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Title: Thomas Andrews

Author: Shan F. Bullock

Release Date: April 28, 2010 [EBook #32166]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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                            THOMAS ANDREWS

                    [Illustration: Thomas Andrews]

                            THOMAS ANDREWS
                        SHIPBUILDER By Shan F.
                     Bullock With an Introduction
                        by Sir Horace Plunkett

                        “... _Summoned to the deep,
                 Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep
                 An incommunicable sleep._”—WORDSWORTH.

                        MAUNSEL & COMPANY, LTD.
                           DUBLIN AND LONDON

                    _First Edition October, 1912_.

                    _Second Edition October, 1912_.

                         TO THE MEN WITH WHOM
                         THOMAS ANDREWS WORKED
                        WHO KNEW AND LOVED HIM
                         I DEDICATE THIS BRIEF
                           STORY OF HIS LIFE


  PORTRAIT OF THOMAS ANDREWS                            _frontispiece_
      (_Photo by Abernethy_)

  ARDARA, COMBER                         _facing page_              2
      (_Photo by R. Welch_)

  HARLAND & WOLFF’S TURBINE ERECTING SHOP      "                    8
      (_Photo by R. Welch_)

  THE TURNING SHOP                             "                   24
      (_Photo by R. Welch_)

    THE LARGEST GANTRY IN THE WORLD            "                   46
      (_Photo by R. Welch_)

  THE “TITANIC” LEAVING BELFAST                "                   56
      (_Photo by R. Welch_)


Mr. Shan Bullock, who needs no introduction to those who read Irish
books, has done no better work than in this tribute to one of the
noblest Irishmen Ulster has produced in modern times. I refer not only
to the literary merits of _Thomas Andrews, Shipbuilder_, which speak for
themselves, but rather to the true insight with which he has fulfilled
the precise purpose held in view by those who asked him to write this
little memorial volume. What that purpose was must be known in order
that the story itself, and the manner of the telling, may be fully

The book was written at the request of a few Irishmen, myself among
them, who work together in a movement which seeks to develop
agriculture, and generally to improve the condition of our rural
communities. We are deeply interested in the great achievements of
Ulster industry, because we hold strongly that the prosperity of our
country depends largely upon the mutual understanding and the
co-ordination of effort between the two great economic interests into
which the Irish, in common with most civilised peoples, are divided. For
this consummation Ireland needs, in our opinion, industrial leaders with
a broader conception of the life of the country as a whole. For such
leaders we naturally look, more especially those of us whose eyes are
turning towards the westering sun, to the younger men. Among these none
seemed to us so ideally fitted to give practical expression to our hopes
as Thomas Andrews. Thus it was the sense of the great loss the country
had sustained which set us thinking how the life of the shipbuilder who
had died so nobly could be given its due place in the history of our
times—how the lesson of that life could be handed down to the builders
of ships and of other things in the Ireland of our dreams.

The project having so originated, the proper treatment of the subject
had to be determined. Unquestionably Thomas Andrews was a hero. The wise
Bishop Berkeley has said: “Every man, by consulting his own heart, may
easily know whether he is or is not a patriot, but it is not easy for
the bystander.” A man cannot thus know whether he is or is not a hero.
Both he and the bystander must wait for the occasion to arise, and the
opportunities for exhibiting heroism are as rare and perilous as those
for exhibiting patriotism are common and safe. To Thomas Andrews the
supreme test came—came in circumstances demanding almost superhuman
fortitude and self-control. Here was not the wild excitement of battle
to sustain him; death had to be faced calmly in order that others—to
whom he must not even bid farewell—might live. And so in his last hour
we see this brave, strong, capable and lovable man displaying, not only
heroism, but every quality which had exalted him in the regard of his
fellows and endeared him to all who had worked and lived with him. This
is the verdict of his countrymen now that the facts of that terrible
disaster are fully known.

Yet it was far from our purpose to have the tragedy of the _Titanic_
written with Thomas Andrews as the hero. We deemed it better to place
the bare facts before some writer of repute, not one of his personal
friends, and ask him to tell in simple language the plain tale of his
life so far as it could be gleaned from printed and written records,
from his family, friends, and employers; above all, from those
fellow-workers—his “pals” as he liked to call them—to whom this book is
most fittingly dedicated. The story thus pieced together would be
chiefly concerned with his work, for his work was his life.

To Thomas Andrews the hero, then, we did not propose to raise a
monument. To his memory a fine memorial hall is to be built and endowed
in his native Comber by the inhabitants of the town and district and his
friends, while he will be associated in memorials elsewhere with those
who died nobly in the wreck.[1] These tributes will serve to remind us
how he died, but will not tell us how he lived. It is the purpose of
this short memoir to give a fairly complete record of his life—his
parentage, his home, his education, his pleasures, his tastes and his
thoughts, so far as they are known, upon things which count in the lives
of peoples. The family, and all from whom information was sought,
responded most cordially to our wishes. There remained the difficulty of
finding a writer who could tell the story of Thomas Andrews the man, as
we wished it to be told.

    [1] In Belfast a memorial to Thomas Andrews and the other
    Belfast men who died in the wreck has been generously
    subscribed to by the citizens, and by the Queen’s Island
    workers. He is also included amongst those to whom a similar
    memorial is to be erected in Southampton. The Reform Club in
    Belfast is honouring his memory with a tablet.

For such a task it was decided that, if he could be induced to undertake
it, the right man was Shan Bullock. He is an Ulsterman, a writer of
tales of Ulster life, distinguished among other Irish books by their
sincerity and unequalled understanding of the Ulster character. While
other Irish writers of imagination and genius have used Irish life to
express their own temperament, Shan Bullock has devoted his great
literary ability almost entirely to the patient, living and sincere
study of what Ulster really is in itself as a community of men and
women. It is true that his stories are of rural and agricultural
communities, while the scene is now laid chiefly in a great centre of
manufacturing industry. But in Mr. Bullock’s studies it is always the
human factor that predominates. One feels while reading one of his tales
that he loves to look upon a man, especially an Ulster man. Here was the
ideal historian of the life of Thomas Andrews.

It fell to me to approach Mr. Bullock. I induced him to go and see the
family, having arranged with them to bring him into touch with the
authorities at the Island Works, who were to show him round and
introduce him to many who knew our friend. He promised me that he would
look over all the material out of which the story could be pieced
together, and that if he found that it “gripped” him and became a labour
of love he would undertake it. The story did, as the reader will see,
grip him, and grip him hard, and in telling it Mr. Bullock has rendered
the greatest of all his services to lovers of truth told about Ireland
by Irish writers.

It will now, I think, be clear why Thomas Andrews has, notwithstanding
his noble end, been represented as the plain, hard-working Ulster boy,
growing into the exemplary and finally the heroic Ulster man that we
knew. We see him ever doing what his hand found to do, and doing it with
his might. Our author, rightly as I think, makes no attempt to present
him as a public man; for this captain of industry in the making was
wholly absorbed in his duties to the great Firm he served. None the less
I am convinced that the public side of the man would not long have
remained undeveloped—who knows but that this very year would have called
him forth?—because he had to my personal knowledge the right public
spirit. Concentration upon the work in hand prevented his active
participation in public affairs, but his mastery over complicated
mechanical problems—his power to use materials—and to organise bodies of
men in their use, would not, I believe, have failed him if he had come
to deal with the mechanics of the nation.

These may be fruitless speculations now, and Mr. Bullock wisely leaves
us to draw our own conclusions as to the eminence to which Thomas
Andrews might have attained had his life been spared. Abundant proof of
the immense influence he might have exercised is furnished in the
eloquently sincere grief which pervades the letters of condolence that
poured into the home of the parents at Comber when it was known that
they had lost their distinguished son. They came—over seven hundred of
them—from all sorts and conditions of men, ranging from a duke to a
pauper in a workhouse. In one of these letters, too intimate to publish,
a near relative pays to the dead shipbuilder a pathetically simple
tribute with which I may well leave to the reader Mr Bullock’s tale of a
noble life and heroic death. “There is not,” ran this fine epitaph, “a
better boy in heaven.”

                                            HORACE PLUNKETT.



For six generations the Andrews family has been prominent in the life of
Comber: that historic and prospering village, near Strangford Lough, on
the road from Belfast to Downpatrick: and in almost every generation
some one or other of the family has attained distinction. During the
eventful times of 1779-82, John Andrews raised and commanded a company
of Volunteers, in which his youngest son, James, served as Lieutenant.
Later, another John Andrews was High Sheriff of Down in 1857; and he
also it was who founded the firm of John Andrews & Co., which to-day
gives employment to some six hundred of the villagers. The present head
of the family, William Drennan Andrews, LL.D., was a Judge of the High
Court, Ireland, from 1882, and has been a Privy Councillor since 1897.
His brother, Thomas Andrews, is a man whose outstanding merits and
sterling character have won him an honoured place among Ulstermen. One
of the famous Recess Committee of 1895, he is President of the Ulster
Liberal Unionist Association, Chairman of the Belfast and County Down
Railway Company, a Privy Councillor, a Deputy Lieutenant of Down, High
Sheriff of the same county, and Chairman of its County Council. Two more
brothers, James and John, were Justices of the Peace. In 1870 Thomas
Andrews married Eliza Pirrie, a descendant of the Scotch Hamiltons, Lord
Pirrie’s sister, and herself a woman of the noblest type.

To these, and of such excellent stock, was born, on February 7th, 1873,
a son, named after his father, and described in the family record as
Thomas Andrews of Dunallan. His eldest brother, John Miller, born in
1871, and his youngest brother, William, born in 1886, are now Managing
Directors of John Andrews & Co., Ltd., under the Chairmanship of their
father. A third brother, James, born in 1877, adopted the profession of
his distinguished uncle, and is now a barrister-at-law. His only sister,
Eliza Montgomery, married in 1906, Lawrence Arthur, the third son of
Jesse Hind, Esq., J.P., of Edwalton, Notts, and a solicitor of the
Supreme Court.

