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Titanic

Thomas Andrews
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Thomas Andrews, Jr. (February 7, 1873April 15, 1912) was a managing director and head of the draughting department for the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland. Andrews was the shipbuilder in charge of the plans for the ocean liner RMS Titanic. He was travelling on board the Titanic during its maiden voyage when it hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912 and was one of the more than 1,500 people lost in the disaster.

History

Thomas Andrews was born in Comber, County Down, Ireland, to the Right Honourable Thomas Andrews and Eliza Pirrie. The younger brother to future Northern Ireland Prime Minister John Millar Andrews, Thomas Andrews lived with his family in Comber, County Down. In 1884 Andrews began attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution until 1889 when, at the age of sixteen, he began a premium apprenticeship at Harland and Wolff where his uncle William James Pirrie was part owner.

In Harland and Wolff Andrews worked his way up through the company and in 1901 became the manager of the construction works. That same year he also became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects. In 1907 Andrews became the managing director and head of the draughting department of Harland and Wolff. During his years of work Andrews had become well liked in the company and amongst the workers in the shipyards. On June 24, 1908 Andrews married Helen Reilly Barbour, with whom he had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1910.

RMS Titanic

In 1907 Andrews began to oversee the plans of a new superliner, the RMS Olympic for the White Star Line. Along with Andrews, the Olympic and its sister ship the RMS Titanic, which began construction in 1909, were designed by William Pirrie and Alexander Carlisle. As with the other ships he had oversaw Andrews familiarized himself with every detail of the Olympic and Titanic to make sure they were in best working order.

Andrews headed a group of Harland and Wolff workers who went on the maiden voyages of the ships built by Harland and Wolff to observe ship operations and spot any needed improvements. The Titanic was no exception and Andrews and the rest of his Harland and Wolff group travelled from Belfast to Southampton on Titanic for the beginning of Titanic's maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. During the voyage Andrews took notes on various improvements he felt were needed.

On April 14, at 11:40 PM, the Titanic struck an iceberg on the ship’s starboard side. Andrews had been in his stateroom working at the time and had noticed the ship striking the iceberg. Captain Edward J. Smith had Andrews summoned to help examine the damage. Andrews determined that there was nothing that could be done and that the Titanic would sink.

As the evacuation of Titanic began, Andrews searched staterooms telling the passengers to put on lifebelts and go up on deck. Knowing the short time Titanic had left and lack of lifeboat space for all of Titanic's passengers and crew he continued to urge reluctant people into the lifeboats.

According to one steward, Thomas Andrews was last seen staring at a painting above the fireplace in the first–class smoking room. Newspapers accounts of the disaster labeled Andrews a hero and his hometown of Comber built the Thomas Andrews Jr. Memorial Hall which was opened in 1915 and is now used as a primary school.

In the 1997 film Titanic, Thomas Andrews was portrayed by actor Victor Garber. He has also been portrayed on film by Michael Goodliffe in A Night to Remember.

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