Fifth Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe's Conduct

Dec 5, 2008
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Oh, thank you! *runs off to learn what a sextant is*

I have the feeling it won't be nearly as... interesting... as I'm imagining. LOL.
 

Inger Sheil

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Bob is correct (as usual!) - it was a sextant, Ross naval telescope and high power binoculars (or so the contemporary description has it). On each of these was inscribed the words:

quote:

To Harold Godfrey Lowe, 5th Officer RMS Titanic. “The real hero of the Titanic”￾. With deepest gratitude from Mrs Henry B Harris of New York
They were presented at a ceremony in Barmouth, along with a gold watch paid for by public subscription. The nautical set still remains with the Lowe family, and one of his grandsons - himself a master mariner (now retired) - also used at least one piece at sea.

Randy mentioned Rene Harris' reference to Lowe in the Liberty article and her desire that he know "through all the years he has stood out in my memory as one of the finest men it has been my privilege to meet" - Lowe did indeed read those lines. The article was sent to him, and was among his personal papers after his death. It seems to have put the two in touch again, and they corresponded/exchanged Christmas cards in the 30s. Her contact details are in his personal address book.​
 
May 27, 2007
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Thanks Jason for going to look and thanks Bob for knowing. No Compass! I guess Renee Harris felt that Officer Lowe had an excellent sense of direction and didn't need one. Of course he had a Sextant.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Damn! I was right!

Although, I must say, it continues to amaze me all the skills required by your historical sailors - even aboard ships like the Titanic. When your relying purely on human skill, its a wonder there weren't more accidents like the Titanic simply from miscalculations of courses.
 

Inger Sheil

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Kat, I don't think you would have caught the rough side of HGL's tongue over the question of nautical instruments! If anything, I suspect he would have rather enjoyed explaining them and demonstrating their use - your intelligent interest would have been a bonus. He showed great patience in trying to explain the use of a sextant to at least one young woman, who freely confessed she had no natural aptitude for navigation.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Thanks for the info, Inger!

Renee Harris and HGL's relationship have come to be one of the few good fixtures in the after math of the Titanic for me. Personally, I love what he said about the lifeboats, and how they seemed to stick together afterwards aboard the Carpathia and how he would go off to see his 'friends'.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Oh, thank you, Inger!
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Its certainly great to know I wouldn't have been a horrid abomination then! :p

I always wondered how he would treat people with a genuine curiosity for the likes. He seemed to have a bit of an impatient streak (don't we all) but it did seem rather limited to foolishness rather than curiosity. From what I remember from the transcripts of the trial, he was not to fond of answering questions regarding daily tasks aboard a ship and explaining the like, however, again, I think it fell back to the fact that his interrogators were rather foolish in their questions.
 

Inger Sheil

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That's right, George (future daughter-in-law at that time).

There seems to have been a bit of mutual fascination, Kat - HGL collected and kept newspaper clippings about Harris from American papers. Her interview for the New York Evening Journal is one of the more vivid accounts of Lowe's actions the night of the sinking.
 

Inger Sheil

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I think you're correct there, Kat - he was bristling at the inquiry's tone even before he testified. While stating that he welcomed inquiry itself, he felt that those conducting it were "up against" the "Britishers", which resulted in the crew feeling "up against" the Americans. Ironically, he was to strike up a friendship with one of Senator Smith's closest friends, who was assisting the Senator. This friend came to admire Lowe tremendously.

Otherwise, Lowe did not seem at all adverse to discussing his job - there are even glimpses of it in his testimony, as in the explanation of why a sailor is not necessarily a boatman. He nurtured a love of the sea and boats in his children, and - even when his health was failing, and he must have been extraordinarily frustrated due to the effects of his first stroke - showed great patience in trying to explain navigation to the girl who would go on to marry his son.
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

That's right, George (future daughter-in-law at that time).
Gold *star* for me. I wonder if Lowe ever stopped by the Theater Rene Harris managed or owned while in the states later on? I know Rene was one of the first Lady Producers on Broadway after she lost Mr. Harris in the Titanic Disaster. Quite a woman.

Also Jim Kalafus noted just today paying his respects to Rene at her grave while shopping. I think if he took a picture it will be in his walking tour that he going to post here on ET. Don't quote me on this but I think it's a possibility.​
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

Thanks Jason for going to look
You're welcome, George. Out of the three items that Bob mentions, just the telescope is pictured. The item that I was thinking of which was not given to Harold Lowe by Rene Harris, but by Alexander and Sara Compton is a matchcase. On it was inscribed these words:

quote:

Harold Lowe In gratitude From Mr. and Miss Compton
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Jason,

Interesting, I wonder if there was a search for matches to light a Lantern that night in a boat either by the Comptons or Lowe. So the Comptons gave him a match case so he'd always have them on hand. Just a theory.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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There could have been, but I always got the distinct impression they would have been useless; correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I remember, there was a leak in that boat, and quite a few women were described as 'sitting in water'. Wouldn't it have made sense that all the stores would have been kept in the bottom of the boat, and ergo, drenched in water, even if the leak was taken care of fairly quickly?

Or am I confusing boats, or just imagining this completely?
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May 27, 2007
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Perhaps at that. I think lanterns where enclosed but you have a good point, Kat. If the wick got wet that was it. Unless they could get it dry. Of course maybe the supplies might of been in their own little box or something.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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Ok, presuming I have a good point (unlikely! lol), wouldn't it be possible in all the commotion and hustling and bustling that it got knocked open, or that it wasn't altogether water tight to begin with? The way I imagine them, its nothing more than an typical 20th century latched box, nothing specially engineered for such a situation - lifeboats are generally assumed to be water proof!
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi George,

quote:

Interesting, I wonder if there was a search for matches to light a Lantern that night in a boat either by the Comptons or Lowe.
Well, lifeboats were required to have a lamp with sufficent oil for 8 hours burning, but I'm not aware of one being in lifeboat 14.

Hi Kat,

quote:

Or am I confusing boats, or just imagining this completely?
If I recall correctly, you're right, lifeboat 14 was leaking.​