About Thomas William Jones
Mr Thomas William Jones
- Born in Anglesey Wales
- Age: 32 years
- Last Residence: at 68 Nesfield Street Liverpool Merseyside England
- Occupation: Able Seaman
- Last Ship: Oceanic
- Deck crew
- First Embarked: Southampton
- Rescued (boat 8)
- Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
- Died: 1967
Thomas Jones from Anglesey, Wales was put in command of lifeboat 8.
The captain asked me if the plug was in the boat and I answered "Yes, Sir" "All right," he said "any more ladies?" He shouted twice again, "any more ladies?" I pulled for the light, but I found that I could not get to it; so I stood by for a while. I wanted to return to the ship, but the ladies were frightened. In all I had thirty-five ladies and three stewards, Crawford, Hart and another. There were no men who offered to get in the boat. I did not see any children, and very few women when we left the ship. There was one old lady there and an old gentleman, her husband. She wanted him to enter the boat with her but he backed away(1). She never said anything; if she did, we could not hear it, because the steam was blowing so and making such a noise. Senator Newlands: Can you give the names of any passengers on this boat? Witness: One lady—she had a lot to say and I put her to steering the boat. Senator Newlands: What was her name? Witness: Lady Rothes; she was a countess or something.
American Inquiry, p.570
Jones apparently admired the Countess of Rothes very much indeed. In fact he later presented her with the brass number plate of the boat and in later years they maintained a correspondence.
The countess's cousin Miss Gladys Cherry was also in boat 8 and later wrote the following letter which was printed in a number of Newspapers:
WANTED TO GO BACK LETTER TO TITANIC HERO
Thomas Jones, a native of Anglesey, who was an able seaman on the Titanic, has received the following letter, dated from the Great Northern Hotel, New York:
I feel I must write and tell you how splendidly you took charge of our boat on the fatal night. There were only four English people in it-my cousin Lady Rothes, her maid, you and myself-and I think you were wonderful.
The dreadful regret I shall always have, and I know you share with me, is that we ought to have gone back to see whom we could pick up; but if you remember, there was only an American lady, my cousin, self and you who wanted to return. I could not hear the discussion very clearly, as I was at the tiller; but everyone forward and the three men refused; but I shall always remember your words: "ladies, if any of us are saved, remember, I wanted to go back. I would rather drown with them than leave them." You did all you could, and being my own countryman, I wanted to tell you this.
Yours very truly, Gladys Cherry.
In an interview Jones said that there were thirty-five ladies and three men in his boat. When he saw that the Titanic had sunk he wanted to go back and save some of those struggling in the water, but was 'overruled'.
Notes 1. Jones is probably referring to Mr and Mrs Isidor Straus
Available Documents Crew Particulars of Engagement Account of Wages (Courtesy of Henry Aldridge and Son, Aunctioneers)
Inquiry Testimony (Courtesy of the Titanic Inquiry Project) United States Senate Hearings, 25 April 1912, Testimony
References Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259) United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912 The Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard (incorporating "The Henley Free Press"), 7 June 1912, p.3
Contributors Andrew Aldridge, UK Tom Grassia, USA Linda Greaves, USA