[Illustration: ARDARA, COMBER]

Tom was, we are told, “a healthy, energetic, bonny child, and grew
into a handsome, plucky and lovable boy.” His home training was of the
wisest, and of a kind, one thinks, not commonly given to Ulster boys in
those more austere times of his youth. “No one,” writes his brother
John, “knew better than Tom how much he owed to that healthy home life
in which we were brought up. We were never otherwise treated than with
more than kindness and devotion, and we learned the difference between
right and wrong rather by example than by precept.” To Tom, his father,
then and always, was as an elder brother, full of understanding and
sympathy; nor did his mother, even to the end, seem to him other than a
sister whose life was as his own. He and his elder brother, John, were
inseparable comrades, there among the fields of Comber and in their
beautiful home, with its old lawn and gardens, its avenue winding past
banks of rhododendrons, the farm behind, outside the great mill humming
busily, and in front the gleam of Strangford Lough. Both father and
mother being advocates of temperance, encouraged their lads to abstain
from tobacco and strong drink; and to this end their good mother offered
to give a tempting prize to such of her sons as could on their
twenty-first birthday say they had so abstained. Tom, and each of his
brothers, not only claimed his prize but continued throughout life to
act upon the principles it signalised. Doubtless at times, being human
boys, they fell into mischief: but only once, their father states, was
bodily punishment given to either, and then, as fate willed it, he boxed
the ear of the wrong boy!

Quite early, young Tom, like many another lad, developed a fondness for
boats, and because of his manifest skill in the making of these he
gained among his friends the nickname of “Admiral.” In other respects
also the man who was to be showed himself in the boy. He had a beautiful
way with children. He loved animals of every kind and had over them such
influence that they would follow him and come to his call. Still at
Ardara, in shelter of the hedge, you may see his nine hives of bees,
among which he used to spend many happy hours, and to which in later
times he devoted much of his hard-won leisure: once, his mother will
tell you, spending a whole winter’s day—and a hunting day too!—carrying
his half-famished workers to and fro between hive and kitchen in his
cap. For horses he had a passion, and particularly for the Shetland pony
given to him one birthday. The fiercest brute yielded to his quiet
mastery; he never used whip or spur; and in time he was known as one of
the straightest and most fearless riders to hounds in County Down.

Until the age of eleven he was educated privately by a tutor, but in
September, 1884, he became a student at the Royal Academical
Institution, Belfast—the same institution through which, some years
previously, his father and his uncle, then Mr. Pirrie, had passed. There
he showed no special aptitudes, being fonder apparently of games than of
study, and not yet having developed those powers of industry for which,
soon, he became notable. In the Institution, however, was no more
popular boy, both with masters and schoolfellows. He excelled at
cricket, one is glad to know, and at all manly sports. Even then, we are
told, generosity and a fine sympathy were prominent traits in his
character. “He was always happy,” writes a playmate, “even-tempered, and
showed a developing power of impressing everyone with his honesty and
simplicity of purpose.” Wherever he went Tom carried his own sunshine.
All were fond of him. One can see him returning with his brother from
school, big, strong, well-favored, and perhaps with some premonition of
what the future had in store, lingering sometimes near the station
doorway to watch the great ships rising above the Island Yard close by
and to listen for a minute to the hammers beating some great vessel into
shape: and whilst he stands there, grave and thoughtful for a minute,
one may write here the judgment of his parents upon him, “He never
caused us a moment’s anxiety in his life.”


When he was sixteen, on the 1st May, 1889, Tom left school, and as a
premium apprentice entered the shipyard of Messrs. Harland & Wolff. In
one important respect the date of his entry may be accounted fortunate,
for about that time, chiefly through the enterprise of the White Star
Company in the matter of constructing a fleet of giant ships for the
Atlantic service, great developments were imminent, if not already
begun, in the shipping world. To a boy of sixteen, however, the change
from the comforts of home and the comparative freedom of school-life to
the stern discipline of the yards must have been exacting. It was work
now, and plenty of it, summer and winter, day in day out, the hardest he
could do at the hardest could be given him. He was to be tested to the
full. With characteristic wisdom, Mr. Pirrie had decided that no favour
whatever was to be shown the boy on the score of relationship. By his
own efforts and abilities he must make his way, profiting by no more
than the inspiration of his uncle’s example: and if he failed, well,
that too was a way many another had gone before him.

But Tom was not of the breed that fails. He took to his work instantly
and with enthusiasm. Distance from home necessitated his living through
the workaday week in Belfast. Every morning he rose at ten minutes to
five and was at work in the Yard punctually by six o’clock. His first
three months were spent in the Joiner’s shop, the next month with the
Cabinet makers, the two following months working in ships. There
followed two months in the Main store; then five with the Shipwrights,
two in the Moulding loft, two with the Painters, eight with the iron
Shipwrights, six with the Fitters, three with the Pattern-makers, eight
with the Smiths. A long spell of eighteen months in the Drawing office
completed his term of five years as an apprentice.


Throughout that long ordeal Tom inspired everyone who saw him, workmen,
foremen, managers, and those in higher authority, as much by the force
of his personal character as by his qualities of industry. Without doubt
here was one destined to success. He was thorough to the smallest
detail. He mastered everything with the ease of one in love with his
task. We have a picture of him drawn by a comrade, in his moleskin
trousers and linen jacket, and instinctively regarded by his
fellow-apprentices as their leader, friend and adviser in all matters of
shipyard lore and tradition. “He was some steps ahead of me in his
progress through the Yard,” the account goes on, “so I saw him only at
the breakfast and luncheon hours, but I can remember how encouraging his
cheery optimism and unfailing friendship were to one who found the path
at times far from easy and the demands on one’s patience almost more
than could be endured.” Many a workman, too, with whom he wrought at
that time will tell you to-day, and with a regret at his untimely loss
as pathetic as it is sincere, how faithful he was, how upstanding,
generous. He would work at full pressure in order to gain time to assist
an old workman “in pulling up his job.” He would share his lunch with a
mate, toil half the night in relief of a fellow-apprentice who had been
overcome by sickness, or would plunge gallantly into a flooded hold to
stop a leakage. “It seemed his delight,” writes a foreman, “to make
those around him happy. His was ever the friendly greeting and the warm
handshake and kind disposition.” Such testimony is worth pages of
outside eulogy, and testimony of its kind, from all sorts and
conditions, exists in abundance.

The long day’s work over at the Island, many a young man would have
preferred, and naturally perhaps, to spend his evenings pleasurably: not
so Tom Andrews. Knowing the necessity, if real success were to be
attained, of perfecting himself on the technical as much as on the
practical side of his profession, and perhaps having a desire also to
make good what he considered wasted opportunities at school, he pursued,
during the five years of his apprenticeship, and afterwards too, a rigid
course of night studies: in this way gaining an excellent knowledge of
Machine and Freehand drawing, of Applied mechanics, and the theory of
Naval architecture. So assiduously did he study that seldom was he in
bed before eleven o’clock; he read no novels, wasted no time over
newspapers; and hardly could be persuaded by his friends to give them
his company for an occasional evening. His weekly game of cricket or
hockey, with a day’s hunting now and then or an afternoon’s yachting on
the Lough, gave him all the relaxation he could permit himself; and by
1894, when his term of apprenticeship ended, the thrill of hitting a
ball over the boundary (and Tom was a mighty hitter who felt the thrill
often) was experienced with less and still less frequency, whilst
sometimes now, and more frequently as time went on, the joy of spending
Sunday with his dear folk at Comber had to be foregone. Even when the
Presidency of the Northern Cricket Union was pressed upon him, such were
the stern claims of duty that the pleasure of accepting it had
ruthlessly to be sacrificed.

What grit, what zest and sense of duty, the boy—for he was no more—must
have had, so to labour and yet to thrive gloriously! Perfect health, his
sound physique, his sunny nature, and strict adherence to the principles
of temperance encouraged by his mother, helped him to attain fine
manhood. During the period of his apprenticeship he was up to time on
every morning of the five years except one—and of his doings on that
fateful morning a story is told which, better perhaps than any other,
throws light upon his character.

It was a good custom of the firm to award a gold watch to every pupil
who ended his term without being late once. That morning Tom’s clock had
failed to ring its alarm at the usual time, so despite every endeavour
the boy could not reach the gates before ten minutes past six. He might,
by losing the whole day and making some excuse, have escaped penalty:
instead, he waited outside the gates until eight o’clock and went in to
work at the breakfast hour.

One other story relating to this period is told by his mother. It too
reveals distinctive points of character.

On an occasion Tom, with several fellow-pupils, went on a walking tour
during the Easter holidays over the Ards peninsula. Crossing Strangford
Lough at Portaferry, they visited St. John’s Point, the most easterly
part of Ireland; then, finding the tide favourable, crossed the sands
from Ballykinler to Dundrum—Tom carrying the youngest of the party on
his back through a deep intervening stretch of water—and thence, by way
of Newcastle, proceeded across the mountains to Rostrevor.

In their hotel at Rostrevor the boys, during an excess of high spirits,
broke the rail of a bedstead; whereupon Tom, assuming responsibility,
told the landlady that he would bear the expense of repairing the break.
She answered that in her hotel they did not keep patched beds,
consequently would be troubling him for the cost of a new one.

“If so, the old one belongs to me,” said Tom.

“Provided you’ll be taking it away,” countered the dame.

The boy argued no further, but finding presently, through a friendly
chambermaid, an old charwoman who said her sick husband would rejoice in
the luxury of the bedstead, he offered to mend it and give it to her.

“Ah, but wouldn’t it be more than my place is worth, child dear,” she
answered, “for the like of me to be taking it from the hotel.”

“Never mind that,” said Tom. “Give me your address, borrow a screw
driver, and I’ll see to it.”

So he and his companions, having roughly repaired the rail, took the
bedstead to pieces, and, applauded by the visitors, carried it to the
street. A good-natured tram conductor allowed them to load their burden
on an end of his car. Soon they reached the woman’s home, bore in the
bedstead, set it up in the humble room, raised the old man and his straw
mattress upon it from the floor, made him comfortable, and dowered with
all the blessings the old couple could invoke upon them, went away


So much impressed was the firm with Tom’s industry and capacity that,
soon after the time of his entering the Drawing Office in November,
1892, he was entrusted with the discharge of responsible duties. It is
on record that in February, 1893, he was given the supervision of
construction work on the _Mystic_; that in November of the same year he
represented the firm, to its entire satisfaction and his own credit, on
the trials of the White Star Liner _Gothic_; whilst, immediately
following the end of his apprenticeship in May, 1894, he helped the
Shipyard Manager to examine the _Coptic_, went to Liverpool and reported
on the damage done to the _Lycia_, and in November discussed with the
General Manager and Shipyard Manager the Notes in connection with the
renovation of the _Germanic_—that famous Liner, still capable after
twenty-five years on the Atlantic Service of making record passages, but
now crippled through being overladen with ice at New York.

