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Harry Giles, Fireman

5th July, 1955,

Dear Mr.Lord, In reply to your letter of June 19th, 1955, I hope the following particulars will be of some help to you in completing your book about the "Titanic" disaster.

I was a fireman on the ship at the time, getting ready to go on the 12 P.M. to 4 A.M. watch, when I heard a scraping sound at about 11 P.M. Our leading hand told us to proceed to the boat deck. There did not seem to be any sign of damage or water in the ship just then. On arriving at the boat deck, I noticed that all the Port lifeboats had been lowered full of passengers. My duties lay in getting the passengers into the lifeboats.

All the passengers were calm and there was no panic, partly because they felt sure that the "Titanic" would not sink, and some of them would not enter the lifeboats. Everything was quite orderly where I was, with the orchestra playing "Nearer my God to thee", and other hymns. I finally left the boat in No.11 lifeboat full of passengers, and the only surviving officer.

Eventually we were picked up by S/S "Carpathia" at approx 6 A.M. Monday 15th April 1912, after(5) five hours in the lifeboats. The S/S "Carpathia" was commanded by Captain Parr, a grand skipper who never left the bridge throughout the very rough weather until the vessel arrived at New York on Wednesday about 10.00 P.M.

The American people in New York were most hospitable to us all and I have nothing but great praise for them, and that goes for my shipmates as well.

I returned to England in the S/S"Lapland"

I have served in the Merchant Navy during the Boer War, the Great War and the Second World War, I am aged 78 years and my wife and I are living on Old Age Pension.

Yours Sincerely F.Glasspool P.P. (Mr) H.Giles

P.S. Do you happen to have a picture of the ship. I maybe able to get a newspaper one if of any help.


1. Spelling and punctuation have been preserved, where possible.
2. Giles' time of impact is wrong
3. Captain Rostron was in command of the Carpathia
4. The Carpathia actually arrived in New York on Thursday, April 18th.
5. Encyclopedia Titanica suggests that Giles and another surviving fireman, "H. Oliver," may have been one and the same based on their addresses (and it is known that some Titanic crewmen signed on under pseudonyms). Peter Engberg on the Facebook ET Editorial Group disputes that the two men were one and the same, saying that a Henry Robert Giles was born in Portsmouth in June 1878, and Harry Oliver was born in Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 19th March 1871. Both men appear on the Merchant Navy Seamen's Register. Only Oliver's name appear on the Titanic's crew roster.

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