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Did they know help was coming?

Discussion in 'Lifeboats puzzling issues responsibility etc' started by Question_asker, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. I am wondering about the people in the lifeboats after Titanic finally sank.

    I know that there are varying accounts of some lifeboats looking for survivors and finding a few, and some transcripts of survivors on the boats listening to the cries for help gradually fade.

    But overall there isn't much information on what actually happened, what these people did, etc.

    After Titanic sank it was over an hour before the Carpathia arrived. What did all the lifeboats and people in them do until that time? I know there wasn't much they COULD do, but what was going through their minds? Did they know that Carpathia was on its way? Did some know and others didn't? Did all the life boats group together or did they stay floating separately? When was Carpathia first spotted on the horizon, and how long between then and its arrival? Did people who saw it instantly know it was coming to save them? Or were they worried it would stay too far away and not notice them?

    I know it's a lot of questions it just seems this particular area isn't covered much in the history.
  2. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I actually don't think the survivors (not including officers) worried too much about rescue as they were probably still scared and devastated about just loosing their loved ones.
  3. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    Before Titanic sank, a light from another vessel was seen about 5 to 7 miles away on the port bow. As they were filled and launched, some of the boats rowed toward that light but never got there before it disappeared.
    About 4 boats tied-up to each other on the port side. Others rowed directly out from the sides of the sinking ship and stopped between half to a mile away and watched her sink. About an hour after the ship had finally sunk, the lights of the Carpathia were seen by some people in the life boats. At 4 pm, just as dawn was breaking, Carpathia arrived on the scene. Her captain described seeing all the survivors in an area of about 4 miles and the eastern edge of an ice barrier between 3.5 to 4 miles to the westward. A few minutes before she arrived at the No, 2 lifeboat...the first one...Carpathia had to swerve to avoid an iceberg. Given the evidence, that must have been the one which Titanic hit.

    Hope that helps.
  4. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    PS Captain Smith knew that Carpathia was on the way. Whether he told others????????????
  5. Thank you very much for the information. Did all the lifeboats then row towards Carpathia? Or did any not make it/were not spotted?
  6. I should add that the reason I am asking is that I am trying to write a drama about what someone in one of the lifeboats would have went through between the Titanic going under and the Carpathia arriving, but there is so little information about this. There are factual accounts about timings etc and some testimonies from crew about things like tying the boats together, but these are just facts and figures, nothing from a personal viewpoint about what the passengers were going through at this point.
  7. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

  8. Thank you for this piece of information - greatly appreciated!

    I am very curious to know if word of mouth spread about a boat coming to rescue them. Did anybody know? Captain Smith knew but did he pass this on to any of the crew, were they expecting a ship? Was it all rumours? Or did nobody really know anything? Did they all worry that they were just going to drift until they died?
  9. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    On top of Collapsable B Lightoller made Harold Bride explain to everyone that help from ships like the Carpathia was coming, Meanwhile in Lightboat 6, Hicthens moaned to the passengers that they could be stuck at sea for days which they didn't like.

    Overall, despite passengers knowing that in the event of a disaster the Marconi could be used, it appear many forgot or didn't think about it too much.

    By the way, I been reading "On a sea of Glass" and found that passengers in Lifeboat 12 ended up with cracked / chaffed lips due to the extreme cold. Also note given the cold water and spray
    and that some of the boats being flooded, The survivors would have been stiff, nearly frozen, some had no water or bread and were then hungry and thirsty.
  10. Thanks so much to everyone for the info. Every little helps. I really appreciate it all.
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  11. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    They could see the light of a ship a few miles away and there were rumours that this was the Olympic coming to their rescue. Harold Bride delivered the wireless reports to the Captain and had to search around the crowded decks looking for him at various locations during the evacuation. I understand Bride may have spoken to several passengers and told them they were in contact with the Olympic and the Carpathia. The passengers could look over the railing and see the lights of a ship off the port bow and realized that the distress rockets were being sent up for that ship's attention. They thought the other ship was steaming towards them and the Captain ordered several lifeboats to row towards the ship, offload the passengers and then return to the Titanic to pick up more. Husbands would have pointed at the ship and comforted their wives by reassuring them that help was on the way. Colonel Gracie comforted the women and said - "They were somewhat disturbed, of course. I reassured them and pointed out to them the lights of what I thought was a ship or steamer in the distance."

    Edith Rosenbaum gave a lengthy description of waiting for help to arrive. She patiently waited in the First Class lounge and heard all kinds of rumours.

    "Just then, spying an officer, I said. 'Mr. Officer, should I go in one of the life boats, is there any danger?' And he replied, 'I do not think there is any immediate danger, Madam, but this boat is damaged. Very likely she will be towed to Halifax. We are expecting the Olympic alongside in the next two or three hours, when she will transfer the passengers and proceed with them. So there is no immediate danger or hurry, as this is an unsinkable boat. You had better use your own judgment in the matter."

    She then described the screams as the ship went down, but they thought the people were cheering.

    "There was a loud cry, as if emanating from one throat. The men in our boat asked the women to cheer, saying 'Those cheers that you hear on the big boat mean they have all gotten into life boats and are saved.' And do you know, that we actually cheered, believing that the big shout was one of thanks giving. I was able to keep an accurate account of the time, wearing a bracelet watch. The mate in our boat found a bit of rope. This he would light for a few minutes and then extinguish. His idea was, that by flashing this light, it would possibly attract the attention of some other life boat, letting them know that we were near, and keep them from running us down. In spite of the starry night, it was inky black, and you could see no distance ahead."

