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Third Officer, Herbert John Pitman

 


Mr Herbert "Bert" John Pitman, 34, was born 20 November 1877, in Somerset.
In 1895, aged 18, Bert joined the Merchant Navy. In May 1900 he passed the examination for second mate, in June 1902 the examination as first mate and qualified as a master mariner in August 1906.
He joined the White Star Line in about 1906 and served as fourth, third and second officer on the White Star vessels, 'Majestic' 'Oceanic' and 'Dolphin'.
Pitman was the only officer not in the Royal Naval Reserve.

He recalled
"...the breaking of moorings on the New York, which was caused by the backwash from our starboard propeller. We managed to get clear and proceeded to Cherbourg."
Herbert On the near collision with the 'New York'


After the sinking, Herbert was questioned along with other surviving crew. On the 2 May 1912 he sailed for Liverpool on with the other surviving officers; Lightoller, Lowe and Boxhall. He was also questioned at the British enquiry.
Bert Pitman continued to serve with White Star Line, on 10 July 1912 he re-joined the as her 3rd Officer and later served in the Purser's Section because his eyesight was deteriorating. In the early 1920's he moved from White Star.
He married a lady called Mimi Kalman. During World War 2 he served aboard SS Mataroa as Purser. In March 1946 just prior to retirement from the Merchant Navy he was awarded an MBE (Member of British Empire Order) for 'long and meritorious service at sea and in dangerous waters during the war'.
He had served as a Purser for over 20 years. In retirement, Pitman lived with a niece in, Somerset, passing away on 7 December 1961 aged 84 He was buried in the Churchyard at Pitcombe, Somerset.