Could Lifeboat #10 have been lowered in 2 stages?


Arun Vajpey

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I have read Bill Wormstedt's article about re-evaluation of launching times of various lifeboats from the Titanic on that fateful night. I found the article extremely well researched and compiled and feel that we have to look seriously at the likelihood that Lifeboat #10 was launched later than originally thought from the aft port side, probably as late as 01:48 am, only a couple of minutes before #4.. Mr Wormstedt mentions several convincing survivor accounts - both passengers and crew - to support this theory; that said, there are also some conflicting reports, notably those from Baker Joughin. All that made me wonder if #10 was actually lowered in 2 stages - first, partially filled from the boat deck to the A deck while #16, #14 and #12 were still being loaded on the boat deck and second, from the A-deck to the water a bit later after the other 3 aft port boats had been completely lowered.


Going what appears to be chronologically, Joughin reportedly told the British Enquiry that #10, which he helped to load, was the first aft port boat to be lowered. This would mean that he saw all 4 port aft boats at some stage and saw #10 being 'lowered' while the other 3 were still on their boat deck davits. At some stage (later?), Joughin also helped to load #10, describing how he ‘threw’ children and even some adults across the gap between the ship’s side and the lifeboat. This was also the time when a female passenger nearly fell through that gap between the lifeboat and the ship while boarding.


That ‘gap’ could only mean that the Titanic’s port list was significant by then, something that did not seem so obvious when #16.#14 and #12 were lowered. Joughin himself mentioned that port list in his report; Crew members Evans & Buley as well as passengers Nellie O’Dwyer, Ada Ball (who recalled Joughin’s ‘throwing’ actions) and Gretchen Longley, all of whom escaped on #10, made statements to allude that #10 was the ‘last boat’ on their side. Of course, they could not have seen #4 from their vantage point and so must have meant the last of the port aft boats.


There are also conflicting reports about the officer involved in loading #10. Evans stated that he helped lower #12 to the sea, saw it row away and then went to help lower #10 to the boat deck for further loading while Murdoch supervised. But Joughin is supposed to have mentioned Wilde near #10, although that report is not substantiated. If Joughin really was periodically ‘fortifying’ himself by quick visits below decks, could he have made a time error in his later reports?


That is what made me wonder about the possibility of a 2-stage lowering of Lifeboat #10 that night. Could events have happened something like this?


***Sometime after 01:00 am Wilde briefly stops near #10 and orders the partially filled boat to be lowered from the boat deck to A-deck. Joughin sees this initial lowering with the other three port aft boats still on boat deck. He also notices Wilde.

***Joughin goes below for one of his fortification trips and while he was there, #16. #14 and #12 were lowered. (
Poingdestre said that there were “hundreds of passengers around those 3 boats and Lowe reported that those 3 boats were very quickly lowered one after another; Joughin himself said that he did not see #16, #14 or #12 being lowered and so it all fits in.)

***When Joughin comes back up, #10 is on A-deck now and the port list is swinging the lifeboat away from the side of the ship as noted by Joughin himself as he helped to load additional passengers. Evans and Buley are also working on the boat and this time Murdoch is around controlling the loading as noted by Evans in his report. The boat is eventually lowered just before #4 further forward (both parties not in direct line of vision).



I am not claiming any evidence for this 2-stage lowering but just asking about the possibility of that happening to tie in with almost all survivor statements related to #10. It would explain Joughin seeing lowering of #10 (albeit only as far as A-deck) before other aft port boats, his seeing Wilde near #10, the ‘gap’ between #10 and the ship as it was further loaded (later), Evans, Buley and some passengers’ report that #10 left after the other aft boats and Evans seeing Murdoch in charge of lowering #10. But it would also have to suppose that Joughin was misunderstood or got mixed-up about being on the boat deck near #10 initially and a bit later on A-deck helping to load the lifeboat; and also that when Evans reported lowering #10 from the ‘boat deck’ onto the water, he really meant the A-deck.
 
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Jim Currie

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AB Buley assisted in lowering all the starboard side boats then went over to the port side and helped with them. he said No, 10 was the only boat left i.e.still visible from the boat deck and that Evans was ordered in to help him. He could not have seen boat No, 4 which was still hanging in her falls.
One young lady passenger missed her footing and it slipped between the side of the lifeboat and the ship. Someone on A deck pushed her back upward. That boat was fully loaded to capacity at the boat deck Arun. I don't think there would have been room for any more to be loaded from A deck.
 

