William and Lucile Carter were divorced in 1914. The reasons were not made public at the time, but when Mrs Carter's testimony later became available it was clear that she was not at all happy about her husband's actions on the night of the sinking. According to Mrs Carter, he had followed the principle of 'every man for himself' and left his family to fend for themselves. It's more likely, however, that William's big mistake was ending up as a live husband rather than a dead hero - this didn't go down well in the social circles that Lucile moved in.
I've been reading about this lately and I too have come to the conclusion that this guy got trashed before and during the divorce. When I was younger I remember the general story was he abandoned his family. I've been looking around the net to see if I could find any statements his children made on the subject but couldn't find anything. The only thing I found was his son was very upset about having to leave his beloved dog behind. They don't seem to have said anything one way or the other.
In the divorce proceeding, Mrs Carter was quoted as saying, "All he said was that he had had a jolly good breakfast, and that he never thought I would make it." (Referring to her arrival at Carpathia).
I have often wondered about the Carter divorce and at one stage used to despise William Carter; but now I increasingly feel that he got a bit of unfair treatment overall. He must have seen his wife and children into Lifeboat #4 and the delays in lowering it was not his fault. Collapsible C was on the starboard side and in any case lowered 8 or 10 minutes after #4. There is no evidence that Carter forced his way into #C in any way and if he managed to find a vacant seat and take it, good for him. He has the same right to survive as anyone else and just because the other men in his 'circle' like Astor, Guggenheim, Thayer, Widener, Ryerson etc died does not mean somehow Willaim Carter is guilty to have survived.
I understand that during the divorce proceedings, Lucile Carter Sr complained that her husband was "physically and mentally cruel to her" and on one occasion horsewhipped her. I wonder how much of all that is true? Did Bill Carter dispute any of those accusations?
An interesting comment about Lucile Carter Sr in Bill's ET biography (curiously, not mentioned in hers) is "following the divorce, Lucile Carter swiftly remarried and had another daughter". I wonder what that really means.
I have not come across any specific complaint on that night apart from Bill Carter's alleged breakfast quip on board the Carpathia. As for waiting for his wife to get dressed, it is just as likely that he got annoyed because she was taking too much time to get ready during what did turn out to be a dangerous situation. A lot of husbands get annoyed over
The question is, who was supposed to keep that record? Carter probably spent time with his contemporaries like the Thayers and Wideners - there is some report of him trying to persuade young Harry Widener to find a place in a lifeboat. Most of his male contemporaries died in the disaster.