Did Lightoller's panic cost lives?

Do you think Lightoller cost lives because of his panic?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 53.3%
  • No

    Votes: 7 46.7%

  • Total voters
    15

Haashir Ahmad

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Aug 16, 2020
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1st officer Murdoch played a cool and calm head in the sinking of the ship, he loaded the boats close to its full capacity and didn't lower the boats half full or quickly! Murdoch also followed the orders correctly, the captain ordered "Women and children first", Murdoch allowed men to get on if they were no women in the area or women wanted to get in! This action saved quiet a lot of lives! However 2nd officer Lightoller was merely panicked throughout the sinking! He allowed no men to get on the boats and took the captains order to "Women and children only", this action cost a number of lives in the sinking! Lightoller's panic also caused the boats to be lowered quickly not giving the crew enough time to put a number of passengers into the boats! Lightoller allowed most of the boats to go with only half full! There were a number of women who wouldn't get on the boat, Lightoller could've allowed the men who did went to go in the boats saving the more lives! But Lightoller was still a hero for many!
 

Arun Vajpey

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Apr 21, 2009
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While it is true that Murdoch showed greater maturity and common sense in loading his lifeboats compared with Lightoller, it is not true that all the former’s boats were ‘nearly full’. The earlier starboard lifeboats like #7, #5, #1 etc were only partly loaded. Perhaps Murdoch believed that they could be loaded further at water level. But he did interpret the situation and orders correctly and allowed men to board where there were no women or children in the immediate vicinity. That meant that a lot of male survivors owed their lives to Murdoch.

I don’t think Lightoller ‘panicked’ or anything but he interpreted “women and children FIRST” as “women and children ONLY” and went to ridiculous lengths to enforce it. Therefore, there is some truth in the belief that Lightoller’s stubbornness cost many male lives.
 
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There were not many people around when the forward starboard boats were loaded. Most found a place in Nos. 7, 5 & 3. When No. 1 was loaded it were mainly crew members who were still there while several passengers went aft or to the other side.

Lightoller was not in panic. His "interpretation" woman and children only and letting half empty boats to the water was also followed by Chief Wilde and Captain Smith himself.
 
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William Oakes

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Mar 6, 2020
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Lightoller never panicked.He followed his orders.
As the night progressed into morning and the severity of the sinking became clear, he and passengers changed their ways of thinking.
Lightoller was, and is, a hero.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Lightoller was, and is, a hero.

Lightoller was a good company man would would have made an excellent modern Corporate "yes man" . He was most certainly NOT a Titanic hero. It would not be unfair to say that he needlessly turned away directly or indirectly at least 50 people, mostly adult men, who did not survive but who could have been saved without compromising anyone else had Lightoller used a bit of common sense like Murdoch.

The other thing is that to my dying day I'll believe that Lightoller never expected to go down with the ship himself. He was a born survivor and IMO always had a flexible survival mode that could be adjusted depending on the circumstances. Mind you, that is NOT something for which that I would blame him; if I was in his shoes, I would also have taken a chance if survival was possible.

But there is no excuse for his turning away men, even teenage kids, even when there was room in the lifeboats.
 
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William Oakes

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A hero? Why?
For not filling lifeboats properly? For sending away stewardesses from lifeboats because they were crew? For not letting children over 12 years into a lifeboat?
Pretty easy for you to judge from the comfort of your chair.
You weren't on a sinking ship charged with loading boats under extreme duress.
Yes, Lightoller was, and IS a hero.
 
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William Oakes

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Lightoller was a good company man would would have made an excellent modern Corporate "yes man" . He was most certainly NOT a Titanic hero. It would not be unfair to say that he needlessly turned away directly or indirectly at least 50 people, mostly adult men, who did not survive but who could have been saved without compromising anyone else had Lightoller used a bit of common sense like Murdoch.

The other thing is that to my dying day I'll believe that Lightoller never expected to go down with the ship himself. He was a born survivor and IMO always had a flexible survival mode that could be adjusted depending on the circumstances. Mind you, that is NOT something for which that I would blame him; if I was in his shoes, I would also have taken a chance if survival was possible.

But there is no excuse for his turning away men, even teenage kids, even when there was room in the lifeboats.
Lightoller did his job and followed orders.
He IS a hero.
 

William Oakes

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I did not know that doing his job makes someone to a hero.
Under extreme duress, I would say that it does, but that is my opinion.
Every officer on board that ship was a hero in my book, except for perhaps Hitchens, whose conduct was unbecoming, but I even give him a pass because I believe that he was having a complete nervous breakdown.
You have your opinion and I have mine and I doubt that either of us will change each others minds.
I respect your opinion, but I disagree.
These men were heroes all.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Under extreme duress, I would say that it does, but that is my opinion.
Every officer on board that ship was a hero in my book, except for perhaps Hitchens, whose conduct was unbecoming, but I even give him a pass because I believe that he was having a complete nervous breakdown.
You have your opinion and I have mine and I doubt that either of us will change each others minds.
I respect your opinion, but I disagree.
These men were heroes all.
First of all, QM Hichens was not an officer. By the way, it is Hichens, not Hitchens.