Arun Vajpey

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One young lady passenger missed her footing and it slipped between the side of the lifeboat and the ship. Someone on A deck pushed her back upward. That boat was fully loaded to capacity at the boat deck Arun. I don't think there would have been room for any more to be loaded from A deck.
Thanks Jim. That settles it then. Irrespective of whether there was room in the boat or not, #10 must still have been on the boat deck if someone from A-deck had to push her up when she was hanging between the boat and ship. And the fact that the gap was already present meant that the port list was significant while #10 was still on the boat deck.

That would mean that Joughin was wrong when he said that #10 was the first aft port boat lowered, which I understand formed the basis of the report by the British Investigation about the time various lifeboats were lowered?
 
Mar 18, 2008
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That ‘gap’ could only mean that the Titanic’s port list was significant by then, something that did not seem so obvious when #16.#14 and #12 were lowered.
There was also a gap at boats Nos. 14 & 12 (there is mention of a gap and the port list during the loading and lowering). No. 14 was lowered before No. 10 (and after No. 16 & 12).


I am not claiming any evidence for this 2-stage lowering but just asking about the possibility of that happening to tie in with almost all survivor statements related to #10. It would explain Joughin seeing lowering of #10 (albeit only as far as A-deck) before other aft port boats, his seeing Wilde near #10, the ‘gap’ between #10 and the ship as it was further loaded (later), Evans, Buley and some passengers’ report that #10 left after the other aft boats and Evans seeing Murdoch in charge of lowering #10. But it would also have to suppose that Joughin was misunderstood or got mixed-up about being on the boat deck near #10 initially and a bit later on A-deck helping to load the lifeboat; and also that when Evans reported lowering #10 from the ‘boat deck’ onto the water, he really meant the A-deck.
Evans also claimed that Murdoch was at boat No. 12 which was not the case. He most likely is wrong about Murdoch being at No. 12 and 10 and it was actually Wilde.
Joughin did not load boat No. 10 from A Deck, he helped women and children he found on A Deck up to the boat deck.
 
Aug 16, 2016
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The only ones that apparently entered lifeboat 10 from A deck were the two male stowaways.

When Evans said "I lowered the boat with the assistance of a steward" he meant he lowered it level with the boat deck. I don't know but it is probable that lifeboat 10 wasn't even swung out by then. It's even possible it still had to be uncovered by the time they started filling 12, 14 & 16.

Now why was this boat preparation left to the end? Maybe a big crowd grew there and they decided to start filling the other boats before they had any time to make No. 10 ready, or they didn't make it ready as it would be really difficult to control the crowd with four boats hanging from the davits.
Or maybe Wilde, who had been over-cautions with the lifeboats earlier, decided to forget about No. 10 for a while, maybe hoping help would arrive in time, or even hoping the ship would float.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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When Evans said "I lowered the boat with the assistance of a steward" he meant he lowered it level with the boat deck. I don't know but it is probable that lifeboat 10 wasn't even swung out by then. It's even possible it still had to be uncovered by the time they started filling 12, 14 & 16.
Boat No. 10 had been uncovered and swung out the same time as the other boats.
 
Aug 16, 2016
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Do you have a source to that? I know from what Evans said, that at least it had to be lowered level with the fishplate. But from what I remember of the testimonies from surviving ABs that prepared the aft port boats (Lucas, Clench, Archer) none of them ever mentioned lifeboat 10 in that process.
 
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Mar 18, 2008
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I know from what Evans said, that at least it had to be lowered level with the fishplate.
Which does not fit with this;
Senator FLETCHER. Boat No. 10 was on the port side?
Mr. BULEY. Yes, sir.
Senator FLETCHER. Who helped lower it? I believe you said you helped to lower all the boats?
Mr. BULEY. I helped to lower all of them. Chief Officer Murdoch ordered me into the boat, finally, and he said, "Is there any more seamen?" I said, "No, sir."
Senator FLETCHER. Mr. Ismay got in one of the boats?
Mr. BULEY. I do not know which one it was. No. 12 was the last boat before me to be lowered, and Evans was one of the men that lowered that boat, and after he lowered that away I called him and told him Chief Officer Murdoch gave me orders to find a seaman and tell him to come in the boat with me, and he jumped in my boat.

