Auction of Lightoller's account

Paul Lee

Aug 11, 2003
From the UK Metro newspaper, October 29th:

A gripping account of the sinking of the Titanic - written by the highest ranking crewman to survive the 1912 disaster - is to be sold at auction.
Second officer Charles Lightoller chronicled the loss of the 'unsinkable' liner in the North Atlantic after it hit an iceberg and 1500 people drowned.
His account, plus letters to his wife and other mementoes, could fetch £30,000 when auctioned by his grand-daughter at Sotheby's on December 2nd.
Lightoller, then 38, threatened to shoot male passengers who crowded on to a lifeboat unless they gave up their places to women and children.
He wrote:"They hopped out and I encouraged them by wildly flourishing the revolver. Actually, it was not loaded."
Lightoller also told how he refused to board a lifeboat himself - instead taking his chances with the hundreds of people still trapped aboard.
He almost drowned twice before being thrown clear of the doomed White Star liner. Lightoller held on to the side of a lifeboat as he watched the ship disappear beneath the waves. He said: "It was just on two o'clock when she assumed the absolute perpendicular and stood their for about two minutes - an amazing spectacle, with her stern straight up in the air.
"Then slowly, but with increasing speed, she quietly slipped beneath the water."
Lightoller, who was picked up by a recue vessel, was a key witness at the inquiry into the disaster.
The hero, who went to sea at 13, was shipwrecked four times in his career and later became a gold prospector in the Yukon Territory in Canada. In 1940, he sailed a yacht to France and rescued 130 British troops from the Dunkirk beaches.


Is there a transcript of Lightoller's account on the web somewhere? Is it just a draft of his memoirs?

Pat Winship

May 8, 2001
Paul, I have no idea what's in it. His memoirs are available on the Web. It would be nice if whoever purchases it publishes it, but there's no guarantee of that, since it will most likely go to a private collector.

Pat Winship

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