I have always been told my Great Grandfather, Herbert Hilliard, gave up a seat on a lifeboat for a woman, and perhaps her child. I was also told, no way to confirm, that when the Carpathia
reached New York the woman somehow contacted Herbert’s wife, Sarah, I believe, and informed her that Herbert gave up his seat on the lifeboat her her and her child.
With all due respect, there have been other very similar unsubstantiated stories about Titanic
victims having offered there seats to someone else who then survived and met the victims' family etc. You might have read a similar story from people claiming to be relatives of genuine Titanic
victim Manuel Uruchurtu (RIP) who is supposed to have offered his seat to a lady etc - a story that is almost certainly a fabrication. In the case of Mr Hilliard (RIP) as far as I know - and I am happy to be corrected on this - there is no record
of a lady passenger who told anyone that Mr Hilliard gave up his seat for her; moreover, no survivor on any lifeboat mentioned such an incident. Had such a sacrifice been made, I am sure several survivors in the vicinity would have mentioned it repeatedly to the press and elsewhere. Therefore, with apologies IMO that story that you were told has to be viewed with skepticism until proven otherwise.
Furthermore, we have to consider possible circumstances under which a male passenger already in a lifeboat could have offered his place to a lady. Such an event almost certainly could not have occurred on the port side boats where Wilde and Lightoller were enforcing a strict "women & children only
" policy except for a few that they allowed in to help (Major Peuchen, Charles Williams). Of course, a few male interlopers did sneak into port boats, but they obviously could not have been the ones then offering seats to someone else. Mr Hilliard and Mr McCarthy shared First Class cabin E-46, a port side room and so the chances are that they were mingling with other First Class passengers
on the same side of the boat deck after the collision.
While men were allowed into starboard side lifeboats, it was only if there was room and no women or children to take those places. The only starboard lifeboats that were filled almost to capacity were probably #11 and #15; AFAIK, there is no statement from any of the survivors on those boats (or any other) about an incident where a gentleman got out of a lifeboat to give up his place to a lady. Furthermore, during the loading of Lifeboats #13 and #15, the crew were actively searching for women and children to fill the remaining places and #15 eventually had more men than women in it. Therefore, a circumstance where a man allowed into a lifeboat then got out of it to allow a lady in his place is very unlikely to have arisen and if it had, would have been widely noticed, admired and commented upon.