Alfred John Ollivier

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Alfred John Ollivier

Also Known As: "Oliver"
Birthplace: St. Ouen, Jersey, Channel Islands
Death: June 18, 1934 (50)
St. Saviour, Jersey, Channel Islands
Immediate Family:

Son of Pierre Olliver and Eliza Olliver
Brother of Peter J Olliver; Eliza J Olliver; Henry Ollivier; Hilda R Ollivier and Mary Ann Olliver

Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Alfred John Ollivier

Too many on Free BMD to narrow down to one favourite result


Marriages Dec 1910

Collins Amelia G Southampton 2c 61

Olliver Alfred J Southampton 2c 61

Mr Alfred Olliver, 27, was born in St. Ouen, Jersey on 2 June 1884.

Olliver had been a sailor since he was 16, and served 7 years in the Navy.

When he signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 38 Anderson's Road, (Southampton). He had transferred from the Olympic. Olliver, was a Quartermaster on the Titanic as was his brother-in-law Walter Perkis. His monthly wages amounted to £5.

On the night of 14 April 1912, Olliver had been at the ship's wheel until 10:00 p.m. at which time he was relieved by Robert Hichens. He then was running messages from the officers and was just returning to the wheelhouse when the collision occurred.

As he was coming up, he heard three bells ring out from the crow's nest. He looked out but did not see anything.

"I happened to be looking at the lights on the standing compass and was trimming them so that they would burn properly - then I heard the report...and was just entering the bridge when the shock came." He heard a 'grinding sound and then saw the berg, which he later described as "...about the height of the boat deck; if anything, just a little higher. It was almost alongside the boat. It was not was a kind of dark blue hue."

He remembered the Officer giving an order to "hard aport" as he entered the wheelhouse and Sixth Officer Moody standing next to Hichens to make sure the order was carried out. Questioned at the U S Senate Hearings regarding this, one Senator asked if he meant "hard astarboard" to which he replied, "No, hard a'port was the only order he heard given." However, he did not know anything of what had transpired before his arrival.

Olliver also testified that the watertight doors had been closed at the bridge.

"The First Officer closed the watertight doors...just after she struck and (he) reported to the Captain that they were closed. I heard that myself."

Right after this, the order was given to stop the engines. Olliver was then ordered to go find the carpenter and have him take a draft of the water. When he found the carpenter, on E deck, he was already doing it.

He then took a message to the Chief Engineer in the engine room who told him to tell Captain Smith he would 'get it done as soon as possible'. By this time, the stokers were coming out of the stoke rooms into the alleyway. Olliver then delivered the message to the Captain. It was right after this that the Chief Officer sent him to the boatswain to tell him to uncover the lifeboats and make them ready for lowering.

After carrying out these orders, Olliver then went down to lifeboat 5, where Third Officer Pitman was in charge and was ordered in the boat. He recounted that there were about 40 in lifeboat 5; other crew members, besides himself and Pitman, were two firemen, two stewards and a sailor, the rest were women and children. Olliver tried to make sure the plug was in the boat but all the passengers kept getting stepping on him - he had to beg them to make way. "If not for that, the boat would've been swamped."

The water line of the Titanic was, by his account, about 15 to 20 feet at the bow by this time. After the lifeboat was in the water, Olliver took an oar and helped row. Testifying later at the U.S. Senate Hearings, Olliver backed up Pitman's story that the Third Officer wanted to go back for survivors but "the women passengers implored him not to go because they reckoned it was not safe."

As the ship went under, the Titanic "was well down at the head first...and to my idea she broke forward, and the afterpart righted itself and made another plunge." He then heard several small explosions, which he reckoned were the bulkheads giving away. By this time, he estimated they were about 500 yards off and began to hear cries and screams people in the water - this lasted for about ten minutes. Later, he recounted that their lifeboat was the fourth or fifth picked up by the Carpathia.

It is thought that after the disaster Olliver continued to work for the White Star Line but never worked at sea again.

He died in St. Saviour, Jersey on 18 June 1934.

