Did Lowe put a gun to a young boy's head?

J

Jim Kalafus

Member
A rather chilling look at the responsibilities shouldered by adults as young as 14 years old, can be found in the victims list of the March 25, 1911, Triangle Fire in NYC. An event which, far more than the Titanic, awoke the U.S. with a start. The factory, which BTW, represented the BEST working conditions in NYC, and not the worst as legend later implied, was one block away from Washington Square and a two minute walk from the fashionable shops along Broadway. Subsequently, a lot of "The best sort of people" were compelled to watch as children working in adult jobs, jumped from the burning ninth floor.

I've isolated the 14-17 year old victims, 29 out of 146, and listed how they died as well, since THAT gives insight into how they fared inside the burning work floor during the four minutes in which it was possible to escape.

Those listed "multiple injuries" were, most likely, those who jumped from the Washington Place windows. These were the first to die, "control jumped," and landed feet first.

Those listed multiple injuries and burns, and fractured skulls, were those who stayed in the factory until the last second. The fire pushed them into the Greene Street windows, and as they began to ignite, they pushed and fell uncontrolled, out of the windows in several large groups. Those who landed first served as cushioning for those who landed on top of them, allowing at least a dozen workers, of all ages, to die in the hospital. Others collapsed a section of sidewalk and set the basement on fire.

Those listed as "burns" either died near the locked Washington Place exit, or hid in the dressing room and tried to outlast the fire.

Asdvokaat artwork


(Washington Place on left. Ninth floor, second from top. Most of those who voluntarily jumped, jumped from the three windows closest to the corner. Greene Street on right. Photo taken 4/2008.)


Anna Altman, 16. Fractured skull.
Ignazia Bellota, 16. Burns.
Ida Brodsky, 16. Burns.
Laura Brunette, 17. Multiple injuries.
Francis Caputto, 17. Multiple injuries.
Celia Eisenberg, 17. Fractured skull.
Rebecca Feibisch, 17. Died in hospital of multiple injuries and burns.
Jennie Franco, 17. burns.
Molly Gerstein, 17. Fractured skull.
Celia Gettlin, 17. Fractured skull.
Rachael Grossman, 17. Burns.
Rosie Grosso, 17. Burns.
Tillie Kuppersmith, 16. Multiple injuries and burns.
Sarah Kupla, 16. Died after 5 days in a coma, jumped from ninth floor.
Annie l'Abbatto, 16. Multiple injuries.
Kate Leone, 14. Burns.
Sara Maltese, 14. Burns.
Gaetana Midolo, 16. Burns.
Antonietta Pasqualicca, 16. Multiple injuries.
Israel Rosen, 17. Burns.
Sarah Sabasowitz, 17. Burns.
Augusta Schiffmann, 17. Broken neck.
Rose Shapiro, 17. Burns.
Jennie Stellino, 16. Multiple injuries.
Isabella Tortorella, 17. Burns and a fractured skull. She was one of the workers who collapsed the sidewalk, and was found impacted into the building's furnace pipes. Identifiable only by an "I.T." initial bracelet she wore.
Bessie Viviano, 15. Burns.
Celia Weintraub, 17. Multiple injuries.
Sonia Wisotsky, 17. Burns.
Berta Wandrus, 17. Died in hospital of multiple injuries.

And, as I said, Triangle represented the BEST of all possible working conditions. There were two staircases, three elevators, electric lights, multiple toilets, running water, and full banks of windows along three walls. There were also set wages, salary raises, and a time clock. Parents saved money to buy their children jobs there, to get them out of the true hellhole sweatshops.

That is the world in which Lowe, the alleged 15 year old, and Jack Thayer all coexisted.
 
M

Matteo Eyre

Member
My money says that this is true as Lowe was totally against men trying to get into the boats and he says he threw some men out, i do believe that this is something the officer would have done if they had caught a person under the seats in the boat but i do not believe that Lowe would have killed a man or young man in front of the women in the boat, i believe that he would have thrown him out with the help of some others
Matteo :)
 
M.A.S.

M.A.S.

3rd class
Member
After reading about his story in VOYAGERS of the TITANIC: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds they Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines (published during the centennial, 2012), I tried to look up the name he suggested, then I tried to search by other keywords. Whether or not it is an exaggerated story, I'm not sure. (I recall reading about it in another book too, but now I forget which one. If it's already quoted on here I don't know). I started crying before I read that the women in the lifeboat were sobbing... as if I was in there, crying with them. If you're up for hearing it, grab a box of Kleenex, it's a tear-jerker!...

