I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Edward Calderhead and James McGough were the two that put Molly Brown into boat 6. Where does this story originate from? As I don't remember it from Molly's account.
Molly Brown did indeed claim in one of her many interviews that Calderhead and McGough placed her in boat #6. As you know, this is extremely doubtful since McGough had already left the ship and Calderhead was entering boat #5 at the time when boat #6 was preparing to launch.
In my opinion, the only person who may have helped Molly into the boat was a seaman or other crew member. According to Molly, she was busy helping others into the boat. She helped her friend Mrs. Bucknell into boat number 8, then waited for number 6. I know there may be a comment from others who believe boat #6 left before #8 but I believe most of the evidence contradicts the official report.
Hi Mike: As I had not seen all of Molly's accounts, I was curious as where this claim came from. I wonder if she truly believed this or if it was a reporter twisting facts? It is a shame the account she sent to Gracie was never printed in it's entirety. Unfortunately it is lost forever. Unless a distant Gracie relative has a trunk buried in an attic....
What is this about Boat 6 leaving after 8? I'm very interested to know the times involved. Do you think then that Boat 6 left after 1:10? My new e-mail is [email protected], in case you want to contact me privately. Don't want you to give away fresh research before prying eyes.
It's hard to say just how Molly's interview was interpreted by the reporter. Molly could have been innocently dropping names or she may have just gotten confused. Perhaps two gentlemen did help her but they couldn't have been McGough or Calderhead. She may have confused some of her new shipboard friends. Unfortunately, we may just never know.
It would be wonderful to locate the Gracie correspondence. It has never turned up. Walter Lord made many attempts to find the Gracie papers but to no avail. Personally, I believe whatever collection of material was still in existence after Archie's death in 1912 was later discarded after Mrs. Gracie's passing. Given that she was institutionalized some years before her own death, the material may have even been lost before that or shortly after she was admitted to the facility.
Fortunately, we do have some of Colonel Gracie's correspondence. The Dodge family has several letters from old Archie, and they are filled with in-depth descriptions and exchanges between he and Dr. Dodge. The two men were engaged in a long correspondence over Dr. Dodge's account to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club. Gracie disputed some of Dr. Dodge's beliefs and the two went back and forth during the summer of 1912. If the Dodge/Gracie letters are an example of how detail orientated Colonel Gracie was, it is a great pity that we as researchers are the poorer for the loss of his Titanic correspondence.
I will find that Molly Brown interview so you can have it for your archives, Mike.
No problem about sharing my beliefs about lifeboats #6 and #8, and their order of departure. I had an pleasant exchange with Tad Fitch regarding this same subject several months ago here on the ET.
As I am at the office, I will refrain from getting too specific for lack of research materials. I will say that Major Peuchen and Eloise Smith were very definite in their belief that one lifeboat was lowered and safely reached the water before they entered boat #6. Some researchers suggest that both were referring to boat #4 that was lowered down to A deck - which was the first boat to be prepared. This may be the case. However, both Peuchen and Smith stated that the boat they had seen lowered reached the water. Could they have been confused? It's hard to say.
I have three other sources. One is Colonel Gracie. In his book, he wrote that "notwithstanding Fleet's testimony, I believe #8 preceded #6." Gracie believed that #8 left first - but did not specify why he believed as he did. He was not on the boat deck when boat #6 or #8 left - he was on A deck. He may have seen the different boats lowered through the windows or he may have read Peuchen's and Smith's testimony and believed they were correct over Fleet - or he may have spoken to another survivor. Again, we may never know.
The second source is Marjorie Newell Robb. In her later years, Mrs. Robb stated that she and her sister left in the second lifeboat lowered on the port side. She left the Titanic in boat #6 because she remembered the incident where boat #16 transferred one of its crew to her lifeboat to assist in the rowing. She related that she watched one lifeboat reach the water and once it appeared that the lowering procedures were safe, she and her sister were helped into the next boat by their father. I thought perhaps Mrs. Robb was describing boat #4 as the first boat to be launched given the fact that her memories were over seventy years old when we discussed this event. She may have been witnessing boat #4 but never realized so many years later that this boat did not reach the water until much later. However, she did say that the first boat she observed touched the water and once that was done, her father felt it was safe for his daughters to leave the ship.
Thirdly, Molly Brown assisted Mrs. Bucknell early in the evacuation. Mrs. Bucknell was somewhat panic-stricken following the collision and Molly Brown went up to the boat deck with her friend. Mrs. Bucknell and her maid left the Titanic in boat #8 and this has been confirmed. Molly Brown was in boat #6. I highly doubt that Molly would have abandoned poor Emma Bucknell on the boat deck while she left before her in boat #6. Molly herself stated that once Mrs. Bucknell entered a lifeboat, she turned and walked elsewhere. Shortly afterward, she was picked up and put into boat #6. To my mind, it seems very probable that #8 left before #6 - but perhaps not by more than five or ten minutes.
This is only my belief, Randy, and I do not wish to state this as fact. Many other researchers also believe this incident. We cannot say for sure that Frederick Fleet was wrong, or that Major Peuchen and the other survivors with conflicting beliefs were wrong either. I feel that most of the evidence points toward boat #8 leaving before #6 but I welcome any additional material that you and others may have to support or contradict the long accepted belief.
Sorry I've rambled on somewhat. Isn't Titanic research fun?
Very convincing evidence to me. But as you say we may not know for sure. What then would be the estimated times of departure? Should the accepted times for boats 6 & 8 be reversed with Boat 8 leaving at 12.55?
I'm interested in the times because I believe Boat 1 left later than 1:10 - not much later - but I'm thinking 1:15 or 1:20 because of it's getting hung up on the guy wire on its way down which no one seems to take into account. It may have been prepared to go off at 1:10 but I think it wasn't lowered to the water for some minutes. The boat's getting stuck indicates to me a perceptible list to port which is generally believed not to have occured until 1:20 or after. so that's another reason I'm thinking it left later. And those are only my opinons. The only idea of time we have is from Lucy Duff-Gordon who says Cosmo looked at his watch as the boat cast off from the ship and it read, to her memory, 12:15 AM. This could not have been right. I've wondered if his time was set differently for some reason. If she really thought 12:15, then Cosmo's time was off by at least an hour.
All this is off the subject. Sorry. But thanks for the info on 6 & 8. Very intriguing.
I couldn't really say how far off his watch could have been. Judging by where the Titanic was sinking, there was a three hour difference from the last port of call. So what was 1:15 on the Titanic was 10:15 on land. So there is that margin of error. And bodies that were recovered did not all have 2:00 am on them.