Meet arthur john priest no he isn't famous for being a painter or for discovering some long-lost treasure he didn't invent some cool gadget or break any world records no arthur john priest is famous simply for being unsinkable proving one can be both lucky and unlucky at the same time priest was.
Involved in and survived several mishaps at sea including the fateful maiden voyage of the titanic priest was not a rich man interested in sailing for pleasure he was part of the working class employed as a stoker or fireman stuck for hours within the hot bowels of large steam-powered vessels his job was dirty and difficult he was.
Responsible for keeping the furnaces lit feeding them coal to ensure enough steam was produced for the engines to work he had to be careful about not overheating the system or setting fire to the whole ship the furnaces had to be carefully watched and constantly fed he breathed it all in a while working and fighting with the.
Sweat and the dirt he would often work shirtless because of the heat and was always covered in black coal dust and when he finally had a break his shared living quarters were nearby in the same part of the ship he must have been good at his job though because he had no trouble finding work but wherever he went bad luck seemed to.
Follow the first incident was a mild one as a young man priest worked on the rms asturias the passenger liner first set sail in 1907 traveling between southampton and the uk to buenos aires in argentina at some point during its maiden voyage the ship suffered a small collision the.
Damage was bad enough that the ship returned for repairs thankfully there were no reports of any serious injuries priest unfazed simply went to work on another ship but his bad luck lingered on the asturias in 1914 the asturias became a hospital ship helping care for sick men and women.
Around europe while bringing them home to england but in march 1917 at just around midnight the ship was struck by a foreign object its hull was breached and the engine room flooded the captain ordered everyone to abandon the ship sending crew patients and health staff scrambling for the lifeboats.
The vessel was still moving powering through the water because the main controls located within the flooded engine room could not be turned off the captain refused to leave the ship while people were still trying to escape he was able to aim the asturias towards bolt head where it finally hit land and couldn't sink.
The remaining lifeboats were lowered and the final survivors made it to safety when they studied the damage on the ship later the asturias was declared a total write-off it might be hard to pin this particular disaster on priest after all he wasn't even on the ship at the time but it seemed that many of the ships on.
Which he served were destined for trouble his bad luck followed him to his next job on the rms olympic a massive ocean liner the olympic was big in fact it had been designed and built as part of the fleet that included the titanic but with size came sacrifice the olympic was great at.
Moving in one direction but very difficult to handle when it needed to turn it was september 1911 the olympic was trying to alter its course the hawk a smaller ship sailing nearby didn't give the larger vessel enough room to maneuver and the two slammed into each other.
Because the hawk was engineered to deal with potential confrontations when out at sea its reinforced bow tore through the olympic two large gashes appeared on the ocean liner's side the propeller shaft was badly twisted and worse the ship began to take on water somehow the olympic made it to shore.
Without sinking and nobody was seriously hurt priest had no idea that this was just a small taste of what his future held for him he next found employment on a brand new ship a better ship an unsinkable marvel that was said to be the biggest vessel to have ever been built.
Yes he was going to work on the titanic and what a job it took 29 boilers requiring 850 tons of coal a day to produce enough steam to power the titanic priest was just one of 150 stokers toiling away in the ship's underbelly keeping those fires burning day and night he made around 30 dollars a month.
But on april 14 1912 he would find himself flung from a world of extreme heat to one of blistering cold at approximately 11 35 pm the crew spotted an iceberg the titanic tried to avoid it but the alarm had been sounded too late five minutes later the two collided the iceberg tore through the hull and.
The once watertight compartments inside were badly ruptured as the cold atlantic water flooded in the ship began to sink distress signals were sent but the closest ship the carpathia was over three hours away in the dark of night and stuck in the middle of nowhere the crew and passengers panicked.
Those who could scrambled for the lifeboats others jumped into the icy waters in total only 706 survived that terrible night priest at the time of the collision was down in the ship's lower quarters he was on break relaxing from a hard day of work.
And as the ship went down so did his chances of survival he and his fellow workers were in the most dangerous position on the ship they had to make their way through a maze of corridors and gangways some of which were flooded in a mad dash to the deck and then they faced the frigid water.
Jumping in and desperately swimming to safety the ocean was so cold that priest even suffered frostbite before finding his way onto a lifeboat he was one of only 44 stokers to survive that night after an experience like that most of us would never set foot on a boat again but.
Priest had to work his next job also ended in disaster he was offered employment on the hms alcantara it went down in 1916 and priest was again one of the few to make it to safety he was badly wounded in the process but he kept pressing his luck and his.
Next job as a stoker may have felt eerily familiar he would be working on a ship built by the same people behind both the olympic and the titanic and this ship named the britannic was the biggest of the three it was also believed to be a superior vessel fitted with new safety features after the titanic sank.
For example it had 48 open lifeboats 46 of which were the largest ever used on a ship before two of these were even motorized and equipped with special communication devices the good news the britannic survived its first trip without incident it was already doing better than the.
Titanic ever did however on november 21st 1916 the britannic was shaken by a loud explosion while traveling through the key channel in the aegean sea the hull was damaged and some of the compartments began to fill with water but unlike the titanic the britannic had been designed for just such an emergency.
It had been fitted with five water-tight bulkheads intact these would help keep the ship safe and floating for a much longer period of time but there was one issue portholes along the lower decks had foolishly been left open as the ship tilted the portholes led in water which flooded the britannic and hastened its.
Descent into the sea this effectively made those watertight bulkheads useless the ship was going down fast much faster in fact than the titanic had sunk 35 of the lifeboats were successfully launched saving most on board of the 1066 passengers and crew 1036 survived priest his luck intact was.
One of them and yet he still wasn't done with a life at sea he accepted a position as a stoker on the donegal it was a smaller passenger ferry that had been converted for use as a hospital boat in april 1917 it was struck by a foreign object while fleeing an unsafe situation.
And though he suffered from a head injury priest was again one of the survivors it took experiencing two collisions and four sinkings before priest was finally ready to retire in fact he reportedly said he only gave it up because no one wanted to sail with him can you blame them.
He would live out the rest of his life on dry land in southampton england with his wife annie and their three sons but arthur john priest would always be remembered as the unsinkable stoker