Secondly, The situation was stressful for all concerned but Lightoller took no greater burden upon himself than anyone else. True, they all did their jobs, but some better than others. In the aftermath of the disaster, Lightoller, being the senior surviving officer and off-duty at the time of the collision, found himself in a position of getting most of the attention, not all of which was providential or coincidental. Pitman left the ship early and kept a relatively low profile afterwards, Boxhall was on duty at the time of collision and had questions to answer about his navigation etc and so it was all Lightoller and to some extent Lowe who made the headlines, especially in later years. The laughable portrayal of Kenneth More in Lightoller's role in the 1958 film A Night To Remember is an example.

You are welcome to hero-worship Lightoller till the cows come home (and even afterwards, if it pleases you), but that does not make him a hero. No way.
 

William Oakes

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First of all, QM Hichens was not an officer. By the way, it is Hichens, not Hitchens.

Secondly, The situation was stressful for all concerned but Lightoller took no greater burden upon himself than anyone else. True, they all did their jobs, but some better than others. In the aftermath of the disaster, Lightoller, being the senior surviving officer and off-duty at the time of the collision, found himself in a position of getting most of the attention, not all of which was providential or coincidental. Pitman left the ship early and kept a relatively low profile afterwards, Boxhall was on duty at the time of collision and had questions to answer about his navigation etc and so it was all Lightoller and to some extent Lowe who made the headlines, especially in later years. The laughable portrayal of Kenneth More in Lightoller's role in the 1958 film A Night To Remember is an example.

You are welcome to hero-worship Lightoller till the cows come home (and even afterwards, if it pleases you), but that does not make him a hero. No way.
That is your opinion.
I'm aware that Hichens wasn't an officer but that evening he was placed in an authoritarian role and failed.
As for my misspelling of the name, it happens.
Don't belittle me.
I haven't disrespected you, act like a man and be respectful.
This isn't high school where we are trying to out do one another.
I respect your opinions, but I disagree with you.
Lightoller and all of the officers were and are heroes, and that is my opinion.
Cheers!
 

William Oakes

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What heroic actions did Lightoller do to make him a hero? What risks did he take to save others? What courageous undertakings was he involved with?
Wilde told Lightoller to get in a boat and he replied, "Not Likely!" and continued trying to ready one of the collapsible's.
He gave up the chance to save himself when he could have taken it, and he continued working to save the lives of others.
The man not only loaded boats, which was obviously physically taxing as the ships surgeon, O'Loughlin, cracked a joke, something to the effect of, "Are you warm Lights?" Lightoller was ringing wet with sweat, in spite of 32 degree temps... and while doing all of this, he is maintaining crowd control, and keeping his cool while the ship is literally sinking out from under him.
It is pretty obvious that I am in the minority among this group, but that matters very little to me. I've never held the goal of being popular or going along with the crowd.
I base my opinion on Lightoller being a hero, on the facts of how he conducted himself on that night.
A good read about Lightoller is The Odessey of C.H. Lightoller, by Patrick Stenson.
Contrary to what one of the previous posters inferred about me, I don't base my opinions on Hollywood movies.
I've read and studied this ship for over 50 years, just like many of you have.
I'm not a kid and I'm not new to Titanic.
In my opinion, Charles H. Lightoller was and is a hero.
 
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Jim Currie

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Forgive them mark, "for they know-not what th"ey are talking about.

On a British Merchant vessel, there are no arbitrary decision during the early part of an emergency... that only happens when things start to get out of hand th en, as Captain S mith is alleged to have said "save yourselves"
Wilde was in charge of the entire boat loading operation under th direction of the captain. Lightoller was in charge of the port side and Murdoch, the starboard side. They all did as they were ordered to do by Wilde s conduit for the captain. They word "hero" today is over-used. You are not a hero if you carry out your duty as ordered. You are only a hero if you act above and beyond your duty and that action saves lives. History shows us that there are 2 kinds of hero...both ususally end up dead. One takes others with him or her.
Incidentally, you will recall that 5th officer Lowe would not launch a boat without a direct order from the captain
 
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William Oakes

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Would you agree then, that Lightoller probably should have died that night, and that he did in fact "Cheat Death" as he had done so many times previously in his career at sea?
And would again later.
 

Jim Currie

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Anyone who was submerged in that water for any time that morning should have died of hypothermia. Lightoller was like a cat with 9 lives. Actally, lightoller was the kind of man superstitious sailors avoided salling with. I would not be surprised to learn that his past adventures and near-misses had brand him by some as a Jonah. He seems to have been the type of man whom we used to say would "Fall in to a cesspool and come out diamond studded and smelling of roses" Unfortunalely, the luck of such men seldom if ever rubs off.
 
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Mar 18, 2008
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Wilde told Lightoller to get in a boat and he replied, "Not Likely!" and continued trying to ready one of the collapsible's.

And that is Lightoller's made up version in his book
Steward Hardy mentioned that he got into the boat (no order from Wilde) and only left as there were to less people to lower the forward fall. Aside from that Lightoller went into the collapsible boat himself but previously ordered ABS Lucas out of it.
 

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