"Fifth Officer Harold Lowe jumped into lifeboat 14 and ordered it to lower away. 'The sailors on deck had started to obey him, when a very sad thing happened,' Charlotte Collyer continued. 'A young lad'--possibly the sixteen-year-old Liverpudlian Alfred Gaskell, who was being taken to Canada in second class by bachelor Joseph Fynney--'almost small enough to be counted as a child, was standing close to the rail. He had made no attempt to force his way into the boat, though his eyes had been fixed piteously on the officer. Now, when he realized that he was really to be left behind, his courage failed him. With a cry, he climbed upon the rail and leaped down into the boat. He fell among us women, and crawled under a seat. I and another woman covered him up with our skirts. We wanted to give the poor lad a chance; but the officer dragged him to his feet and ordered him back upon the ship.' The stripling [young man] begged for his life, saying that he would not fill much space; but Lowe drew his revolver and thrust it at his face. 'I give you just ten seconds to get back on that ship before I blow your brains out!' he shouted. The lad only begged the harder, and I thought I should see him shot as he stood. But the officer suddenly changed his tone. He lowered his revolver, and looked the boy squarely in the eyes. 'For God's sake, be a man!' he said gently. 'We've got women and children to save. We must stop at the decks lower down and taken on women and children.' In truth, no lifeboat halted at a lower deck for women and children. The lad climbed back over the rail speechlessly, took a few unsteady steps, then lay face down upon the deck with his head beside a coil of rope. The women in the lifeboat were sobbing." (pg. 234-235).​
I don't know that he made it to safety after that, probably not. :( Very few were able to swim to lifeboats. R.I.P. :(
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it's a true incident, I sure hope Officer Lower truly did NOT shoot him. (I'm wondering how many bad things happened that were covered up later to protect people's reputations. After all, shooting him would be regrettably cruel.) Poor guy would've had a better chance trying to get in lifeboat 13, or another, perhaps. I wish Charlotte's husband (and other husbands) would have made it into other boats, like they sometimes let their wives believe they would, so that the women would leave them behind and get in. Everyone deserved a place in the lifeboat, but whether or not they made it seemed to depend on the compassion around them. For example,

"By contrast, the young Irishman Daniel Buckley attributed his survival in lifeboat 13 to another passenger's compassion. He had got in early, with a crowd of other men, all of whom were ordered out to let women in. He started crying, and a woman threw her shawl over him and told him to stay still. The seamen did not realize Buckley's gender." (Davenport-Hines, pg. 237. Buckley, Senate Inquiry.)

Now that last story warms my heart! :D Yay for shawls! I'm currently crocheting one, too. I'll think of him while I work on it. :) (By the way, I wonder how many guys disguised themselves as ladies in an attempt to survive, and how often it worked, and if they had to continue their disguise when they reached America, or what. Curiouser and curiouser).
 
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Seumas

Seumas

Member
After reading about his story in VOYAGERS of the TITANIC: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds they Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines (published during the centennial, 2012), I tried to look up the name he suggested, then I tried to search by other keywords. Whether or not it is an exaggerated story, I'm not sure. (I recall reading about it in another book too, but now I forget which one. If it's already quoted on here I don't know). I started crying before I read that the women in the lifeboat were sobbing... as if I was in there, crying with them. If you're up for hearing it, grab a box of Kleenex, it's a tear-jerker!...


I don't know that he made it to safety after that, probably not. :( Very few were able to swim to lifeboats. R.I.P. :(
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it's a true incident, I sure hope Officer Lower truly did NOT shoot him. (I'm wondering how many bad things happened that were covered up later to protect people's reputations. After all, shooting him would be regrettably cruel.) Poor guy would've had a better chance trying to get in lifeboat 13, or another, perhaps. I wish Charlotte's husband (and other husbands) would have made it into other boats, like they sometimes let their wives believe they would, so that the women would leave them behind and get in. Everyone deserved a place in the lifeboat, but whether or not they made it seemed to depend on the compassion around them. For example,



Now that last story warms my heart! :D Yay for shawls! I'm currently crocheting one, too. I'll think of him while I work on it. :) (By the way, I wonder how many guys disguised themselves as ladies in an attempt to survive, and how often it worked, and if they had to continue their disguise when they reached America, or what. Curiouser and curiouser).
Harold Lowe did not shoot anyone.

