9 April 2016 - I saw this ‘Murder on the CELTIC’ book by Conrad Allen (published in Feb 2007) in my local Carp Library today, and was sufficiently intrigued to loan it for a while. I’m not normally attracted to Murder-Mystery Novels, but having an interest beyond this story, I found this book was quite interesting, but it didn’t get into the details of the ship in the depth I wanted to visualise the life of the crew on board. I tried to fit the sailing date of the story into the known facts of ship’s sailings, but have yet to find a factual basis. Not even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s publicised trips to USA and Canada fit into this book’s timing. The Publisher’s Page does however treat everything as ‘Fiction’.
The reason for my interest in this book goes back to my grandfather John Williams (1863-1951) – his home was in Liverpool UK and he worked for the White Star Line – he was appointed as an Electrical Officer on the RMS CELTIC , and sailed on her from about 1906 to 1910 running the trans-Atlantic route between Liverpool-Queenstown-New York. He was previously serving on RMS OCEANIC from about 1899 to 1906 running the same Liverpool- Queenstown-New York route. My grandmother did not approve of his long absences from home while my father and his siblings were growing up, and when The White Star Company wanted to transfer the OCEANIC base of operation to Southampton to capture some of the Cherbourg passenger business, grandmother did not want to move south from Liverpool, so my grandfather transferred to the CELTIC which remained based in Liverpool. Eventually the CELTIC was to undergo refit, and the crew was to be transferred to the TITANIC based in Southampton – it was then that he resigned from the White Star Line and got a shore job as the Supervising Electrician at the Liverpool Poor House Electrical Plant where he remained until his retirement. Many of his associates were lost when the TITANIC sank. As my father was born in 1902, my grandfather’s potential demise on the TITANIC sinking, would not have necessarily affected my existence. My father became an industrial electrician, completing his Electrical Apprenticeship in Liverpool at the tail end of WW1, and reported working on the mine shattered ships coming in for repair – his supervisor was a surviving crew member of the LUSITANIA sinking - I served in the Royal Navy and eventually became a commercial Off-Shore Surveyor, Navigator, and Hydrographer, and emigrated to Canada to work on Hibernia, White Rose, Sable Island, PEI Hydro Cable Project, and many other marine projects.
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