Aside from that, Chief Officer Wilde send people who did not got into boat No. 8 aft to No. 10. Which fit well with this:

Mr. Burke: ...I went to the port side from there. I assisted with No. 8 boat. I saw her lowered down, full of women, and I immediately passed down to the next boat, which was No. 10. As I got to No. 10 boat, the chief officer was there. I just heard him say, "How many seamen are in that boat?" The answer came back, "Two, sir." He turned to some man standing there and said, "Is there any man here can pull an oar?" Nobody answered, but a man who seemed to me like a foreigner got close to him, and I didn't hear what he said, but he simply pushed him aside, and he said "You are of no use to me."

Lightoller was at boat No. 10 (he is also mentioned by Lowe) none of them said anything that boat No. 10 was not ready.
Joughin (and another one) stated the aft boats were ready.
 
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Aug 16, 2016
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I didn't know Lightoller was at No. 10.

At any rate, the problem with Burke's account is that, when he heard the reply to the chief officer that there were two seamen aboard -I guess they were Buley and Evans-, that would mean lifeboat 12 had already been lowered.
Unless No.8 was actually launched really that late, maybe some time passed from the moment Burke went to No. 10 until he heard that.
 
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From what I see boat No. 8 did left "late" in my lifeboat time line I have it about 1:25 a.m. Aside that there was a list to port when No. 8 was loaded and lowered, people who were on deck left behind were send to boat No. 10. (The lowering seems to have been carried out by Captain Smith. Lightoller who was there first left the loading to Wilde and Wilde seems to have left the remaining loading and lowering to Captain Smith.)
1st Class Passenger Mrs. Margaret Swift who left with boat No. 8 stated "it was between 1 and 1:30 o'clock when we left that ship." (By 1:10 a.m. the ship did not had a list to port).

Regarding Burke, we do not know how long he stayed and if he did try to put the falls aside or walked slowly to the aft part.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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One young lady passenger missed her footing and it slipped between the side of the lifeboat and the ship. Someone on A deck pushed her back upward. That boat was fully loaded to capacity at the boat deck Arun. I don't think there would have been room for any more to be loaded from A deck.
Jim, can I please take you up on this? On ET and elsewhere, I have read that this woman was pulled down onto the A-deck after her near fall (as task which would have been physically easier, I imagine) rather than pushed back up to the boat deck. If the former is true, then she'd have to go back up to the boat deck to board #10, which William Burke claimed that she did. Is that right?
 
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On ET and elsewhere, I have read that this woman was pulled down onto the A-deck after her near fall (as task which would have been physically easier, I imagine) rather than pushed back up to the boat deck. If the former is true, then she'd have to go back up to the boat deck to board #10, which William Burke claimed that she did. Is that right?
Mr. Evans: One woman slipped and fell. Her heel must have caught on the rail of the deck, and she fell down and some one on the deck below caught her and pulled her up. Her heel caught in the rail, I think, as she was jumping, and they pulled her in onto the next deck. She was a woman in a black dress.
Senator Smith: Do you know who she was? Did you ever see her afterwards?
Mr. Evans: Yes, sir; she came up onto the boat deck again, and then jumped again, and she came into the boat that time all right.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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But if her heel was caught on the boat deck rail, how could someone on A-deck below pull her 'up'? She must have fallen further for someone on A-deck to have caught her and helped her on to that deck.
 
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But if her heel was caught on the boat deck rail, how could someone on A-deck below pull her 'up'? She must have fallen further for someone on A-deck to have caught her and helped her on to that deck.
What boat deck rail?
Maybe you should read the testimony:

Mr. Burke: I might say that about the last woman that was about to be passed in slipped, and was about to fall between the ship and the boat when I caught her. I just saved her from falling. Her head passed toward the next deck below. A passenger caught her by the shoulders and forced me to leave go. It was my intention to pull her back in the boat. He would not let go of the woman, but pulled her right on the ship.



And Joughin:
6240. (...) We wanted to throw her in, and I think she preferred to try and step in.
6241. What happened? – She missed her footing.
6242. What happened then? – This steward named Burke got hold of her foot and she swung head downwards for a few minutes, but she was got into B deck. Somebody caught her into B deck - no, A Deck