In 1894 he was twenty-one years old: a man and well launched on his
great career.

It is not necessary, and scarcely possible, to follow Andrews with any
closeness as rapidly, step by step, he climbed the ladder already
scaled, with such amazing success, by Mr. Pirrie. The record of his
career is written in the wonderful story of the Queen’s Island Yard
through all its developments onward from 1894, and in the story of the
many famous ships repaired and built during the period.

The remarkable engineering feat of lengthening the _Scot_ and the
_Augusta Victoria_, by dividing the vessels and inserting a section
amidships; the reconstruction of the _China_ after its disaster at Perim
and of the _Paris_ following its wreck on the Manacles: in these
operations, covering roughly the years 1896-1900, Andrews, first as an
outside Manager and subsequently as Head of the Repair department, took
a distinguished part. He was growing, widening knowledge, maturing
capacity, and both by the Staff, and by those in touch with the Yard, he
became recognised as what the watching crowd terms, not unhappily, a
coming man.

Having made his mark in the Repair Department, Andrews was next to prove
himself on construction work. Prior to the launch of the _Oceanic_ in
1899, and whilst engaged in the reconstruction operations already
mentioned, he had also rendered good service at the building of ships
for many of the great steamship lines; but it was perhaps with the
building of the _Celtic_ (1899-1901), when he became Manager of
Construction Work, that the path of his career took him swiftly up into
prominence. The duty of supervising all the structural details of the
vessel brought him into close practical touch with the Drawing office,
the Moulding loft, the Platers’ shops, and all the other Departments
through which he had passed as an apprentice; imposed upon his young
shoulders great responsibilities; tested his capacity for handling men;
put him in constant and intimate view of his employers; widened his
relations with owners, contractors, directors, managers; opened to him
not only the life of the Yard, but the vast outer life of the Shipping
and Commercial world, and in a hundred other respects helped towards his
development as a shipbuilder and a man. Now he had opportunity to apply
his knowledge and experience, to express in tangible form his genius.
The great ship rising there below the gantries to the accompaniment of
such clang and turmoil—she was his, part of him. To the task, one of the
noblest surely done by men, he gave himself unsparingly, every bit of
him, might and main: and his success, great as it was, had the greater
acclaim because in achieving it he worked not for personal success but
for success in his work. That was the man’s way. His job, first and last
and always.

The names alone of all the ships in whose building Andrews had a hand,
more or less, as Designer, Constructor, Supervisor and Adviser, would
fill this page. The _Cedric_, the _Baltic_, the _Adriatic_, the
_Oceanic_, the _Amerika_, the _President Lincoln_ and _President Grant_,
the _Nieuw Amsterdam_, the _Rotterdam_, the _Lapland_ (of which recently
we have heard so much): those are a few of them. The _Olympic_ and the
_Titanic_: those are two more. Their names are as familiar to us as
those of our friends. We have, some of us, seen the great ships on whose
bows they are inscribed, perhaps sailed in them, or watched anxiously
for their arrival at some port of the world; well, wherever they sail
now, or lie, they have upon them the impress of Tom Andrews’ hand and
brain, and with one of them, the last and finest of all, he himself
gloriously perished.

There are many others, less known perhaps, but carrying the flag no less
proudly upon the Seven seas, for whose design and construction Andrews
was in some measure, often in great measure responsible: the _Aragon_,
the _Amazon_, the _Avon_, the _Asturias_, the _Arlanza_, the
_Herefordshire_, the _Leicestershire_, the _Gloucestershire_, the
_Oxfordshire_, the _Pericles_, the _Themistocles_, the _Demosthenes_,
the _Laurentic_, the _Megantic_, and the rest. It is a splendid record.
Lord Pirrie may well be proud of it, and Ulster too: both we know are
proud of the man who so devotedly helped to make it.

The work of building all those ships, and so many more, from the
_Celtic_ to the _Titanic_, covered a period of some thirteen years,
1899-1912, and in that period Andrews gained such advancement as his
services to the Firm deserved. In 1904 he became Assistant Chief
Designer, and in the year following was promoted to be Head of the
Designing department under Lord Pirrie. His age then was thirty-two, an
age at which most men are beginning their career; but he already had
behind him what may seem the work and experience of a strenuous

“When first I knew Mr. Andrews,” writes one who knew him intimately, and
later was closely associated with him in his work, “he was a young man,
but young as he was to him were entrusted the most important and
responsible duties—the direct supervision of constructing the largest
ships built in the Yard from the laying of their keels until their
sailing from Belfast. Such a training eminently fitted him for the
important position to which he succeeded in 1905, that of Chief of the
Designing department. For one so young the position involved duties that
taxed him to the full. To superintend the construction of ships like the
_Baltic_ and _Oceanic_ was a great achievement, but at the age of
thirty-two to be Chief of a department designing leviathans like the
_Olympic_ was a greater one still. How well he rose to the call everyone
knows. No task was too heavy, and none too light, for him to grapple
with successfully. He seemed endowed with boundless energy, and his
interest in his work was unceasing.”

Others who knew him well during this important period of his career
testify in the like manner.

“Diligent to the point of strenuousness,” wrote one of them, “thinking
whilst others slept, reading while others played, through sheer toil and
ability he made for himself a position that few of his years attain”;
and then the writer, whose ideal of life is character, notes approvingly
and justly that Andrews worked not as a hireling, but in the spirit of
an artist whose work must satisfy his own exacting conscience.

Those boundless energies soon were given wider scope. Early in 1907 the
_Adriatic_ was finished, and in March of that same year he was made a
Managing Director of the Firm, the Right Hon. A. M. Carlisle being at
this time Chairman of the Board. Everyone knows, or can judge for
himself, what were the duties of this new position—this additional
position, rather, for he still remained Chief of the Designing
department—and what, in such a huge and complicated concern as the
Island works, the duties involved. Briefly we may summarise them.

A knowledge of its fifty-three branches equal to that of any of the
fifty-three men in charge of them; the supervising these, combining and
managing them so that all might, smoothly and efficiently, work to the
one great end assigned, the keeping abreast with the latest devices in
labour-saving appliances, with the newest means of securing economical
fitness, with the most modern discoveries in electrical, mechanical and
marine engineering—in short, everything relative to the construction and
equipment of modern steamships; and in addition all the numerous and
delicate duties devolving upon him as Lord Pirrie’s Assistant.
Furthermore, the many voyages of discovery, so to speak, which he made
as representative of the Firm, thereby, we are told by one with whom he
sailed often, “gaining a knowledge of sea life and the art of working a
ship unequalled in my experience by anyone not by profession a
seafarer”; and, lastly, his many inspections of, and elaborate reports
upon, ships and business works, together with his survey, at Lord
Pirrie’s instance, of the Harbours of Ireland, Canada, Germany, and

It seems a giant’s task. Even to us poor humdrum mortals, toiling meanly
on office stools at our twopenny enterprises, it seems more than a
giant’s task. Yet Andrews shouldered it, unweariedly, cheerily,
joyfully, for pure love of the task.

One sees him, big and strong, a paint-smeared bowler hat on his crown,
grease on his boots and the pockets of his blue jacket stuffed with
plans, making his daily round of the Yards, now consulting his Chief,
now conferring with a foreman, now interviewing an owner, now poring
over intricate calculations in the Drawing office, now in company with
his warm friend, old schoolfellow, and co-director, Mr. George Cumming
of the Engineering department, superintending the hoisting of a boiler
by the two hundred ton crane into some newly launched ship by a wharf.
Or he runs amok through a gang—to their admiration, be it said—found
heating their tea-cans before horn-blow; or comes unawares upon a party
enjoying a stolen smoke below a tunnel-shaft, and, having spoken his
mind forcibly, accepts with a smile the dismayed sentinel’s excuse that
“’twasn’t fair to catch him by coming like that into the tunnel instead
of by the way he was expected.” Or he kicks a red hot rivet, which has
fallen fifty feet from an upper deck, missing his head by inches, and
strides on laughing at his escape. Or he calls some laggard to stern
account, promising him the gate double quick without any talk next time.
Or he lends a ready hand to one in difficulties; or just in time saves
another from falling down a hold; or saying that married men’s lives are
precious, orders back a third from some dangerous place and himself
takes the risk. Or he runs into the Drawing office with a hospital note
and a gift of flowers and fruit for the sick wife of a draughtsman. Or
at horn-blow he stands by a ship’s gangway, down which four thousand
hungry men, with a ninety feet drop below them, are rushing for home
and supper, and with voice and eye controls them ... a guard rope breaks
... another instant and there may be grim panic on the gangway ... but
his great voice rings out, “Stand back, men,” and he holds them as in a
leash until the rope is made good again.

All in the day’s work, those and a thousand other incidents which men
treasure to-day in the Island, and, if you are tactful, will reveal to
you in their slow laconic Northern way. He has been in the Yard perhaps
since four or five o’clock—since six for a certainty. At seven or so he
will trudge home, or ride in a tramcar with the other workers, to sit
over his plans or his books well into the night.

One recalls a day, not long ago, spent most of it in tramping over the
Island Works, guided by two men who had worked for many years with
Andrews and who, like others we saw and thousands we did not see, held
his memory almost in reverence. In and out, up and down we went, through
heat and rain, over cobble stones and tram lines; now stepping on planks
right down the double bottom, three hundred yards long, from which was
soon to rise the _Titanic’s_ successor; now crouching amongst the shores
sustaining the huge bulk of another half-plated giant; now passing in
silent wonder along the huge cradles and ways above which another
monster stood ready for launching. Then into shop after shop in endless
succession, each needing a day’s journey to traverse, each wonderfully
clean and ordered, and all full of wonders. Boilers as tall as houses,
shafts a boy’s height in diameter, enormous propellers hanging like some
monstrous sea animal in chains, turbine motors on which workmen
clambered as upon a cliff, huge lathes, pneumatic hammers, and quiet
slow-moving machines that dealt with cold steel, shearing it, punching
it, planing it, as if it had been so much dinner cheese. Then up into
the Moulding Loft, large enough for a football ground, and its floor a
beautiful maze of frame lines; on through the Joiners’ shops, with their
tools that can do everything but speak; through the Smiths’ shops, with
their long rows of helmet-capped hearths, and on into the great airy
building, so full of interest that one could linger in it for a week,
where an army of Cabinetmakers are fashioning all kinds of ship’s
furniture. Then across into the Central power station, daily generating
enough electricity to light Belfast. On through the fine arched Drawing
hall, where the spirit of Tom Andrews seemed still to linger, and
into his office where often he sat drafting those reports, so
exhaustively minute, so methodical and neatly penned, which now have
such pathetic and revealing interest. Lastly, after such long
journeying, out to a wharf and over a great ship, full of stir and
clamour, and as thronged with workmen as soon it would be with

[Illustration: THE TURNING SHOP]

And often, as one went, hour after hour, one kept asking, “Had Mr.
Andrews knowledge of this, and this, and that?”

