Boat 1 Launch Time


Wayne Myers

Greetings. This is my first posting to the message board.

It seems to me that the 1:10 a.m. launch time often cited for Boat 1, the emergency cutter, is likely way off from what may be the boat's actual launch time (or perhaps more accurately that not considering the time it finally hit the water has led to some treacherous conclusions) of later than 1:45 a.m., the case for the latter time is supported, I believe, by Dr. Charles Pellegrino and (at least for as late as 1:30 a.m.) by George Behr.

What is the current thinking on this boat's launch time? Is 1:10 a.m. now accepted as at least improbable or flat-out wrong (or if the boat did actually launch at 1:10 a.m., was that time later misinterpreted concerning the discussion of several crucial points about what later allegedly happened in that vicinity of the ship because Boat 1 was suspended indefinitely between the ship and the sea).

The launch time (or time the boat reached the sea and cast off), of course, plays a critical part in the analysis of the reports of suicides among the officers still on board in the last chaotic, terrible minutes the Titanic was afloat.

Also tied to this is the possible injustice a 1:10 a.m. launch time taken out of context of a troubled launching delivers to the accounts of Lucille Duff-Gordon and Laura Francatelli of First Officer Murdoch's alleged suicide and the Titanic's final plunge and the specific cries of passengers in the freezing Atlantic--details that only people still close enough in a lifeboat to the dying ship could have reported. (And 1:10 a.m. also makes the fact that the boat was launched with only 12 passengers and crew members look like a spectacular failure on Murdoch's part--if, in fact, the boat was actually launched at 1:10 a.m. and not during the time panic became widespread as 2 a.m. approached and space in the unlaunched boats and time was rapidly running out.)

As to the occurrence of a suicide among the Titanic's officers, I believe there are too many accounts aside from Rheims and Eugene Daly's (e.g., John Collins, Harry Senior and Charles Williams similar accounts of Capt. Smith swimming up to Collapsible B with an infant and then being told Murdoch had shot himself; and Anna Sjoblom and others' accounts)that give similar details of such an event occurring to conclude with certainty the event did occur.

But, also, has there been much discussion that there may have actually been two suicides--rather than the one that debates its sole victim as either Smith, Wilde, Murdoch or Moody--or Chief Purser McElroy?

It also seems to me that there were also two Third Class shooting events--not one--where passengers were allegedly shot dead (Eugene Daly's account and, I think, at least one other corroborating account) by Titanic officers--at a stairway leading to the open deck (from which, in the last minutes, the Third Class women poured, blocking the shocked Gracie's retreat aft?) and the other at Collapsible A (Daly and many other accounts). What I always seem to read about most is a single fatal shooting event occurring during the launch of Collapsible C or during the desperate and failed attempt to load and launch Collapsible A.

But back to the Boat 1 launch time, has 1:10 a.m. now been determined as wrong? In any case, it seems at the least that the 1:10 a.m. launch time has led to the erroneous assumption that the boat reached the water minutes later and was then rowed to a point that pretty much put its occupants out of position to see the horrific things that ensued, when it seems that in reality they were in a position, for many minutes, of dubious safety, uncomfortably so close to the ship that it jeopardized their lives.

How can we sum up the launch of Boat 1 and its true proximity to the Titanic in its death throes?

Thank you,

Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

For one take on the question of launching the lifeboats and the times they were sent away, go to

Titanic: The Lifeboat Launching Sequence Re-Examined

As I'm sure you can see from the posts on this forum, the article doesn't lack for those with differing opinions and the authors have themselves revised it in the light of new evidence, all of which is a reflection of the fact that research is ongoing and that people can come up with very different conclusions from the same body of evidence.

Bill Wormstedt

For more info on the alleged shooting, see Shots in the Dark - Did an Officer Commit Suicide on the Titanic in the Last Stages of the Sinking?
We've attempted to locate as many accounts as we can of the shooting, and analyse them regarding their possible accuracy. For example, if someone said there was a shooting - and they were several hundred yards away in a lifeboat, the odds are likely the witness did not see what they said.

And since Mike S. was nice enough to reference our lifeboat timeline - around 1:10 a.m. is definitely *not* accepted as "improbable or flat-out wrong". The timing of #1 is related the other starboard boats, our timeline for #1 has 1:05, fairly close to the 1:10 you mention. I assume you got that from the British Inquiry timeline?