With the centenary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 only days away, much information is being made available from many sources, and film and TV programs 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 posts and endeavored 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 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 among 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, life-saving appliances, fire protection and fire- fighting appliances, which are updated under the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations.
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 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; details of the safety measures which 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 [email protected], 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.