“Yes, of everything—he knew everything,” would be the patient answer.

“And could he do this, and this, and this?” one kept on.

“He could do anything,” would be the answer.

“Even how to drive an engine?”


“And how to rivet a plate?”

“He could have built a ship himself, and fitted her—yes, and sailed her
too”—was the answer we got; and then as one dragged wearily towards the
gateway (outside which, you will remember, young Tom waited one bitter
morning, disappointed but staunch) the guide, noting one’s plight, said,
“You will sleep well to-night?”

Why, yes, one felt like sleeping for a week!

“Ah, well,” was the quiet comment, “Mr. Andrews would do all that and
more three times maybe every day.”

All in the day’s work, you see. And when it was done, then home in a
tramcar, to have his dinner, a talk with his mother over the telephone,
and so to work again until eleven.

In 1901 Andrews became a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects,
and in the year following a Member of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers. He was also a Member of the Society of Naval Architects and
Marine Engineers (New York), and an Honorary Member of the Belfast
Association of Engineers.

In 1908 he made a home for himself at Dunallan, Windsor Avenue, Belfast,
marrying, on June 24th, Helen Reilly, younger daughter of the late John
Doherty Barbour, of Conway, Dunmurry, County Antrim, D.L.—worthiest and
most loyal of helpmates.

Concerning his married life, so woefully restricted in point of years as
it was rich in bounty of happiness, it is perhaps sufficient to say here
that, just before he sailed from Southampton, in April last, on that
final tragic voyage, he made occasion, one evening whilst talking with
a friend, to contrast his own lot with the lot of some husbands he knew;
saying, amongst other things, that in the whole time since his marriage,
no matter how often he had been away or how late he had stayed at the
Yard, never had Mrs. Andrews made a complaint.

She would not. With Jane Eyre she could say, “I am my husband’s life as
fully as he is mine.”

In 1910 a child was born to them and named Elizabeth Law Barbour.


All this is important, vital a great deal of it; but after all what
concerns us chiefly, in this brief record, is the kind of man Thomas
Andrews was—that and the fine end he made. Everything, one supposes, in
this workaday world, must eventually be expressed in terms of character.
Though a man build the Atlantic fleet, himself with superhuman vigour of
hand and brain, and have not character, what profiteth it him, and how
much the less profiteth it the fleets maybe, at last?

Perhaps of all the manual professions that of shipbuilding is the one
demanding from those engaged in it, masters and men, the sternest
rectitude. Good enough in the shipyard is never enough. Think what
scamped work, a flawed shaft, a badly laid plate, an error in
calculation, may mean some wild night out in the Atlantic; and when next
you are in Belfast go to Queen’s Island and see there, in the shops, on
the slips, how everyone is striving, or being made to strive, on your
behalf and that of all who voyage, for the absolute best—everything to a
hair’s breadth, all as strong and sound as hands can achieve, each
rivet of all the millions in a liner (perhaps the most impressive thing
one saw) tested separately and certified with its own chalk mark.

Well, Andrews, to the extent of his powers and position, was responsible
for that absolute best, and the fact that he was proves his
character—but does not of itself establish his claim to a place high and
apart. Many others assuredly have succeeded as speedily and notably as
he, taking success at its material valuation, and their names are
written, or one day will be written in the sand; but irrespective of the
great work he did and the great success he achieved, Andrews was a man,
in the opinion of all who knew him, whose name deserves to be graven in
enduring characters: and why that is so has yet, to some extent at
least, to be shown.

In appearance he made a fine figure, standing nearly six feet high,
weighing some two hundred pounds, well-built, straight, with broad
shoulders and great physical development. He had dark brown hair, sharp
clean-shaven features; you would call him handsome; his brown eyes met
yours with a look of the frankest kindliness, and when he gripped your
hand he took you, as it were, to himself. Even as you see him in a
portrait you feel constrained to exclaim, as many did at first sight of
him, “Well, _that’s_ a man!” He had a wonderful ringing laugh, an easy
way with him, an Irishman’s appreciation of humour. He was sunny,
big-hearted, full of gaiety. He loved to hear a good story, and could
tell you one as well as another. He had the luck to be simple in his
habits and pleasures, his food, his dress, his tastes. Give him health,
plenty of friends, plenty of work, and occasionally some spare hours in
which to enjoy a good book (Maeterlinck’s _Life of the Bee_ for
preference) and some good music, to go yachting on Strangford Lough, or
picnicking at the family bungalow on Braddock Island, or for a long
jolly ride with Mrs. Andrews in their little Renault round the Ards
Peninsula, and he was thoroughly content. When of a Saturday evening he
opened the door, so the servants at Ardara used to say, they like all
the rest waiting expectantly for his coming, it was as though a wind
from the sea swept into the house. All was astir. His presence filled
the place. Soon you would hear his father’s greeting, “Well, my big son,
how are you?” and thereafter, for one more week’s end, it was in Ardara
as though the schoolboy was home for a holiday. You would hear Tom’s
voice and laugh through the house and his step on the stairs; you would
see him, gloved and veiled, out working among his bees, scampering on
the lawn with the children, or playing with the dog, or telling many a
good story to the family circle. Everyone loved him—everyone.

A distinguished writer, Mr. Erskine Childers, in an estimate of Andrews,
judges that the charm of the man lay in a combination of power and
simplicity. Others tell how unassertive he was, and modest in the finest
sense; “one of nature’s gentlemen,” says a foreman who owed him much, no
pride at all, ready always to take a suggestion from anyone, always
expressing his views quietly and considerately; “having of himself,”
writes Mrs. Andrews, “the humblest opinion of anyone I ever knew.” And
then she quotes some lines he liked and wrote in her album:

    “_Do what you can, being what you are,
    Shine like a glow-worm, if you cannot as a star,
    Work like a pulley, if you cannot as a crane,
    Be a wheel-greaser, if you cannot drive a train_”;

and goes on to say how much Judge Payne’s familiar lines express the
spirit and motive of his actions throughout life, and how always he had
such a love for humanity that everyone with whom he came in contact felt
the tremendous influence of his unselfish nature. He was never so happy
as when giving and helping. Many a faltering youth on the threshold of
the world he took by the arm and led forward. A shipwright testifies “to
his frequent acknowledgment of what others, not so high as himself,
tried to do.” Another calls him “a kind and considerate chief and a good
friend always.” A third, in a letter full of heartbreak at his loss,
pays him fine tribute: “In the twenty years I have known him I never saw
in him a single crooked turn. He was always the same, one of the most
even-tempered men I ever worked with.”

Such spontaneous testimony to character is perhaps sufficient; but one
may crown it by repeating a story told, with full appreciation of its
value, by his mother. When King Edward and Queen Alexandra made their
memorable visit to Belfast in July, 1903, the line of route passed
through the street in which Andrews lived; and to witness the procession
he invited to his rooms, all decorated for the occasion and plentifully
supplied with dainties, a large party of children. “Well, my dear,” one
was asked afterwards, “and what did you think of the King?” “The King,”
answered the child—“oh, cousin Tommy was _our_ King.”

Regarding his remarkable powers of application and industry, enough too
has perhaps already been written; but what must be made clear, even at
the cost of repetition, for therein lay the man’s strength, was the
spirit in which he approached the great business of work.

It has been said, and doubtless will be said again, that for one to
labour as Andrews did, whatever the incentive or object, is an inhuman
process making for narrowness of manhood and a condition of drudgery.
Perhaps so. Herbert Spencer once expressed some such opinion. It is
largely a question of one’s point of view, to a lesser extent perhaps a
matter of aptitude or circumstance. At all events, in this respect, it
seems wise to distinguish as between man and man, and work and work; for
with the example of Andrews before them even cavillers must admit that
what they call drudgery can be well justified.

How he would have laughed had someone, even a Herbert Spencer, called
him a drudge! Anyone less the creature, however you regarded him, you
could not easily find. Work was his nature, his life; he throve upon
it, lived for it, loved it. And think what a work it was! The noblest,
one repeats, done by men.

In his dressingroom was hung a framed copy of Henry Van Dyke’s
well-known sonnet. It is worth quoting:

    “_Let me but do my work from day to day
    In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
    In roaring market-place, or tranquil room;
    Let me but find it in my heart to say,
    When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
    This is my work, my blessing, not my doom;
    Of all who live, I am the one by whom
    This work can best be done in my own way.
    Then shall I see it not too great nor small,
    To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
    Then shall I cheerfully greet the labouring hours,
    And cheerful turn, when the long shadows fall
    At eventide, to play, and love, and rest,
    Because I know for me my work is best._”

“This is my work, my blessing, not my doom ... because I know for me my
work is best”: can it be said that the man who worked in the spirit of
those words, having them before him like a prayer each morning and each
night, was not fulfilling destiny in a noble way? No mean thought of
self, no small striving after worldly success, but always the endeavour
to work in his own way to suit his spirit and to prove his powers. If
that way be narrow—well, so is the way narrow that leads to eternal

But, it might be said, Andrews had such opportunity and the rare good
fortune also to have his spirit suited with work that proved his powers.
It was so. Yet one knows certainly that had his opportunity been
different he would still have seized it; have been the best engine
driver in Ulster or have greased wheels contentedly and with all
diligence. One remembers the sentence from Ruskin which he had printed
on his Christmas card for 1910: “What we think, or what we know, or what
we believe, is in the end of little consequence. The only thing of
consequence is what we do.”