Alfred John Olliver (2 June 1884 – 18 June 1934) was a sailor from Jersey who was one of seven quartermasters serving on RMS Titanic and was present on the bridge of the ship when it sank on the morning of 15 April 1912.[1]

Olliver was born in the parish of St Ouen on 2 June 1884. He was the son of French farmer Pierre Olliver (1859-1914) and Jerseywoman Eliza Le Cornu (1859-1934), who married around 1879. They had eleven children, three of who died in infancy. Alfred's known siblings were Peter (b. 1880), Eliza Jane (b. 1882), Henry (b. 1886), Hilda (b. 1888), Mary Ann (b. 1890), Eliza Jane (b. 1896), William (b. 1898), John (b. 1899) and Francis John (b. 1901).

In 1891 he and his family were living at Green Vales in St Brelade, moving to St Nicholas by 1901. Alfred went to sea at age 16, joining the Royal Navy and was stationed at the Royal Marine Barracks in Alverstoke, Hampshire. After seven years in the Royal Navy he joined the Merchant service. On the night of the sinking, Olliver was at the ship's wheel until 10pm at which time he was relieved by Robert Hichens. He was running messages for the officers and returned to the wheelhouse as the ship hit the iceberg. He was ordered to find the carpenter and check the level of the water but found him already doing so. He then took a message to the Chief Engineer and delivered a message to Captain Edward Smith. He was ordered by the Chief Officer to tell the boatswain to prepare the lifeboats. He entered a lifeboat with Third Officer Herbert Pitman and 5 other crew, along with about 35 passengers, mostly women and children. Olliver ensured the plug was in the lifeboat ensuring it did not get swamped and capsize. He later gave evidence at the United States Senate inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Olliver returned to England and continued to work for White Star Line but did not return to sea.[4] He died on 18 June 1934 in St Saviour and was buried in an unmarked grave in St Saviour's Churchyard. His grave was given a headstone in 2012 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

He married Amelia Gertrude Perkins (born 11 May 1883 in Southampton) in 1910 They had three children, Alfred (b. 1911), William (b. 1914) and Hilda (b. 1916). His widow Amelia died in Grouville, Jersey on 26 January 1975 aged 91.

BOAT NO. 5 *

No disorder in loading or lowering this boat. Passengers: Mesdames Cassebeer, Chambers, Crosby, Dodge and her boy, Frauenthal, Goldenberg, Harder, Kimball, Stehli, Stengel, Taylor, Warren, and Misses Crosby, Newson, Ostby and Frolicher Stehli.

Messrs: Beckwith, Behr, Calderhead, Chambers, Flynn, Goldenberg, Harder, Kimball, Stehli, Taylor. Bade good-hye to wives and daughters and sank with ship: Captain Crosby, Mr. Ostby and Mr. Warren. Jumped from deck into boat being lowered: German Doctor Frauenthal and brother Isaac, P. Mauge. Crew: 3rd Officer Pitman. Seaman: Olliver, Q. M.; Fireman Shiers; Stewards, Etches, Guy. Stewardess .

Total: 41.


H. J. Pitman, 3rd Officer (Am. Inq., p. 277, and Br. Inq.) :

I lowered No. 5 boat to the level with the rail of the Boat Deck. A man in a dressing gown said that we had better get her loaded with women and children. I said: "I wait the commander's orders," to which he replied: "Very well, or something like that. It then dawned on me that it might be Mr. Ismay, judging by the description I had had given me. I went to the bridge and saw Captain Smith and told him that I thought it was Mr. Ismay that wanted me to get the boat away with women and children in it and he said: *'Go ahead; carry on. I came along and brought in my boat. I stood in it and said: *'Come along, ladies." There was a big crowd. Mr. Ismay helped get them along. We got the boat nearly full and I shouted out for any more ladies. None were to be seen so I allowed a few men to get into it. Then I jumped on the ship again. Mr. Murdoch said: *'You go in charge of this boat and hang around the after gangway. About thirty (Br. Inq.) to forty women were in the boat, two children, half a dozen male passengers, myself and four of the crew. There would not have been so many men had there been any women around, but there were none. Murdoch shook hands with me and said: *'Good-bye; good luck," and I said: "Lower away." This boat was the second one lowered on the starboard side. No light in the boat.

