British less likely to survive

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Paul Rogers

Jun 1, 2000
West Sussex, UK
Polite Poms "had no chance on Titanic"

American passengers on the Titanic managed to get off the sinking cruise liner in time because they pushed their way into lifeboats, while their fellow British passengers politely queued, a Brisbane researcher has found.

For the rest of the article, click here.
Dec 29, 2006
I think this is a case of a serious article being traduced by the use of a dumbed-down newspaper article with a sensational headline. Some of the findings seem to me to have been well-presented and thought-provoking. For example, we are told that, on the Titanic, “being female rather than male increased the probability of survival between 23.7 and 53.9 percentage points", while “children aged 15 and below were 30 percent more likely to survive than passengers aged 51 or more”. The researchers also compared the survival probability among women with children and women without children and concluded that “having a child and being in the reproductive age” had a “strong and robust impact on the survival probability”. Interestingly, they also found that having a child increased the probability of survival among male passengers.
May 27, 2007
The point about the crew seems to be inaccurate as my understanding is that the crew suffered the greatest percentage of loss of life than any other group on board.
Yeah but they were in a position to know what was going on if anybody was.

Well, I guess sometimes it's good to be a pushy yank. I, for one sure wouldn't be standing on the deck waiting for a place in a lifeboat. I'd be swimming for one. I'd figure that the ship was going to sink anyways towards the end and I'd end up being wet and cold so I might as well make a go for it. Americans have or had a can do attitude and a will to fight and survive by over coming obstacles. Obama has been preaching it to us all this week. It seems we'd forgotten it and need it back. But we had it in spades in 1912 is what the article is saying.

Brian Ahern

Dec 19, 2002
Unless I missed it, the article doesn't mention that First Class was overwhelmingly American, while the other two classes and the crew were overwhelmingly British. This, far more than anything, accounts for national survivor ratios, IMO.

That said, examining shipwrecks throughout history would give one the impression that British sailors have a bred-in-the-bone respect for discipline and gallantry in times of crisis. I can't think of any British shipwreck in which the crew took the lifeboats and abandoned passengers, as happened during the Arctic (the Collins liner), Morro Castle, Andrea Doria, and Oceanos sinkings.

Bob Couttie

Aug 8, 2008
I have a copy of the paper. The stats analysis seems sound but falls short when it comes to crew. Female crewmembers were less likely to survive than male but it doesn't have enough data resolution to determine what the female crew members were, so it's comparing stokers etc. with deck hands and officers.

The report also appears to assume that the crew had special training, but there were few lifeboat drills on the Titanic so they really didn't have that much more knowledge than the passengers.

Also, the stats may be skewed because one would expect a crewmember to be in each lifebot.
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