Monday, January 21, 2008
Thomas Andrews Jr. was on February 7, 1873 in Adra House, Comber, County Down, Ireland to the Right Honarable Thomas Andrews Sr. and Eliza Pirrie. He was in school at Royal Belfast Achidemical Institution until 1889 when he was apprenticed to Harland and Wolff for 5 years. 3 months in the joiners shop, 1 month making cabinets, 2 months building ships(including the Celtic, Cedric, Baltic, and the Adriatic), and 18 months in the drawing office.
In 1901, his uncle Lord Pirrie (owner of H.& L.), promoted him to manager of the designing department where he designed the Oceanic, Olympic, Titanic, and Olympic. He loved working with the men and has a few legends. Once, a red hot rivet narrowly missed him and he smiled and kicked it away. Another time, a gale blew and all work stopped but Anthony Frost was too scared to come down so Thomas climbed up the 80 foot scaffholding and carried him down. Thomas was married in 1908 to Helen Reilly Barbours and had a daughter in 1910 named Elizabeth Law Andrews. They lived in Lord Pirrie's home in Dunalan Avenue.
Then, just before the sailing of the Titanic, Lord Pirrie developed a serious case of pnemonia and he knew he was about to die. He called Thomas in and gave him Harland and Wolff. Thomas was going on the Titanic with a few selected men called the Guarantee Group whom were going on there to inspect the ship during the voyage. Their names were Campbell Hastings Watson, William Ennis, Robert Knight, Archibald Frost, Francis Parkes, Roderick Chisholm, Alfred Flemming Cunningham, and Henry William Marsh Parr. Andrews had taken A-36 which was one of the grandest staterooms
on the ship. During the voyage he was recognized and people pounded him with questions. The only people known to actually become friends with were the Thayers. He made many notes like "Too few screws" and stuff like that. On the night of the sinking, the Andrews was asleep and didn't feel anything. The captain sent the message to meet him on the bridge.
Once he learned the news that they had struck an iceberg, he and the captain went down to check the damage. They saw the damage and Thomas knew the ship was doomed. He went down and encouraged the women to get into the lifeboat. There is a story that Thomas saw a stewardess whom was passing out lifejackets yet didn't have one on. When Andrews asked why she didn't have one on, she said "So that it doesen't make me look mean". Thomas said, "Put it on in heaven's name and let the passengers see you." As the ship sank, a steward passed through the "smoking room and saw Andrews looking at a painting of the entrance to Plymouth called "From the old world to the new" with his lifejacket strewn out on a chair beside him. The steward asked "Aren't you going to try to make it Mr. Andrews?". He didn't respond. The ship broke apart near him and that probably killed him. His body was never found.