The ship turned right on end and went down perpendicularly. She did not break in two. I heard a lot of people say that they heard boiler explosions, but I have my doubts about that. I do not see why the boilers would burst, because there was no steam there. They should have been stopped about two hours and a half. The fires had not been fed so there was very little steam there. From the distance I was from the ship, if it had occurred, I think I would have known it. As soon as the ship disappeared I said: ^'Now, men, we will pull toward the wreck." Everyone in my boat said it was a mad idea because we had far better save what few I had in my boat than go back to the scene of the wreck and be swamped by the crowds that were there. My boat would have accommodated a few more — about sixty in all. I turned No. 5 boat around to go in the direction from which these cries came but was dissuaded from my purpose by the passengers. My idea of lashing Nos. 5 and 7 together was to keep together so that if anything hove in sight before daylight we could steady ourselves and cause a far bigger show than one boat only. I transferred two men and a woman and a child from my boat to No. 7 to even them up a bit.

H. S. Etches, steward (Am. Inq., p. 810) : Witness assisted Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Ismay, Mr. Pitman and Quartermaster Olliver and two stewards in the loading and launching of No. 7, the gentlemen being asked to keep back and the ladies in first. There were more ladies to go in No. 7 because No. 5 boat, which we went to next, took In over thirty-six ladies. In No. 7 boat I saw one child, a baby boy, with a small woollen cap. After getting all the women that were there they called out three times — Mr. Ismay twice — in a loud voice: "Are there any more women before this boat goes?" and there was no answer. Mr. Murdoch called out, and at that moment a female came up whom he did not recognize. Mr. Ismay said: **Come along; jump in." She said:

'I am only a stewardess." He said: "Never mind — you are a woman; take your place." That was the last woman I saw get into boat No. 5. There were two firemen in the bow; Olliver, the sailor, and myself; and Officer Pitman ordered us into the boat and lowered under Murdoch's order.

Senator Smith: What other men got into that boat?

Mr. Etches : There was a stout gentleman, sir, stepped forward then. He had assisted to put his wife in the boat. He leaned forward and she stood up in the boat and put her arms around his neck and kissed him, and I heard her say: "I cannot leave you," and with that I turned my head. The next moment I saw him sitting beside her in the bottom of the boat, and some voice said: "Throw that man out of the boat," but at that moment they started lowering away and the man remained.

Senator Smith: Who was he?

Mr. Etches: I do not know his name, sir, but he was a very stout gentleman. (Dr. H. W. Frauenthal.)

We laid off about 100 yards from the ship and waited. She seemed to be going down at the head and we pulled away about a quarter of a mile and laid on our oars until the Titanic sank. She seemed to rise once as though she was going to take a final dive, but sort of checked as though she had scooped the water up and had levelled herself. She then seemed to settle very, very quiet, until the last when she rose and seemed to stand twenty seconds, stern in that position (indicating) and then she went down with an awful grating, like a small boat running off a shingley beach. There was no inrush of water, or anything. Mr. Pitman then said to pull back to the scene of the wreck. The ladies started calling out. Two ladies sitting in front where I was pulling said: "Appeal to the officer not to go back. Why should we lose all of our lives in a useless attempt to save others from the ship?" We did not go back. When we left the ship No. 5 had forty- two, including the children and six crew and the officer. Two were transferred with a lady and a child into boat No. 7.

Senator Smith: Of your own knowledge do yo know whether any general call was made for passengers to rouse themselves from their berths; and when It was, or whether there was any other signal given?

Mr. Etches: The second steward (Dodd), sir, was calling all around the ship. He was directing some men to storerooms for provisions for the lifeboats, and others he was telling to arouse all the passengers and to tell them to be sure to take their life preservers with them.

There was no lamp in No. 5. On Monday morning we saw a very large floe of flat ice and three or four bergs between in different places, and on the other bow there were two large bergs in the distance. The field ice was about three- quarters of a mile at least from us between four and five o'clock in the morning. It was well over on the port side of the Titanic in the position she was going.