He did fire his automatic three times as a warning to a panicking crowd and that's it. The claim that he had a young boy kneeling on the deck with a gun to his head is not supported by anyone else.

(I'm wondering how many bad things happened that were covered up later to protect people's reputations. After all, shooting him would be regrettably cruel.)

No evidence of a massive cover up has ever been produced. Because there wasn't any.

By the fifties the Titanic's surviving crew were elderly UK working class pensioners, the WSL was defunct and key people (Lightoller, Bride, Ismay, Pirrie, Lord Mersey for example) were now dead and couldn't sue. These survivivors were in the perfect position to reveal jaw dropping secrets but none of them came forward with any big revelations (except those who insisted that the ship had broken in two) because there weren't any.

A gentle word of advice too. Charlatans like Robin Gardiner (do not waste your time reading his books) have used the whole "there was a cover up" card before to support their completely untrue claims. It's too easy a thing to say. There has to be evidence. If there isn't evidence there is no case.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Harold Lowe did not shoot anyone.

He did fire his automatic three times as a warning to a panicking crowd and that's it. The claim that he had a young boy kneeling on the deck with a gun to his head is not supported by anyone else.

Charlatans like Robin Gardiner (do not waste your time reading his books) have used the whole "there was a cover up" card before to support their completely untrue claims. It's too easy a thing to say. There has to be evidence. If there isn't evidence there is no case.
Agreed completely, Lowe fired 3 times along the side of the ship to deter the crowd that was threatening to rush Lifeboat #14. I have a feeling that the unrest was triggered by Lowe allowing 2nd Class Passenger Charles Williams into the lifeboat. In any case, no one was hurt; there might have been a teenager in the crowd whom Charlotte Collyer noticed but all this business about him being "a pink cheeked lad" is baloney; how could Mrs Collyer seen his features clearly in the gloom? In any case the whole story sounds like a newspaper embellishment.

The trouble is, even today there seem to be people who want 'thrilling' or 'romantic' stories linked to the Titanic disaster rather than look at the hard, cold facts.
 
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Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
The claim that he had a young boy kneeling on the deck with a gun to his head is not supported by anyone else.
I am afraid it isn't true that Charlotte Collyer isn't the only person who mentioned it happening. Esther Hart mentioned in a letter that:
"Just then, a man who had previously tried to get in succeeded in doing so, but was ordered out, and the officer fired his revolver into the air to let everyone see it was lowered."
Marjorie Collyer, her daughter, also recalled:
"There was one officer in our boat who had a pistol. Some men jumped into our boat on top of women and crushed them, and the officer said that if they didn't stop, he would shot."
 
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Seumas

Seumas

Member
You may want to read my post again.

It relates the allegation that Lowe had a young boy kneeling on the deck, pleading for his life with Lowe's automatic pressed to his head. That simply did not happen.
 
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M.A.S.

M.A.S.

3rd class
Member
There are many cold, hard facts, for example the number of frozen corpses picked up that had to be buried out at sea after the fact. But let us not allow the cold Atlantic to freeze all compassion out of our hearts; it's in learning of their personal stories (even historical fiction ones) that thaw our hearts. I can't vouch for its accuracy, but my reading of Lotty's quote seems to point to the idea that the poor boy was still in the lifeboat while pleading for his life. The story goes that the gun was only a warning: to get out of the lifeboat. Then he was more gently made to exit, and then he laid down on the deck in grief. (I could imagine him kneeling while pleading though, that's probably how I would write it, were I to make it into a novel. And I think Lotty could have seen his face, it was gloomy but people could still see each other.) I wasn't there though, so of course I have no idea if it happened like that or at all. I wish we could hear the account of every single real passenger's true story, not just the survivors. Their experience of the tragedy, how they hoped to make it, to fulfill their dreams. Every one of them with equal dignity.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I am afraid it isn't true that Charlotte Collyer isn't the only person who mentioned it happening. Esther Hart mentioned in a letter that:

Marjorie Collyer, her daughter, also recalled:
I accept that Lowe pulled out a gun to avoid a stampede into Lifeboat #14. He admitted to that himself. But given the tense circumstances and the fact that many women in the boat were leaving their menfolk behind, the sight of an Officer brandishing his gun would have gone down badly with them. Add to that Lowe's somewhat cavalier attitude throughout, some of the women are likely to have exaggerated his actions. When they later spoke to reporters, I am sure the latter resorted to their nasty habit of putting words they fancied into the interviewees' mouths.
 
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