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Mr.Colin Farquhar MacDonald, a Marine Engineer, was in Southampton when Titanic sailed, and says he narrowly missed sailing on the ship. He wrote to Walter Lord:
"You didn't mention the Engineers all died no message was given to them to abandon their posts. the truth is from Farquharson the second Engineer sent one of the oilers up to see what was happening, the oiler reported "all the boats are gone and is ship is down by the head". The Engineers could get no reply from the bridge either by phone or speaking tube, the Chief Engineer than ordered all hands on deck to [save themselves ?]. Captain Smith had the reputation of an autocrat and rebuked the officer who informed him of orders he got from [?] icebergs and nothing was down [done?] to slacken speedafter the warnings he got on his wireless, earlier in the evening.
1. Spelling and punctuation have been preserved, where possible.
2. Mr Farquhar MacDonald's main reason for writing was to suggest that one of the engineers, Jonathan Shepherd, got injured when he was in the bilges, and the iceberg slicing past chopped off his legs [!]. Despite illuminating his theory with a cross-section of the tank top and boiler room of the Titanic, Walter Lord was sceptical: his info on Shepherd came from, as he said, "the British Inquiry and a talk he had with one of the surviving stokers".
3. How did Mr Farquhar MacDonald find out his information if "all the engineers" and Captain Smith died? Perhaps a clue lies in his name? He writes of second engineer Farquharson; a strange coincidence that the writer shares a partial similarity of name. Was Farquhar MacDonald related to Farquharson? Did a survivor pass on this information to Farquhar MacDonald? If this is the case, this information did not surface during the inquiries.