A. Olllver, Q. M. (Am. Inq., p. 526) : There were so many people in the boat when I got Into it that I could not get near the plug to put the plug in. I implored the passengers to move so I could do It. When the boat was put In the water I let the tripper go and water came into the boat. I then forced my way to the plug and put it in; otherwise It would have been swamped. There was no rush when I got into the boat. I heard Mr. Pitman give an order to go back to the ship, but the women passengers implored him not to go. We were then about 300 yards away. Nearly all objected.

A. Shiers, fireman (Br. Inq., p. 48) : He saw no women left. There were about forty men and women in the boat. There was no confusion among the officers and crew. We did not go back when the Titanic went down. The women in the boat said: "Don't go back." They said: "If we go back the boat will be swamped." No compass in boat.

Paul Mauge, Ritz kitchen clerk (Br. Inq.) : Witness was berthed in the third-class corridor. Was awakened and went up on deck. Went down again and woke up the chef. Going through the second-class cabin he noticed that the assistants of the restaurant were there and not allowed to go on the Boat Deck. He saw the second or third boat on the starboard side let down into the water, and when it was about ten feet down from the Boat Deck he jumped into it. Before this he asked the chef to jump, but he was too fat and would not do so. (Laughter.) I asked him again when I got in the boat, but he refused. When his boat was passing one of the lower decks one of the crew of the Titanic tried to pull him out of the boat. He saw no passengers prevented from going up on deck. He thinks he was allowed to pass because he was dressed like a passenger.

Mrs. Catherine E. Crosby's affidavit (Am. Inq., p. 1144) :

Deponent is the widow of Captain Edward Gifford Crosby and took passage with him and their daughter, Harriette R. Crosby.

At the time of the collision, Captain Crosby got up, dressed, went out, came back and said to her: *'You will lie there and drown, and went out again. He said to their daughter: *'The boat is badly damaged, but I think the water-tight compartments will hold her up."

Mrs. Crosby then got up and dressed, as did her daughter, and followed her husband on deck. She got into the first or second boat. About thirty- six persons got in with them.

There was no discrimination between men and women. Her husband became separated from her. She was suffering from cold while drifting around and one of the officers (Pitman) put a sail around her and over her head to keep her warm.

George A. Harder, first-class passenger (Am. Inq., p. 1028) :

As we were being lowered, they lowered one side quicker than the other, but reached the water safely after a few scares. Someone said the plug was not in, and they could not get the boat detached from the tackle. Finally, a knife was found and the rope cut. We had about forty- two people in the boat — about thirty women. Officer Pitman, a sailor and three men of the crew. We rowed some distance from the ship — it may have been a quarter or an eighth of a mile. We were afraid of the suction. Passengers said: "Let us row a little further." They did so. Then this other boat, No. 7, came along. We tied alongside. They had twenty-nine in their boat, and we counted at the time thirty-six in ours, so we gave them four or five of our people in order to make it even.

After the ship went down we heard a lot of cries and a continuous yelling and moaning. I counted about ten icebergs in the morning. Our boat managed very well. It is true that the officer did want to go back to the ship, but all the passengers held out and said: "Do not do that; it would only be foolish; there would be so many around that it would only swamp the boat." There was no light in our boat.

C. E. H. Stengel, first cabin passenger (Am. Inq., p. 975):

Senator Smith : Did you see any man attempt to enter these lifeboats who was forbidden to do so?

Mr. Stengel : I saw two. A certain physician * in New York, and his brother, jumped into the same boat my wife was in. Then the officer, or the man who was loading the boat said: "I will stop that. I will go down and get my gun." He left the deck momentarily and came right back again. I saw no attempt of anyone else to get into the lifeboats except these two gentlemen that jumped into the boat after it was started to lower.

Senator Bourne : When you were refused admission into the boat in which your wife was, were there a number of ladies and children there at the time?

Mr. Stengel: No, sir, there were not. These two gentlemen had put their wives in and were standing on the edge of the deck and when they started lowering away, they jumped in. I saw only two.

