving memory of Mary The Beloved Wife of Thomas Wilson Who Died 3rd July 1913 in her 66th Year.

Also Bertie, Beloved Son of the Above Who Was Lost In The Titanic Disaster April 1912.

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