The best doing, always and every way, one knows how that aspiration
would appeal to Andrews, good Unitarian that he was; just as one knows
how Ruskin, he who made roads and had such burning sympathy always with
honest workers, would have appreciated Andrews and agreed that the name
of such a man should not perish as have the names of most other of the
world’s great Architects and Builders. “To-day I commence my
twenty-first year at the works, all interesting and happy days. I would
go right back over them again if I could”: one feels that the spirit of
those words, written by Andrews to his wife on May 1st, 1909, would have
appealed to Ruskin; and had he known the man would he not have noted, as
did another observer—Professor W. G. S. Adams,[2] of Oxford—“how it was
to the human question the man’s mind always turned,” and been eager to
judge, “that here was one who had in him the true stuff of the best kind
of captain of industry”?

    [2] It is interesting to note the circumstances which brought
    these two men together. Mr. Adams, who is now Professor of
    Political Theory and Institutions at Oxford, was then
    Superintendent of Statistics and Intelligence in the Irish
    Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. He went to
    Andrews as the man most likely to give him reliable information
    and sound opinions upon certain industrial questions of
    interest to the Department. A peculiar value attaches to the
    high regard in which Thomas Andrews was held by this
    distinguished political and economic thinker.

A captain of industry: the phrase is happy, and convincing too is the
passage wherein Mr. Erskine Childers gives his impression of Andrews as,
towards the close of 1911, he saw him one day working in the Island

“It was bracing to be near him,” writes Mr. Childers, and then goes on:
“His mind seemed to revel in its mastery, both of the details and of
the _ensemble_, both of the technical and the human side of a great
science, while restlessly seeking to enlarge its outlook, conquer new
problems, and achieve an ever fresh perfection. Whether it was about the
pitch of a propeller or the higher problems of design, speed, and
mercantile competition, one felt the same grip and enthusiasm and, above
all perhaps, the same delight in frank self-revelation.”


We come back, then, to Andrews as Mr. Childers saw him on that day in
the Yard—big, strong, inspiriting, full of enthusiasm and mastery—a
genuine captain of industry there on the scene of his triumphs, yet
revealing himself as modestly, we know, as any of the great army of
workers under his direction.

Before attempting to give some further and completer account of the
relations which existed between him and the Islanders, it may be well to
give a letter written by Andrews in 1905 to a young relative then
beginning work as an engineer:—

    “I am sorry I did not get a shake of your fist, old chap,
    before leaving, just to wish you good luck at your business and
    a good time at ——

    “Please accept from me the enclosed small gift to go towards a
    little pocket-money.

    “You are such a sensible boy I know that you require no advice
    from me, but as an old hand who has come through the mill
    myself I would just like to say how important it is for you to
    endeavour to give your employers full confidence in you from
    the start. This can best be gained:

    “(1) By punctuality and close attention to your work at all
    times—but don’t allow your health to suffer through overwork.

    “(2) Always carry out instructions given by those above you,
    whether you agree with them or not—and try to get instructions
    in writing if you are not sure of your man.

    “(3) Always treat those above you with respect, no matter
    whether they are fools or know less than yourself.

    “(4) Never give information unless you are perfectly sure,
    better to say you are not sure, but will look the matter up.

    “(5) Never be anxious to show how quick you are by being the
    first out of the shop when the horn blows. It is better on
    these occasions to be a bit slow.

    “Now this is a sermon by Thomas, but not one of your
    father’s—only that of an old cousin who has high expectations
    of you and is interested in your welfare.

    “Goodbye and good luck.”

That little sermon by Thomas, with its admixture of shrewdness, wisdom,
and kind-heartedness, may be taken as embodying the workaday rules of
duty perfected by Andrews through a varied experience of sixteen
years—rules doubtless as faithfully observed by himself as they were
commended for the guidance of others. What may be called its horse
sense, its blunt avowal of how to play the game, helps us towards a
fuller understanding of the man, puts him in the plain light through
which, every day in view of everyone, he passed. It shows us why he
succeeded, why in any circumstances and irrespective almost of his
higher qualities, he was bound to succeed. It explains, to some extent,
what a workman meant in calling him “a born leader of men.” It helps us
to understand why some called him a hard man and why he made a few
enemies; helps us also to understand why the Islander who threatened to
drop a bag of rivets on his head was treated with laughing amenity. What
Andrews demanded of others he exacted in greater measure of himself. If
at times he enforced his code of conduct with sternness, in that, as all
who felt the weight of his hand would eventually acknowledge, he was but
doing his plain duty. Did men skulk or scamp their job, they must be
shown decisively that a shipyard was no place for them. Someone
discovered asleep on a nine inch plank spanning an open ventilator must
be taught discretion. But no bullying, no unfairness—above all, no show
of malice.

If in Andrews’ nature was no trace of maliciousness, neither did there
lurk in it any meanness. Not once, but a thousand times, during the past
black months, has his character been summed with characteristic
terseness by the Island shipwrights:

“Just as a judge.... Straight as a die.... There wasn’t a crooked turn
in him”: simple phrases conveying a magnificent tribute. For what better
in anyone can you have than the straightness of a die, whether you
regard him as man or master? And such straightness in a shipbuilder is
not that the supreme quality?

At all events this quality of absolute rectitude, so indispensable in
other respects, was the main quality which, in their personal relations
with him, won for Andrews the admiration and esteem of the Islanders.
They could trust him. He would see fair play. “If he caught you doing
wrong he wasn’t afraid to tell you so.” “If he found you breaking a rule
he wouldn’t fire you straight away, but would give you the rough side of
his tongue and a friendly caution.” “So long as one reported a mistake
honestly he had consideration, but try to hide it away and he blazed at
you.” “He had a grand eye for good work and a good man, and the man who
did good work, no matter who he was, got a clap on the shoulder.” So the
Islanders, this man and that; and then once more comes the crowning
judgment on the tongue of so many, “He was straight as a die.”

But not that one quality alone gained for Andrews his great, one might
say his unique, popularity in the Yard. His vast knowledge, his mastery
of detail, his assiduity, his zest: all these merits had their due
effect upon the men: and effective too was the desire he showed always
to get the best possible out of every worker. It was not enough to _do_
your job, he expected you to _think_ about it: and if from your thinking
resulted a suggestion it got his best consideration. It might be
worthless—never mind, better luck next time; if it were worth a cent, he
would make it shine in your eyes like a dollar.

In addition, were those more personal qualities—emanations, so to speak,
of the man’s character: his generosity, kindliness, patience, geniality,
humour, humility, courage, that great laugh of his, the winning smile,
the fine breezy presence: of those also the men had constant and
intimate experience. Anyone in trouble might be sure of his sympathy.
After a spell of sickness his handshake and hearty greeting stirred new
life in your blood. Once he found a great fellow ill-treating a small
foreman who, for sufficient reason, had docked his wages; whereupon
Andrews took off his coat and hammered the bully. During labour and
party troubles, he several times, at risk of his life, saved men from
the mob. One day, in a gale, he climbed an eighty foot staging, rescued
the terrified man who had gone up to secure the loose boards, and
himself did the work. Another day, he lent a hand to a shipwright
toiling across the yard under a heavy beam, and as they went Andrews
asked, “How is it, M‘Ilwaine, you always like to be beside me?” “Ah,
sir,” was the reply, “it is because you carry up well.”

These incidents, chosen from so many, enable us to see why, in the words
of the Island poet, “though Andrews was our master we loved him to a
man.” He always carried up well, “stood four-square to all the winds
that blow.” Too often, those in authority rule as tyrants, using power
like some Juggernaut crushing under the beasts of burden. But Andrews,
following the example of his uncle, preferred to rule beneficently as a
man among his fellows.

“One evening,” writes Mrs. Andrews, “my husband and I were in the
vicinity of Queen’s Island, and noticing a long file of men going home
from work, he turned to me and said, ‘There go my pals, Nellie.’ I can
never forget the tone in his voice as he said that, it was as though the
men were as dear to him as his own brothers. Afterwards, on a similar
occasion, I reminded him of the words, and he said, ‘Yes, and they are
real pals too.’”

You see now why a colleague, Mr. Saxon Payne, secretary to Lord Pirrie,
could write, “It was not a case of liking him, we all loved him”; and
why during those awful days in April, when hope of good news at last had
gone, the Yard was shrouded in gloom and rough men cried like women.
They had lost a pal. And not they only. On both sides of the Atlantic,
wherever men resort whose business is in the great waters, owners,
commanders, directors, managers, architects, engineers, ships officers,
stewards, sailors, the name Tom Andrews is honoured to-day as that of
one whose remarkable combination of gifts claimed not only their
admiration, but their affection.

“What we are to do without Andrews,” said a Belfast ship-owner, “I don’t
know. He was probably the best man in the world for his job—knew
everything—was ready for anything—could manage everyone—and what a
friend! It’s irreparable. Surely of all men worth saving he ought to
have been saved. Yes, saved by force, for only in that way could it have
been done.”

Here, too, it may be mentioned that during his business career Andrews
received many acknowledgements of a gratifying description from those
whom in various ways he had served—amongst others from the White Star
Company, the Hamburg American Company and, what I daresay he valued as
much, from the stewards of the _Olympic_. Following the announcement of
his marriage, a Committee was organised at the Yard for the purpose of
showing him in a tangible way the esteem of the Islanders, but for
business reasons, or perhaps feeling a delicacy in accepting a
compliment without parallel in the history of the Yard, he whilst making
it plain how much the kindly thought had moved him, felt constrained to
ask the Committee to desist.

One may end this imperfect chapter with two more tributes, themselves
without any great literary merit perhaps, yet testifying sincerely, one
thinks, to the love which Andrews inspired in everyone.


Long ago, poor Doctor O’Loughlin wrote in collaboration with the Purser
of the _Oceanic_ some verses to be sung to the air _Tommy Atkins_.
Doubtless they have been sung at ship’s mess on many a voyage, and
perhaps have elsewhere been printed. One verse is given here:

    “_Neath a gantry high and mighty she had birth.
    And she’d bulk and length and height and mighty beam.
    And the world was only larger in its girth
    And she seemed to be a living moving dream.
    Then she rode so grandly o’er the sea
    That she seemed a beauty decked in bright array.
         And the whistle sounded loudly
         As she sailed along so proudly,
    That we all cried out ‘She must be quite O.K.’