N. C. Chambers, first-class passenger (Am. Inq., 1041) :

Witness referring to boat No. 5 as appearing sufficiently loaded says: "However, my wife said she was going in that boat and proceeded to jump in, calling to me to come. As I knew she would get out again had I not come, I finally jumped into the boat, although I did not consider it, from the looks of things, safe to put many more in. As I remember it, there were two more men, both called by their wives, who jumped in after I did. One of them, a German I believe, told me as I recollect it on the Carpathia that he had looked around and had seen no one else, and no one to ask whether he could get in, or not, and had jumped in. Witness describes the difficulty in finding whether the plug was in, or not, and recalls someone calling from above: "It's your own blooming business to see that the plug is in anyhow."

Mrs. C. E. H. Stengel, first-class passenger, writes as follows:

'As I stepped into the lifeboat an officer in charge said: 'No more; the boat is full.' My husband stepped back, obeying the order. As the boat was being lowered, four men deliberately jumped into it. One of them was a Hebrew doctor — another was his brother. This was done at the risk of the lives of all of us in the boat. The two companions of this man who did this were the ones who were later transferred to boat No. 7, to which we were tied. He weighed about 250 pounds and wore two life preservers. These men who jumped in struck me and a little child. I was rendered unconscious and two of my ribs were very badly dislocated. With this exception there was absolutely no confusion and no disorder in the loading of our boat/*

Mrs. F. M. Warren, first-class passenger's account :

Following this we then went to our rooms, put on all our heavy wraps and went to the foot of the grand staircase on Deck D, again interviewing passengers and crew as to the danger. While standing there Mr. Andrews, one of the designers of the vessel, rushed by, going up the stairs. He was asked if there was any danger but made no reply. But a passenger who was afterwards saved told me that his face had on it a look of terror. Immediately after this the report became general that water was in the squash courts, which were on the deck below where we were standing, and that the baggage had already been submerged.

At the time we reached the Boat Deck, starboard side, there were very few passengers there, apparently, but it was dark and we could not estimate the number. There was a deafening roar of escaping steam, of which we had not been conscious while inside.

The only people we remembered seeing, except a young woman by the name of Miss Ostby, who had become separated from her father and was with us, were Mr. Astor, his wife and servants, who were standing near one of the boats which was being cleared preparatory to being lowered. The Astors did not get into this boat. They all went back inside and I saw nothing of them again until Mrs. Astor was taken onto the Carpathia.

We discovered that the boat next to the one the Astors had been near had been lowered to the level of the deck, so went towards it and were told by the officers in charge to get in. At this moment both men and women came crowding toward the spot. I was the second person assisted in. I supposed that Mr. Warren had followed, but saw when I turned that he was standing back and assisting the women. People came in so rapidly in the darkness that it was impossible to distinguish them, and I did not see him again.

The boat was commanded by Officer Pitman and manned by four of the Titanic's men. The lowering of the craft was accomplished with great difficulty. First one end and then the other was dropped at apparently dangerous angles, and we feared that we would swamp as soon as we struck the water.

Mr. Pitman's orders were to pull far enough away to avoid suction if the ship sank. The sea was like glass, so smooth that the stars were clearly reflected. We were pulled quite a distance away and then rested, watching the rockets in terrible anxiety and realizing that the vessel was rapidly sinking, bow first. She went lower and lower, until the lower lights were extinguished, and then suddenly rose by the stern and slipped from sight. We had no light on our boat and were left in intense darkness save from an occasional glimmer of light from other lifeboats and one steady green light on one of the ship's boats which the officers of the Carpathia afterwards said was of material assistance in aiding them to come direct to the spot.

With daylight the wind increased and the sea became choppy, and we saw icebergs in every direction; some lying low in the water and others tall, like ships, and some of us thought they were ships. I was on the second boat picked up.

From the time of the accident until I left the ship there was nothing which in any way resembled a panic. There seemed to be a sort of aimless confusion and an utter lack of organized effort.

Available Documents

  • Crew Particulars of Engagement

Inquiry Testimony

  • (Courtesy of the Titanic Inquiry Project)
  • United States Senate Hearings, 25 April 1912, Testimony


  • 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


  • Pat Cook, USA
  • Chris Dohany, USA
  • Bob Olliver, UK (grandson of Alfred Olliver)
  • Bill Wormstedt, USA
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Alfred John Ollivier's Timeline

June 2, 1884
Channel Islands
June 18, 1934
Age 50
Channel Islands