Encyclopedia Titanica


ex-Navy man witness at the Titanic inquiry

Daily Sketch

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A.B. Who Had Charge of Collapsible Boat Able Seaman William Lucas, an ex-Navy man, another witness at the Titanic inquiry, said he was playing "nap" when the ship struck.

He got into a collapsible boat and they had only just got clear when the Titanic went down.

Lucas said he knew there was some ice "knocking about." The shock of the collision nearly knocked him off his feet.

After the collision what did you do? - I went down and put on an extra jersey. (Laughter)

Lucas said that as far as he knew the passengers on the boat deck were all of the first class. The boats lowered from that deck were not full by a long way. That was "because there were no women knocking about."

He got into the last boat to get away on the port side - a collapsible boat - but Mr Lightoller ordered him out.

He then went to the starboard side to see if there were any boats left there, but there were not, so he went back to the collapsible boat. A lady called out that there were "no sailors or plugs" in the boat, so he got in. The water was then up to the ship's bridge. With the rising of the water and the tilting of the Titanic the boat "floated off."

Lucas said the women were afraid of the collapsible boat when it had been lowered, and he transferred them to another boat. Afterwards his boat rescued 36 people clinging to an overturned collapsible boat. Two boats rowed back to the scene of the wreck, but they found nobody alive.


He said that after the boat drill at Southampton he went ashore. "It is a regular thing for the sailors to go ashore to have a final drink."

In the lowering of the boats was there sufficient interval to enable the female passengers from the steerage to get on to the boat deck? - They would have been able to if there had been anyone there to direct them to the boat deck. Lucas did not think there was anyone directing them.

There were two girls on deck when he left with the collapsible boat. "I said to them, Wait a minute, there is another collapsible boat being put down from the funnel. You had better get into that. I could not take them because my boat was full."

Lucas said that he and Mr Lightoller helped one elderly lady into the collapsible boat and then had to help her out again as she would not go without her husband. "There were several cases like that." he said.

The inquiry was adjourned.

Related Biographies

William Arthur Lucas


Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) AWAY JUST IN TIME (Daily Sketch, Wednesday 8th May 1912, ref: #19220, published 1 January 2013, generated 27th October 2021 09:37:01 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/away-just-in-time.html