         Oh Tommy Tommy Andrews we are all so proud of you,
         And to say we have the finest ship that e’er was built
           is true.
         May your hand ne’er lose its cunning, we don’t care how
           winds may roar
         For we know we have a frigate that can sail from shore
           to shore._”

The second tribute is taken from a _Lament_, written by the Island
poet in the ballad form so popular in Ireland, and circulated widely in
the Yard:

    “_A Queen’s Island Trojan, he worked to the last;
    Very proud we all feel of him here in Belfast;
    Our working-men knew him as one of the best—
    He stuck to his duty, and God gave him rest._”


It remains, before giving account of the finest action of his life, to
consider briefly, by way of rounding his portrait, what we may call
Andrews’ outside aspect—the side, that is, he might turn to some
Committee of Experts sitting in solemn judgment upon him as a possible
candidate for political honours.

That side, it may be said at once, is singularly unpretentious; and
indeed when we think of his absorption, heart and soul, in what he knew
for him was best, who could expect, or wish, it to be otherwise? In
Ulster, heaven knows, are publicists galore, and sufficient men too
willing to down tools at any outside horn-blow, that we should the less
admire one who spoke only once in public, took no open part in politics,
and was not even a strong party-man. He was, however, a member of the
Ulster Reform Club. Twice he was pressed to accept the presidency of
Unionist Clubs. Frequently he was urged to permit his nomination for
election to the City Council. The Belfast Harbour Board shared the
opinion of one of its leading members that “his youthful vigour, his
undoubted ability, and his genial personality, would have made him an
acquisition to this important Board.” His fellow-directors, in a
resolution of condolence, expressed their feeling that “not only had the
Firm lost a valued and promising leader, but the city an upright and
capable citizen, who, had he lived, would have taken a still more
conspicuous place in the industrial and commercial world.” Even in the
south, where admiration of Northerners is not commonly fervent, it was
admitted by many that in Andrews Ulster had at last found the makings of
a leader.

From such straws, blown in so prevailing a wind, we may determine the
estimation in which Andrews, as a prospective citizen, stood amongst
those who knew him and their own needs the best; and also perhaps may
roughly calculate the possibilities of that future which he himself, in
stray minutes of leisure, may have anticipated. But some there will be
doubtless whose admiration of Andrews is the finer because he kept the
path of his career straight to its course without any deviation to
enticing havens.

Such a man, however, the son of such a father, could not fail to have
views on the burning topics of his time, and no estimate of him would
be complete which gave these no heed.

He was, we are told, an Imperialist, loving peace and consequently in
favour of an unchallengeable Navy. He was a firm Unionist, being
convinced that Home Rule would spell financial ruin to Ireland, through
the partial loss of British credit, and of the security derived from
connection with a strong and prosperous partner. At times he was known
to express disapproval of the policy adopted by those Irish Unionists
who strove to influence British electors by appeals to passion rather
than by means of reasoned argument. Also he felt that Ireland would
never be happy and prosperous until agitation ceased and promise of
security were offered to the investing capitalist.

Though no believer in modern cities, he was of opinion that an effort
should be made to expand and stimulate Irish village life, it seeming to
him that a country dependent solely on agriculture was like a man
fighting the battle of life with one hand. Were, however, an approved
system of agriculture, such as that advocated by Sir Horace Plunkett,
joined with a considered scheme of town and village industries, he
believed that emigration would cease and Ireland find prosperity.

To the practical application of Tariff Reform he saw many difficulties,
but thought them not insuperable. In view of the needs of a world-wide
and growing Empire, “the necessity of preserving British work for
British people,” and the injury done to home trade by the unfair
competition of protected countries, he judged that the duties upon
imported necessities should be materially reduced and a counterbalancing
tax levied on all articles of foreign manufacture.

He advocated moderate Social reform on lines carefully designed to
encourage thrift, temperance and endeavour; and as one prime means
towards improving the condition, both moral and physical, of the workers
he would have the State, either directly or through local authorities,
provide them with decent homes.

To the consideration of Labour problems, particularly those coming
within the scope of his own experience, he gave much thought; and when
it is considered that his great popularity with all classes held steady
through the recent period of industrial unrest, we may judge that his
attitude towards Labour, in the mass as in the unit, was no mere
personal expression of friendliness. As his real pals he wanted to help
the workers, educate and lift them. Other things being equal, he always
favoured the men who used their heads as well as their hands; and if in
the management of their own affairs they used their heads, then also, so
much the better for all concerned. He considered that both in the
interests of men and masters, it was well for Labour to be organized
under capable leaders; but honest agreements should, he thought, be
binding on both sides and not liable to governmental interference.
Politicians and others should in their public utterances, he felt,
endeavour to educate the workers in the principles of economics relative
to trade, wages and the relations between capital and labour; but
publicists who, for party or like reasons, strove to foster class
hatreds and strifes he would hang by the heels from a gantry.

Where economically possible, the working day should, he thought, be
shortened, especially the day of all toiling in arduous and unwholesome
conditions. Similarly he was disposed to favour, when economically
possible, encouragement of the workers by means of a system of profit
sharing. He would, furthermore, give them every facility for technical
education, but such he knew from experience was of little value unless
supplemented by thorough practical knowledge gained in the workshop.

These views and opinions, whatever their intrinsic value in the eyes of
experts, are at least interesting. Sooner or later, had Andrews lived,
he would perhaps have made them the basis of public pronouncements; and
then indeed might his abounding energy, applied in new and luring
directions, have carried him to heights of citizenship.


Happily, there is no need in these pages to attempt any minute estimate
of the share Andrews had in building the _Titanic_. Such a task, were it
feasible, would offer difficulties no less testing than those met
courageously by half the world’s journalists when attempting to describe
the wonders of that ill-fated vessel—her length that of a suburban
street, her height the equivalent of a seventeen story building, her
elevator cars coursing up and down as through a city hotel, her
millionaire suites, her luxuries of squash racquet courts, Turkish and
electric bath establishments, salt water swimming pools, glass enclosed
sun parlours, verandah cafés, and all. Probably no one man, was solely
responsible for the beautiful thing. She was an evolution rather than a
creation, triumphant product of numberless experiments, a perfection
embodying who knows what endeavour, from this a little, from that a
little more, of human brain and hand and imagination. How many ships
were built, how many lost; how many men lived, wrought, and died that
the _Titanic_ might be?

So much being said, it may however be said further, that to her building
Andrews gave as much of himself as did any other man. All his experience
of ships, gained in the yards, on voyages, by long study, was in her;
all his deep knowledge, too, gathered during twenty years and now
applied in a crowning effort with an ardour that never flagged. It was
by the _Titanic_, “her vast shape slowly assuming the beauty and
symmetry which are but a memory to-day,” that Mr. Childers met Andrews
and noted in him those qualities of zest, vigour, power and simplicity,
which impressed him deeply. Yet Andrews then was no whit more
enthusiastic, we feel sure, than on any other day of the great ship’s
fashioning, from the time of her conception slowly down through the long
process of calculating, planning, designing, building, fitting, until at
last she sailed proudly away to the applause of half the world. Whatever
share others had in her, his at least cannot be gainsaid. As Lord
Pirrie’s Assistant he had done his part by way of shaping into tangible
form the projects of her owners. As Chief Designer and Naval Architect
he planned her complete. As Managing Director he saw her grow up, frame
by frame, plate by plate, day after day throughout more than two years;
watched her grow as a father watches his child grow, assiduously,
minutely, and with much the same feelings of parental pride and
affection. For Andrews this was _his_ ship, whatever his hand in her:
and in that she was “efficiently designed and constructed” as is now
established[3] his fame as a Shipbuilder may well rest. As surely none
other did, he knew her inside and out, her every turn and art, the power
and beauty of her, from keel to truck—knew her to the last rivet. And
because he knew the great ship so well, as a father knows the child born
to him, therefore to lose her was heartbreak.

    [3] Report of Mersey Commission, pp. 61 and 71.


On Tuesday morning, April 2nd, 1912, at 6 a.m., the _Titanic_ left
Belfast, in ideal weather, and was towed down Channel to complete her
trials. On board was Andrews, representing the Firm. Her compasses being
adjusted, the ship steamed towards the Isle of Man, and after a
satisfactory run returned to the Lough about 6 p.m. Throughout the whole
day Andrews was busy, receiving representatives of the owners,
inspecting and superintending the work of internal completion, and
taking notes. “Just a line,” he wrote to Mrs. Andrews, “to let you know
that we got away this morning in fine style and have had a very
satisfactory trial. We are getting more ship-shape every hour, but there
is still a great deal to be done.”

Having received letters and transferred workmen, the ship left
immediately for Southampton, Andrews still on board and with him,
amongst others, the eight brave men from the Island Yard who perished
with him. They were:

  William Henry Marsh Parr, Assistant Manager Electrical Department.
  Roderick Chisholm, Ships’ Draughtsman.
  Anthony W. Frost, Outside Foreman Engineer.
  Robert Knight, Leading Hand Engineer.
  William Campbell, Joiner Apprentice.
  Alfred  Fleming Cunningham, Fitter Apprentice.
  Frank Parkes, Plumber Apprentice.
  Ennis Hastings Watson, Electrician Apprentice.

During the whole of Wednesday, the 3rd, until midnight, when the ship
arrived at Southampton, Andrews was ceaselessly employed going round
with representatives of the owners and of the Firm, in taking notes and
preparing reports of work still to be done. All the next day, from an
early hour, he spent with managers and foremen putting work in hand.

In the evening he wrote to Mrs. Andrews: “I wired you this morning of
our safe arrival after a very satisfactory trip. The weather was good
and everyone most pleasant. I think the ship will clean up all right
before sailing on Wednesday”: and then he mentions that the doctors
refused to allow Lord Pirrie to make the maiden voyage.

Thereafter from day to day, until the date of sailing, he was always
busy, taking the owners round ship, interviewing engineers, officials,
agents, managers, sub-contractors, discussing with principals the plans
of new ships, and superintending generally the work of completion.

“Through the various days that the vessel lay at Southampton,” writes
his Secretary, Mr. Thompson Hamilton, “Mr. Andrews was never for a
moment idle. He generally left his hotel about 8.30 for the offices,
where he dealt with his correspondence, then went on board until 6.30,
when he would return to the offices to sign letters. During the day I
took to the ship any urgent papers and he always dealt with them no
matter what his business.” Nothing he allowed to interfere with duty. He
was conscientious to the minutest detail. “He would himself put in their
place such things as racks, tables, chairs, berth ladders, electric
fans, saving that except he saw everything right he could not be

One of the last letters he wrote records serious trouble with the
restaurant galley hot press, and directs attention to a design for
reducing the number of screws in stateroom hat hooks.