    "We kept rowing to a light which seemed stationery, on the horizon; the more we rowed, the further it seemed. Finally, the intense cold which precedes dawn settled upon the water. Those of you who have had night watches can realize the peculiarly penetrating chilliness of that half hour dividing night from morning. We were absolutely freezing. Just before dawn I noticed a very bright light on the horizon, and called the mate's attention to it. He answered, 'Don't be imaginative, Madame, there is no light; there won't be any light, and there is no use looking for good things when none are coming.' I again reassured him. And several of the passengers also remarked that I was right, and it was a red and yellow light looming up over the horizon. We imagined it was the Olympic. The stewards recalling the draught of the Titanic, feared the Olympic might draw us in with her suction. In the darkness, we struck out with our equipment of 3 oars, for the sky line. At sunrise, which was beautifully clear, we were horrified to find ourselves surrounded by icebergs. We had the additional horror of fearing that they would bear down upon us before rescue could be possible. The hours from dawn until 8 o'clock, when we got alongside of the Carpathia seemed more like a bad dream. No one talked. Our eyes were focused on what we found out later to be the Carpathia. As we approached the Carpathia, I noticed that the flag was at half mast, giving me the first indication that there had been loss of life. I also noticed other life boats, coming from all directions."

    Other survivors described seeing the Northern lights and how they were very strong and acted almost like a searchlight.

    Question_asker likes this.
  12. Wow thank you. It must have been terrifying being in those relatively small boats and surrounded by gigantic icebergs drifting towards you, probably at some speed.
  13. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    No one was on board a lifeboat any longer than 6 hours. Presumably, they all ate well between 7 pm and 9 pm the evening of the disaster. It follows that few would be very hungry. There was no need for thirst either, Martin. Every lifeboat was equipped with a fresh water tank and a tank full of sea biscuits. If you look at the pictures of survivors in boats, you can see that most of them were wearing coats and hats and were confined in a small space. In a reasonably full boat, body- warmth is shared. It would amaze you how hot and sweaty you can get in such a situation.
    I dare say it was true, but I find the story about cracked chapped lips hard to accept. The wind got up a little after dawn. It started light , so did not have any time to generate much in the way of spray before everyone was rescued. Those who experienced discomfort as it rose, turned bow onto it. Any light spray would be to each side. have a look at the following photograph which seems to be of No.14. Not even a white-cap.
    Lowe with his tow..jpg
  14. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    I know they weren't stuck at sea for days or nearly died of thirst, but this is what the survivors wrote:
    (Imanita Shelley was written stateing in "On a Sea of Glass" stating this and then the writers assumed).

    Hitchens meanwhile was described by Peuchen and Margaret Brown and the others of various suggested problems such as demanding whiskey, complaining of the cold etc (from what I can remember off the top of my head).
  15. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie Member

    I leave the last word on passenger stories to the gallant Captain Rostron "Mind you sir, there is only this: I know nothing, but I have heard rumors of different passengers; some will say one thing and some another. I would, therefore, rather say nothing. I do not know anything. From the officers I know nothing. I could give you silly rumors of passengers, but I know they are not reliable, from my own experience; so, if you will excuse me, I would prefer to say nothing."
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  16. robert warren

    robert warren Member

    Aside from Harold Bride who may have told the men on the overturned collapsible some time during the night, very few people in the boats would have known what kind of help if any was on the way.As far as the body warmth issue goes only a couple of boats were loaded to the gills to generate body heat. All accounts I've read all had survivors talk about what a miserably cold night it was. One thing that no one has ever touched on is the fact that the massive terror and stress these people just endured could have played a part in just how cold they were.Think about other accounts of people who have gone through hellishly scary stuff, they start shivering and everything. Maybe it's happened to some of you out there.I'd also be willing to bet that some people were even more miserable in the fact that some of them had to use the bathroom,or in some cases of extreme fright, had butterflies and gurgles in their stomachs signaling the start of something bad. No funny stuff intended, but stress can affect people in many many ways, and with 712 people I'm sure some of them had the aforementioned stuff to deal with.
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  17. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I agree. I feel like I'd want to throw up just witnessing it all.
  18. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Witnessing the Titanic going down must have been a very traumatic experience. Survivor Edith Rosenbaum was in a terrible car crash in which several people died. She said when the Titanic went down the memory of that car crash flashed through her mind and she could remember the most horrible and gruesome details. It must have been a temporary state of mind that only exists when the mind is put in that situation again. When I watch news footage of 9/11 my adrenaline goes up as I observe what happens and there is nothing I can do to stop it. The survivors may have seen the stern pointing in the air and anticipated she was about to go down with their loved ones still aboard and there was nothing they could do except watch.

    Survivor Albert Pearcey was asked: Q - What did you next see happen to the stern? A - She went down, you see. It upset me, and I could not exactly say.

    Abraham Hyman said: "I tried to close my ears, but there was some mysterious attraction and I had to hear that cry."

    Charlotte Collyer said: "Cries more terrible than I had ever heard rang in my ears. I turned my face away, but looked round the next instant and saw the second half of the great ship slip below the surface as easily as a pebble in a pond. I shall always remember that last moment as the most hideous of the whole disaster."

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  19. All these replies have been very helpful thank you.
    Harland Duzen likes this.