Boat 9 or 14: which one went first?


Nov 13, 2014
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I found two completely conflicting pieces of evidence regarding the launching order of these 2 boats.

First we have seaman McGough, who was clearly rescued in Lifeboat 9. It begins with Reverend Sidney Collett:
There were no more women to go and I asked the officer if there was any objection to my going in that boat. He said ‘No, get in’ and I was the last one in. I think it was the third from the last to go on that side. It was No. 9 and we had to get away fast.
-- Collett tells his story, The Auburn Citizen, Tuesday 23rd April 1912
Next, Collett was mentioned by Bertha Watt as a minister:
The [bcolor=rgb(252, 252, 255)]fellow at the tiller[/bcolor] was an Irishman. Paddy had no authority, he was just a deckhand. He was wonderful, telling me about the stars.
(...)
A minister appeared out from under a seat. He must have gotten in before the the lifeboat even left the deck. He sat with his chin on his walking stick moaning on about all the years of sermons he lost. One woman all but turned and flew at him - "if you can give me back my husband and my son I'll pay you for your sermons."
The 'Paddy' from Miss Watt must have been McGough. Further evidence comes from Boatswain Mate Albert Haines:
Mr. HAINES. The lifeboats; yes, sir. Then I went and stood by my own boat, sir, No. 9.
(...)
Mr. HAINES. Yes, sir. I was in charge of that boat. That was my own boat, there being two sailors with me.
Senator SMITH. What were their names?
Mr. HAINES. One was named McGow, and there was one by the name of Peters. That was my boat's crew.
A quick look at the passenger & crew list learns there was no McGow on board, so this must have been McGough. I think this is enough evidence to say McGough left in boat 9.

Next, there is this bit of evidence from Scarrott:
395. And having been lowered to the water, was she disengaged?
- No, she hung up. The forward fall lowered all right, sufficiently far enough that the forepart of the boat was afloat and the forward fall slack. Her after-fall then would be about ten feet - we had about ten feet to go on the after-fall. Our boat was at an angle of pretty well 45 degrees. I called Mr. Lowe's attention to it. He said, "Why don't they lower away aft?" I know the man that was lowering the after-fall, it was McGough.
According to Wormstedt, Scarrott shared his starboard watch with McGough, Haines & Boxhall, so if that's true, there is little chance Scarrott was mistaken about McGough's identity, further suggesting McGough lowered boat 14 before leaving the ship in boat 9.

Based on this, one would conclude boat 14 was launched first.

On the other side, this doesn't match with testimonies from the ship's list at the launching of those 2 lifeboats.
Saloon Steward William Ward said this:
Senator FLETCHER.
Was she listing badly when you lowered boat No. 9?

Mr. WARD.
No, sir; she was not listing at all. She was down by the head, but not listing. I could not give you any degree she was down to; a very slight angle, at that time.
And finally, in the Titanic-Post 89, Ioannis Georgiou suggests boat 14 had a list to port when that one was launched:
Die Rettungsboote Nr. 12 und Nr. 14 auf der Backbordseite hatten keine Probleme mit dem Kühlwasserauslauf, so wie die Boote Nr. 11 und Nr. 13 an Steuerbord. Aber warum? War der an Backbord nicht in Betrieb? Ein guter Grund, könnte die Schlagseite nach Backbord gewesen sein, als die Nr. 14 abgefiert wurde. Womöglich war die Schlagseite gross genug, um den Kühlwasserauslauf auf eine Ebene mit der Meeresoberfläche zu bringen oder sogar teilweise unter Wasser.
He is talking about the cooling water outlet which caused the well-known incident with Lifeboat 13. The outlet at the starboard side was above the waterline, causing much trouble for boat 13. But boat 14 never had any trouble with such an outlet. Either the outlet on the port side was not in use or... it was at or below the waterline by the time boat 14 left.

Based on the list, one would suggest boat 9 went first.

How do we resolve this?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Scarrott know McGough. However I think he was wrong that McGough lowered the boat.

I would go with the list. As I see no reason for the ship to swing from a port to a starboard or none list and back again it makes no sense that No. 9 left before No. 14.
We have Morris, Scott, Fitzpatrick mentioning the port list at No. 14 Ester Hart & Charlotte Coiller mentioning in private letters how their daughters were threw into the boat and Lowe that the boat was about 3 feet from the ship side. (I may have forgotten a few others.)
We also have several who mentioned that the port side was full of people and for 30 Minutes nothing happened. Charles Dahl was one of them and he then went to the starboard side and made it just in time at the lowering of No. 15 which he saw when looking over the side and after asking the "Chief" Officer used the ropes to get into the boat.

Scarrott gave some conflicting details (which does not fit with what others said) and he is the only one who claimed that there was a list to starboard when No. 14 left which was there until the bridge went under water.

McGough was in No. 9.
 

Gaston Sam

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Aug 16, 2016
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I've just run into this curious coincidence:

mcgough coincidence.jpg
 
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