About John (Titanic Casualty) Collins
- Name: Mr John Collins
- Age: 17 years
- Marital Status: Single.
- Last Residence: in Belfast Northern Ireland
- Occupation: Scullion
- Victualling crew
- First Embarked: Southampton
- Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
- Died: Thursday 6th February 1941
- Cause of Death: Syphilis
Mr John Collins, 17, was born in Belfast on 24 October 1894. Before joining the Titanic he had previously been employed by the Ulster Reform Club, Belfast and resided at 65 Ballycarry Street, Belfast.
When he signed on the Titanic on 4 April, 1912 he gave his Belfast address and indicated that the Titanic was his first ship. As a Scullion he received £3 10s per month.
On the evening of the 14 April, Collins stopped work at 9 o'clock and walked up and down the alleyway for a bit, before going to his bunk where he fell asleep, around 10 o'clock. He was jarred awake by the collision and put on his trousers. He got out of bed and heard them letting off steam in the stoke hole. He proceeded on to the forewell deck "and saw the deck almost packed with ice on the starboard side." Following his journey, he returned below where word was passed that it was not serious. He went back into his bunk, but remained dressed. Soon after he came out again and saw stewards in their white jackets in the passageway directing passengers. Soon word came to get life belts on and get up to the upper deck. He proceeded to the deck, where he met with a steward he had befriended and asked his lifeboat assignment. He was told No. 16, so he went up to that boat and saw firemen and stewards "with their bags ready for No. 16." Sensing there was no hope for him with that boat he proceeded to along the port side saloon deck where he found a steward helping a woman and her two children. The steward had one of the children in his arms and the woman was crying. Collins took the child off of the woman and the group made for one of the boats. They saw the collapsible boat taken off of the saloon deck, and then the men forward began shouting to go aft. Just as they were turning around and making for the stern end a wave washed them off the deck. The child that Collins was carried was washed from his arms. He was held under the surface for a bit by some wreckage and the people around him, but he finally managed to break the surface. He saw the boat that had been taken off, collapsible B, with a man on it. He swam over to it and pulled himself aboard.
The boat drifted about a mile and a half from the Titanic, from where she sank. Collins described an explosion followed by the stern popping back in the water. It then turned over and went down. They were drifting about for a few hours, when they saw the lights of the Carpathia, her topmast lights first. With daylight, they saw their own lifeboats and shouted to them. Those standing on the overturned collapsible were taken aboard lifeboats 4 and 12.
Collins later testified before the U. S. Senate inquiry into the disaster.
He died in a psychiatric hospital in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 6 February 1941.
References and Sources
- Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
- Stephen Cameron (1998) Titanic: Belfast's Own. Dublin, Wolfhound Press. ISBN 0 86327 685 7
- United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
- Phillip Gowan, USA
- Rob Ottmers, USA
John (Titanic Casualty) Collins's Timeline
October 24, 1894
February 6, 1941