Another of earlier date, in the midst of technicalities about cofferdams
and submerged cylinders on the propeller boss, expresses agreement with
the owner that the colouring of the pebble dashing on the private
promenade decks was too dark, and notes a plan for staining green the
wicker furniture on one side of the vessel.

Withal, his thought for others never failed. Now he is arranging for a
party to view the ship; now writing to a colleague, “I have always in
mind a week’s holiday due to you from last summer and shall be glad if
you will make arrangements to take these on my return, as, although you
may not desire to have them, I feel sure that a week’s rest will do you

On the evening of Sunday, the 7th, he wrote to Mrs. Andrews giving her
news of his movements and dwelling upon the plans he had in mind for the

On the 9th he wrote: “The _Titanic_ is now about complete and will I
think do the old Firm credit to-morrow when we sail.”

On the 10th he was aboard at 6 o’clock, and thence until the hour of
sailing he spent in a long final inspection of the ship. She pleased
him. The old Firm was sure of its credit. Just before the moorings were
cast off he bade goodbye to Mr. Hamilton and the other officials. He
seemed in excellent health and spirits. His last words were, “Remember
now and keep Mrs. Andrews informed of any news of the vessel.”

The _Titanic_, carrying 2,201 souls, left Southampton punctually at noon
on April 10th. There was no departure ceremony. On her way from dock she
passed the _Majestic_ and the _Philadelphia_, both giants of twenty
years ago and now by contrast with Leviathan humbled to the stature of
dwarfs. About a mile down the water she passed Test Quay, where the
_Oceanic_ and the _New York_ lay berthed. Her wash caused the _New York_
to break her moorings and drift into the Channel. As the _Titanic_ was
going dead slow danger of a collision was soon averted, “but,” as
Andrews wrote that evening, “the situation was decidedly unpleasant.”

From Cherbourg he wrote again to Mrs. Andrews: “We reached here in nice
time and took on board quite a number of passengers. The two little
tenders looked well, you will remember we built them about a year ago.
We expect to arrive at Queenstown about 10.30 a.m. to-morrow. The
weather is fine and everything shaping for a good voyage. I have a seat
at the Doctor’s table.”

One more letter was received from him by Mrs. Andrews, and only one,
this time from Queenstown, and dated April 11th. Everything on board was
going splendidly, he said, and he expressed his satisfaction at
receiving so much kindness from everyone.

Here all direct testimony ceases. Proudly, in eye of the world, the
_Titanic_ sailed Westward from the Irish coast; then for a while
disappeared; only to reappear in a brief scene of woefullest tragedy
round which the world stayed mute. If, as is almost certain, a chronicle
of the voyage was made by Andrews, both it and the family letters he
wrote now are gone with him. But fortunately, we have other evidence,
plentiful and well-attested, and on such our story henceforward runs.

The steward, Henry E. Etches, who attended him says, that during the
voyage, right to the moment of disaster, Andrews was constantly busy.
With his workmen he went about the boat all day long, putting things
right and making note of every suggestion of an imperfection. Afterwards
in his stateroom, which is described as being full of charts, he would
sit for hours, making calculations and drawings for future use.

Others speak of his great popularity with both passengers and crew. “I
was proud of him,” writes the brave stewardess, Miss May Sloan, of
Belfast, whose testimony is so invaluable. “He came from home and he
made you feel on the ship that all was right.” And then she adds how
because of his big, gentle, kindly nature everyone loved him. “It was
good to hear his laugh and have him near you. If anything went wrong it
was always to Mr. Andrews one went. Even when a fan stuck in a
stateroom, one would say, ‘Wait for Mr. Andrews, he’ll soon see to it,’
and you would find him settling even the little quarrels that arose
between ourselves. Nothing came amiss to him, nothing at all. And he was
always the same, a nod and a smile or a hearty word whenever he saw you
and no matter what he was at.”

Two of his table companions, Mr. and Mrs. Albert A. Dick, of Calgary,
Alberta, also tell how much they came to love Andrews because of his
character, and how good it was to see his pride in the ship, “but upon
every occasion, and especially at dinner on Sunday evening, he talked
almost constantly about his wife, little girl, mother and family, as
well as of his home.”

This pre-occupation with home and all there, was noticed too by Miss
Sloan. Sometimes, between laughs, he would suddenly fall grave and
glance, you might say, back over a shoulder towards Dunallan and Ardara
far off near Strangford Lough.

“I was talking to him on the Friday night as he was going into dinner,”
writes Miss Sloan, in a letter dated from the _Lapland_ on April 27th.
“The dear old Doctor[4] was waiting for him on the stair-landing, and
calling him by his Christian name, Tommy. Mr. Andrews seemed loth to go,
he wanted to talk about home; he was telling me his father was ill and
Mrs. Andrews not so well. I was congratulating him on the beauty and
perfection of the ship; he said the part he did not like was that the
_Titanic_ was taking us further away from home every hour. I looked at
him and his face struck me as having a very sad expression.”

    [4] Dr. W. F. N. O’Loughlin, Senior Surgeon of the White Star
    Line, a close friend of Andrews and his companion on many
    voyages. Some lines which he helped to write have been quoted.
    Soon after the ship struck he said to Miss Sloan—“child, things
    are very bad,” and went to his death bravely. His Assistant,
    Dr. T. E. Simpson, son of an eminent Belfast physician, and
    himself a physician of much promise, died with him.

One other glimpse we have of him, then in that brief time of triumph,
whilst yet the good ship of his which everyone praised was speeding
Westwards, “in perfectly clear and fine weather,” towards the place
where “was no moon, the stars were out, and there was not a cloud in the
sky.”[5] For more than a week he had been working at such pressure, that
by the Friday evening many saw how tired as well as sad he looked: but
by the Sunday evening, when his ship was as perfect, so he said, as
brains could make her, he was himself again. “I saw him go in to
dinner,” said Miss Sloan, “he was in good spirits, and I thought he
looked splendid.”

    [5] Report of Mersey Commission, p. 29.

An hour or two afterwards he went aft to thank the baker for some
special bread he had made for him; then back to his stateroom, where
apparently he changed into working clothes, and sat down to write.

He was still writing, it would seem, when the Captain called him.


On the night of Sunday, 14th April, at 11 40 ship’s time, in clear fine
weather, near Latitude 41° 46′ N., Longitude 50° 14′ W., the _Titanic_
collided with the submerged spur of an iceberg and ripped her starboard
side ten feet above the level of the keel for a length of about three
hundred feet, thereby giving access to the sea in six of her forward

The calamity came with dreadful swiftness. In the vivid words of a
stoker, on duty at the time of collision some two hundred and fifty feet
from the stem: “All of a sudden the starboard side of the ship came in
upon us; it burst like a big gun going off; the water came pouring in
and swilled our legs.” Within ten minutes the water rose fourteen feet
above the keel in five of the compartments; afterwards it rose steadily
in all six; and by midnight had submerged the lower deck in the foremost
hold. Yet so gentle apparently was the shock of contact that among the
passengers, and probably among most of the crew as well, it was only the
stopping of the engines that warned them of some happening; whilst for
a considerable time, so quietly the great ship lay on the flat sea, such
confidence had all in her strength, and so orderly was everything, that
to many, almost to the last, it seemed impossible that disaster had

    [6] Mersey Commission Report; Sir William White’s letter to the
    _Times_, dated May 14th.

“At first we did not realise,” says Mr. Albert Dick,[7] “that the
_Titanic_ was mortally wounded.... I do not believe that anyone on her
realised she was going to sink.” Mr. Dick goes on to record that, in his
view, nothing deserved more praise than the conduct of Andrews after the
ship had struck. “He was on hand at once and said that he was going
below to investigate. We begged him not to go, but he insisted, saying
he knew the ship as no one else did and that he might be able to allay
the fears of the passengers. He went.

    [7] _New York Herald_, April 20th, 1912.

“As the minutes flew by we did not know what to do or which way to
turn.... Captain Smith was everywhere doing his best to calm the rising
tide of fear.... But in the minds of most of us there was ... the
feeling that something was going to happen, and we waited for Mr.
Andrews to come back.

“When he came we hung upon his words, and they were these: ‘There is no
cause for any excitement. All of you get what you can in the way of
clothes and come on deck as soon as you can. She is torn to bits below,
but she will not sink if her after bulkheads hold.’

“It seemed almost impossible that this could be true ... and many in the
crowd smiled, thinking this was merely a little extra knowledge that Mr.
Andrews saw fit to impart....”

It is almost certain that Andrews, who knew the ship as no one else did,
realised at his first sight of her wounds—a three hundred feet gash, six
compartments open to the sea and perhaps twenty feet of water in one or
more of them—that she was doomed. Possibly with some of his faithful
assistants, probably with Captain Smith, he had made a thorough
examination of the damaged side, reporting to the Captain as result of
his examination that the ship could not live more than an hour and a
half, and advising him to clear away the boats.

How this order was carried out, with what skill and unselfishness on the
part of Captain Smith and his officers, has been told elsewhere[8] in
full detail; nor is it necessary to record further here than that
eventually, after two hours of heroic work, a total of 652 lives left
the _Titanic_ in eighteen boats. Subsequently 60 more were rescued from
the sea, or transferred from the collapsibles, making a sum total of 712
rescued by the _Carpathia_. 712 out of 2,201: it seems tragically few!
Yet at midnight it may have seemed to Andrews that fewer still could be
saved, for not even he hoped that his ship could live for two hours and
twenty minutes more.

    [8] _E.g._, Mersey Commission Report, pp. 39-41.

As he came up from the grim work of investigation he saw Miss Sloan and
told her that as an accident had happened it would be well, just by way
of precaution, to get her passengers to put on warm clothing and their
life belts and assemble on the Boat deck. But she read his face, “which
had a look as though he were heart broken,” and asked him if the
accident were not serious. He said it was very serious; then, bidding
her keep the bad news quiet for fear of panic, he hurried away to the
work of warning and rescue.

Another stewardess gives an account of Andrews, bareheaded and
insufficiently clad against the icy cold, going quietly about bidding
the attendants to rouse all passengers and get them up to the boats.

