Gilbert M Tucker Jr

Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
I know it's rather odd to find me haunting the passenger forum, but perhaps someone can help me with a query?

Gilbert Tucker, according to the information on ET, left the Titanic in lifeboat #7 in the company of Margaret Hays, Olive Earnshaw and Lily Potter.

However, I've found a 1912 source reporting remarks from Tucker himself that indicate he left in a portside boat, one of those that later tied up in Lowe's flotilla of boats:

“After rowing a considerable difference from the Titanic, Lowe discovered that some of the boats could hold a lot more people than they had in them. There were only twenty-seven people in the boat I was in, for example, although the boats were capable of holding about fifty apiece. Lowe made us transship until we were all in four boats."

How firm is the allocation of this party to #7? Does the comment from Mrs Potter about seeing Astors in the vicinity of their lifeboat suggest they may have been in a portside boat? Does anyone more au fait with the passengers and their movements care to comment on the above passage? I'd be happy to have any information folks would care to share, either here or via private email.

Mike Herbold

Feb 13, 2001
You never cease to amaze me. Interesting find on Mr. Tucker. He's one of my California-related passengers and died in Carmel. You probably drove right by there earlier this year in the Sheilbus. Let me know what develops.

Brian Meister

Mar 1, 2001
Hello Inger,

I would be very curious to find out the
source name for the Tucker quote. With all
that newsprint running "yellow" in those
days, I wonder if it might be a situation
where, refused a story, the reporter made
one up?
So many persons claimed to have been near
around, having seen, the Astor's. Lord knows
how many men claimed that Mrs Astor intervened
on their behalf when they were threatened
from crewmen with bodily harm.
I wonder if you could point out their source
as I am as curious as Mike H to find out more.

Best Regards,


Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
Of course - one of your blokes, Mike, I should have thought of that! I do have some vague recollection of Carmel, but for some reason many of my memories connected with the odyssey of the Sheilbus are rather vague...wonder why on earth that would be

There are at least two sources along the same lines of the passage I quoted above, but they might have a common source. If it turns out to be worth anything I'll send the account along to you.

Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
I'll send it along to you as well, Brian - would be interested in any light you could shed on it. I think it was Mrs Potter who claimed they saw the Astors on deck - Tucker (as quoted) doesn't mention them.
Apr 16, 2001
Hi Inger,

I hope I can be of some help here.

Gilbert Tucker was in the company of Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Earnshaw and Miss Hays when they departed the Titanic's starboard side. The three ladies were specific in their accounts about having left the Titanic in the first lifeboat to be launched. They also added that since there were no more women who wanted to enter their boat, several men were allowed in. Tucker seized the opportunity and joined the ladies in the boat. I don't know of any incident on the port side where men were invited to enter any lifeboat.

Also, Miss Hays saved her Pomeranian "Lady" and I suspect there would have been some objection to the dog entering a boat on the port side - especially with Lightoller in charge of the loading. Somehow, Mrs. Rothschild was able to conceal her small pet when entering boat #6 and I have always found that to be miraculous.

I believe the interview you have was one of the many that was garbled either by the news wire or the reporter. Then again, Tucker may have improved his story, or might have attached Lowe's name to being the officer whose boat tied up next to his rather than Pitman. I have several interviews with Tucker in which he described leaving in the first boat to be launched. He described how his boat tied up to another (#5) after the sinking and how a few passengers were transferred "into" his boat to even out the difference.

Margaret Hays was also the victim of fabricated interviews. When it became known that she was the guardian of the Navratil children, accounts suddenly started to appear claiming she was in the same boat as them. One completely sensationalistic report attributed Miss Hays with saying that she saw the abandoned Navratil children on the deck of the Titanic and quickly scooped them up. Another interview that Miss Hays' daughter always found amusing was one in which Gilbert Tucker was reported to have been so captivated by Miss Hays' heroism in caring for the Navratils in the lifeboat that he proposed marriage to her as soon as they landed in New York. Even today, many programs and news articles get the story wrong. Miss Hays never met the Navratil brothers until after they had been brought onto the Carpathia - they were not in the same lifeboat.

In regards to the Astor question, John Jacob Astor and his wife were on the starboard boat deck for a brief time early in the evacuation. The Harders and the Bishops recalled seeing them near boat #7, just as Mrs. Potter and Miss Hays did. They were apparently not convinced to enter the boat and retreated back inside.

I'm sure others might be able to help but I feel it is pretty well established that Tucker was in boat #7 based on his other accounts, and those of his fellow survivors. Colonel Gracie also placed him there.

I would be interested to hear other opinions and reactions as well.

Hope this helps.

Mike Findlay

Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
Cheers for the input, Mike! The fact that Tucker was male and the common elements of the accounts (particularly the unanimity on the timing in which they left - in the first boat) do indeed suggest #7. In one of the versions - the one I quoted in part above - Tucker even claims to have been in a boat with only 27 people which tallies very neatly with #7.

"Lowe" in this account, however, does not appear to be a garbled version of Pitman - the information about his actions is fairly specific. It also predates the widespread media coverage of Lowe's testimony at the American Inquiry. So where did the information attributed to Tucker about Lowe's actions come from? Some stories about Lowe had gone out on the wires - including one attributed to an unnamed English lady on one of the collapsibles (it was reported not just nationally but internationally) which was widely published on the 19 April. It is also possible, of course, that Tucker had met and spoken to Lowe or to those who were in one of the boats under Lowe's charge when he was on the Carpathia. Tucker - if he is the really the source - is reported as relating at least one story he heard on the Carpathia, although he makes it quite clear that this particular anecdote is second hand and not an incident he witnessed himself. Rereading the account in its entirety, I wonder if perhaps Tucker was reporting what he had heard about Lowe's actions, and his reference to his own personal experience in being in an underloaded boat confused the reporter who believed that Tucker was in one of the boats under Lowe's charge.

At any rate, I'm tending towards the view that the source is problematic - would appreciate other input, of course!

Bob Phillips

Jan 2, 2007
I thought I would post some pictures of stories from the April 19, 1912 "Times Union" news paper,(a Albany NY Paper where he lived and my home town) which documents Tuckers escape from the Titanic. You can find it on which is part of my proposed business web site.

I'm getting a new camera next week, so may do this again if a higher resolution will make a better picture. If any one has thoughts on how to take better pictures or a picture editor that will help modify them, please email me direct
May 12, 2005
This is fascinating reading. Thanks Bob for sharing these stories. It's interesting to note that George Tucker helped Margaret Hayes carry the Navratil twins down the gangplank when Carpathia landed.

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