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October 22, 2016, 1:00 PM BST
Devizes, United Kingdom
Lot 244: **R.M.S. TITANIC: Rare letter in relation to Titanic compensation(3 views)
Estimate: £800 - £1,200
Description: **R.M.S. TITANIC: Rare letter in relation to Titanic compensation claims, typed on White Star Line Olympic letterhead, October 17th, 1912. The letter is addressed to Sir John Gray Hill of the Liverpool & London Steamship Protection Association and reads in full We beg to attach copy of a letter we received from our Southampton Office with reference to the services rendered by Master-at-Arms Osman and Assistant Shipping Master Greenham in connection with the Titanic compensation claims. As this would be a debit on the Protection Association we should be glad to know whether you authorise us to make the grants suggested. Letter is initialled at the conclusion by a representative from Ismay, Imrie and Co. The letter cited is attached to the reverse left edge, dated October 16th, 1912, and reads, in part: In connection with the many enquiries made by us at the instigation of Messrs. Hill, Dickinson & Co. with respect to dependents of the members of the crew, we desire to call your special attention to the services rendered by Master-at-Arms and our Assistant Shipping master Greenham. These men received no overtime allowance, most of the enquiries have had to be made after the day's work at the dock is over, and in many instances considerable distances have had to be travelled into the country in order to follow up on their enquiries. Their cycles have been used for this purpose and as the number of reports made to Messrs. Hill Dickinson & Co., is great, the wear and tear on their machines has been correspondingly heavy. Under all the circumstances and in view of the satisfaction expressed by Messrs. Hill Dickinson & Co. at the reports made we recommend a special grant to Osman and Greenham of say £5/£10 each and we trust that this will meet your approval. In fine condition, with a small pencil notation to bottom left, a couple of small staple holes to top left, and a few trivial brushes to typed text. Of the Titanic's crew of almost 900 members, a mere 215 survived the ship's sinking. The two men mentioned in this letter, Master-at-Arms Osman and Assistant Shipping Master Greenham, took upon themselves the extraordinary task of personally delivering the tragic news to the families of fallen crew members after the day's work at the dock is over with no overtime allowance. Requesting a small amount of compensation for their bicycles, which carried them far and wide in their difficult task, this are a fascinating pair of letters, written as the White Star Line was seeking to limit its liability in much larger claims for loss of life and property. A fascinating and very unusual snapshot into the behind the scenes administive process after the sinking.