Overhearing him say to Captain Smith on the Upper deck, “Well, three
have gone already, Captain,” she ran to the lower stairway and to her
surprise found water within six steps of her feet. Whereupon she hurried
above to summon help, and returning met Andrews, who told her to advise
passengers to leave the Upper deck.

Ten minutes went. The water had crept further up the stairway. Again
Andrews came to her and said, “Tell them to put on warm clothing, see
that everyone has a lifebelt and get them all up to the Boat deck.”

Another fifteen minutes went. The top of the stairway was now nearly
awash. A second time Andrews came. “Open up all the spare rooms,” he
ordered. “Take out all lifebelts and spare blankets and distribute

This was done. Attendants and passengers went above to the Boat deck.
But returning for more belts, the stewardess again met Andrews. He asked
her whether all the ladies had left their rooms. She answered “Yes, but
would make sure.”

“Go round again,” said he; and then, “Did I not tell you to put on your
lifebelt. Surely you have one?”

She answered “Yes, but I thought it means to wear it.”

“Never mind that,” said he. “Now, if you value your life, put on your
coat and belt, then walk round the deck and let the passengers see you.”

“He left me then,” writes the stewardess, “and that was the last I saw
of what I consider a true hero and one of whom his country has cause to
be proud.”

In how far Andrews’ efforts and example were the means of averting what
might well have been an awful panic, cannot be said; but sure it is that
all one man could do in such service, both personally and by way of
assisting the ship’s officers, was done by him. “He was here, there and
everywhere,” says Miss Sloan, “looking after everybody, telling the
women to put on lifebelts, telling the stewardesses to hurry the women
up to the boats, all about everywhere, thinking of everyone but

Others tell a similar story, how calm and unselfish he was, now pausing
on his way to the engine-room to reassure some passengers, now earnestly
begging women to be quick, now helping one to put on her lifebelt—“all
about everywhere, thinking of everybody but himself.”

It is certain also that on the Boat deck he gave invaluable help to the
officers and men engaged in the work of rescue. Being familiar with the
boats’ tackle and arrangement he was able to aid effectively at their
launching; and it was whilst going quietly from boat to boat, probably
in those tragic intervals during which the stewardess watched the water
creep up the stairway, that he was heard to say: “Now, men, remember you
are Englishmen. Women and children first.”

Some twenty minutes before the end, when the last distress signal had
been fired in vain, when all that Upper deck and the Fore deck as well
were ravaged by the sea, there was a crush and a little confusion near
the place where the few remaining boats were being lowered, women and
children shrinking back, some afraid to venture, some preferring to stay
with their husbands, a few perhaps in the grip of cold and terror. Then
Andrews came and waving his arms gave loud command:

“Ladies, you must get in at once. There is not a minute to lose. You
cannot pick and choose your boat. Don’t hesitate. Get in, get in!”

They obeyed him. Do they remember to-day, any of them, that to him they,
as so many more, may owe their lives?

A little way back from that scene, Miss Sloan stood calmly waiting and
seeing Andrews for the last time. She herself was not very anxious to
leave the ship, for all her friends were staying behind and she felt it
was mean to go. But the command of the man, who for nearly two hours she
had seen doing as splendidly as now he was doing, came imperatively.
“Don’t hesitate! There’s not a moment to lose. Get in!” So she stepped
into the last boat and was saved.

It was then five minutes past two. The _Titanic_ had fifteen minutes
more to live.

Well, all was done now that could be done, and the time remaining was
short. The Forecastle head was under water. All around, out on the sea,
so calm under those wonderful stars, the boats were scattered, some
near, some a mile away or more, the eyes of most in them turned back
upon the doomed ship as one by one her port lights, that still burnt row
above row in dreadful sloping lines, sank slowly into darkness. Soon the
lines would tilt upright, then flash out and flash bright again; then,
as the engines crashed down through the bulkheads, go out once more, and
leave that awful form standing up against the sky, motionless, black,
preparing for the final plunge.

But that time was not yet. Some fifteen minutes were left: and in those
minutes we still have sight of Andrews.

One met him, bareheaded and carrying a lifebelt, on his way to the
bridge perhaps to bid the Captain goodbye.

Later, an assistant steward saw him standing alone in the smoking-room,
his arms folded over his breast and the belt lying on a table near him.
The steward asked him, “Aren’t you going to have a try for it, Mr.

He never answered or moved, “just stood like one stunned.”

What did he see as he stood there, alone, rapt? We who know the man and
his record can believe that before him was home and all the loved ones
there, wife and child, father and mother, brothers and sister,
relatives, friends—that picture and all it meant to him then and there;
and besides, just for a moment maybe, and as background to all that,
swift realisation of the awful tragedy ending his life, ending his ship.

But whatever he saw, in that quiet lonely minute, it did not hold or
unman him. Work—work—he must work to the bitter end.

Some saw him for the last time, down in the Engine-room, with Chief
engineer Bell and Archie Frost and the other heroes, all toiling like
men to keep the lights going and the pumps at work.

Others saw him, a few minutes before the end, on the Boat deck, our
final and grandest sight of him, throwing deck chairs overboard to the
unfortunates struggling in the water below.

Then, with a slow long slanting dive, the _Titanic_ went down, giving to
the sea her short-spanned life and with it the life of Thomas Andrews.

So died this noble man. We may hope that he lies, as indeed he might be
proud to lie, in the great ship he had helped to fashion.


At the request of the Family the publishers have inserted the following
cables and letters which were received when the news of the disaster
first became public.

     _Cable dated New York, 19th April, 1912, addressed to Mr.
     James Moore, Belfast._

     Interview _Titanic’s_ officers. All unanimous Andrews heroic
     unto death, thinking only safety others. Extend heartfelt
     sympathy to all.

                                           JAMES MONTGOMERY.

     _Cable dated 21st April, 1912, received by the White Star Line
     in Liverpool from their Office in New York._

     After accident Andrews ascertained damage, advised passengers
     to put on heavy clothing and prepare to leave vessel. Many
     were sceptical about the seriousness of the damage, but
     impressed by Andrews’ knowledge and personality, followed his
     advice, and so saved their lives. He assisted many women and
     children to lifeboats. When last seen, officers say, he was
     throwing overboard deck chairs and other objects to people in
     the water, his chief concern the safety of everyone but

     _Extract from letter written by Lord Pirrie to his sister,
     Mrs. Thomas Andrews, Sen._

     “A finer fellow than Tommie never lived, and by his
     death—unselfishly beautiful to the last—we are bereft of the
     strong young life upon which such reliance had come to be
     placed by us elders who loved and needed him.”

     _Copy of Letter received by Mrs. Thomas Andrews, Jun., from
     Mr. Bruce Ismay._

                                 30 JAMES STREET,
                                    LIVERPOOL, _31st May_, 1912.


     Forgive me for intruding upon your grief, but I feel I must
     send you a line to convey my most deep and sincere sympathy
     with you in the terrible loss you have suffered. It is
     impossible for me to express in words all I feel, or make you
     realise how truly sorry I am for you, or how my heart goes out
     to you. I knew your husband for many years, and had the
     highest regard for him, and looked upon him as a true friend.
     No one who had the pleasure of knowing him could fail to
     realise and appreciate his numerous good qualities and he will
     be sadly missed in his profession. Nobody did more for the
     White Star Line, or was more loyal to its interests than your
     good husband, and I always placed the utmost reliance on his

     If we miss him and feel his loss so keenly, what your feelings
     must be I cannot think. Words at such a time are useless, but
     I could not help writing to you to tell you how truly deeply I
     feel for you in your grief and sorrow.

                                   Yours sincerely,
                                                BRUCE ISMAY.

     _Letter from Sir Horace Plunkett to Right Hon. Thomas

                                 THE PLUNKETT HOUSE,
                                     DUBLIN, _19th April_, 1912.


     No act of friendship is so difficult as the letter of
     condolence upon the loss of one who is near and dear. Strive
     as we may to avoid vapid conventionality, we find ourselves
     drifting into reflections upon the course of nature, the
     cessation of suffering, the worse that might have been, and
     such offers of comfort to others which we are conscious would
     be of little help to ourselves. In writing to you and your
     wife on the sorrow of two worlds, which has fallen so heavily
     upon your home and family, I feel no such difficulty. There is
     no temptation to be conventional, but it is hard to express in
     words the very real consolation which will long be cherished
     by the wide circle of those now bitterly deploring the early
     death of one who was clearly marked out for a great career in
     the chief _doing_ part of Irish life.

     Of the worth of your son I need not speak to you—nothing I
     could say of his character or capacity could add to your pride
     in him. But you ought to know that we all feel how entirely to
     his own merits was due the extraordinary rapidity of his rise
     and the acknowledged certainty of his leadership in what
     Ulster stands for before the world. When I first saw him in
     the shipyard he was in a humble position, enjoying no
     advantage on account of your relationship to one of his
     employers. Even then, as on many subsequent occasions, I
     learned, or heard from my Irish fellow-workers, that this
     splendid son of yours had the best kind of public spirit—that
     which made you and Sinclair save the Recess Committee at its

     It may be that the story of your poor boy’s death will never
     be told, but I seem to see it all. I have just come off the
     sister ship, whose captain was a personal friend, as was the
     old doctor who went with him to the _Titanic_. I have been
     often in the fog among the icebergs. I have heard, in over
     sixty voyages, many of those awful tales of the sea. I know
     enough to be aware that your son might easily have saved
     himself on grounds of public duty none could gainsay. What
     better witness could be found to tell the millions who would
     want and had a right to know why the great ship failed, and
     how her successors could be made, as she was believed to be,
     unsinkable? None of his breed could listen to such promptings
     of the lower self when the call came to show to what height
     the real man in him could rise. I think of him displaying the
     very highest quality of courage—the true heroism—without any
     of the stimulants which the glamour and prizes of battle
     supply—doing all he could for the women and children—and then
     going grimly and silently to his glorious grave.

     So there is a bright side to the picture which you of his
     blood and his widow must try to share with his and your
     friends—with the thousands who will treasure his memory. It
     will help you in your bereavement, and that is why I intrude
     upon your sorrow with a longer letter than would suffice to
     tender to you and Mrs. Andrews and to all your family circle a
     tribute of heartfelt sympathy.

     Pray accept this as coming not only from myself but also from
     those intimately associated with me in the Irish work which
     brought me, among other blessings, the friendship of men like

                              Believe me,
                                    Yours always,
                                            HORACE PLUNKETT.

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