Did any mothers give their infants or children to other women boarding the lifeboats?

Dan Kappes

Member
Sep 26, 2018
379
73
38
26
Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
I was inspired to ask this question after seeing a scene in the Family Guy episode Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure in which the three characters mentioned in the episode title end up on the Titanic during their time-traveling adventure.

In the episode, the three title characters dress up as First Class women in order to board a lifeboat. As the boat is preparing to be lowered, a steerage woman with an infant asks Stewie to take her baby, but he refuses.

Here is a video clip of it. It's at 1:50.


Since most steerage passengers were either trapped below decks or got to the boat deck only during the final moments when all the lifeboats were gone, this scene doesn't really seem historically accurate and probably wasn't really intended to be.

However, could such a situation have happened in real life, in which a second class or steerage woman would ask a First Class woman to save her child?
 
Last edited:
Nov 14, 2005
654
247
113
I would think that if any woman with children was at a spot to ask that she would have probably been on the boat deck and the crew would have loaded them in a boat. If any asked the people in the boats to take their children as the boats were being loaded I don't know. Haven't heard of any that did. But thats part of the tradgedy that night. I know hindsight is 20-20 and all that but Captain Smith and crew should have loaded the boats with nothing but women and children besides a crew memeber to run the boat. With the conditions that night they could have overloaded the boats especially with all the small children and could probably have saved them all if not the vast majority. I think the Capt. knew early enough that the ship was doomed to pull that off. But its one of things we'll never know.
 

Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
296
117
43
Glasgow, Scotland
It's an awkward one.

Part of it of course has to do with how incredibly stubborn we human beings are. Some people simply just wouldn't get into a boat whilst they had the chance.

I think it was Dr Lee over on his website who made the point that Thomas Andrews was seen assisting at a couple of starboard boats that went away half filled or thereabouts and yet there is no account of him making a protest about it.

Now I could be wrong on this and I'm happy to be corrected but I don't think that Roderick Chisholm (who actually designed the Titanic's lifeboats) has ever been mentioned in any survivors account ?

ET's own Bob Read wrote this very thought provoking article that changed how I viewed the whole "boats half full" problem. The crew's suspicions over the lifeboats holding capacity, may have been somewhat justified. Here's the article - http://www.titanic-cad-plans.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Davit-Failure-Article1.pdf

Imagine having put ones wife and kiddies into the supposed safety of a lifeboat, crammed with over seventy adults, without even counting the children. Watch them slowly descend down the side of the ship. Then with an ear splitting "clang !", one of the davit arms fails, the boat is left swaying like a pendulum from just one arm and all these women and kids are now desperately thrashing about in the sea. As Bob says in his article, the crew would have had an uphill task persuading people to get into the remaining boats after witnessing an incident like that.

Bill Wormstedt and Tad Fitch did a thorough rundown of the numbers for each boat and took into account transfers during the night - http://wormstedt.com/Titanic/lifeboats/occupancy.pdf
 
Nov 14, 2005
654
247
113
Yes good points Seumas. I'm sure pretty most everyone that uses this board knows that many in the early part of the sinking didn't want to get in the boats. They were sure that Titanic wouldn't sink. But once Captain Smith and Andrews and crew knew she was doomed he should have forced the children in the boats. I'm not sure of the math but I would think 12 and under they probably could have gotten 80 or 90 in a boat with the sea conditions that night. But like I said earlier 20-20 hindsight is a wonderfull thing. They way things went that night its amazing that the 700 or so odd people were saved.
 

Dan Kappes

Member
Sep 26, 2018
379
73
38
26
Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
I bet all those people who refused earlier to board a lifeboat deeply regretted their foolish decision when the Titanic upended and they were plunged into the icy water! :p

It's also amazing that human instinct led all those people to gather on the stern of the ship, the final haven.
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Jan 31, 2018
636
107
53
Yes as in her biography book by John Maxtone-Graham. Handed a baby in lifeboat No16. Whist on the recuse ship Carpathia hold the baby in her frozen arms to keep the child warm, a women snatched the baby from her and run away. Never gave a word of thanks for saving the child. In her retirement in1970 a women rang her up to say, I was that baby and laughed abruptly hung up and never called back.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harland Duzen