How did these passengers get into their lifeboats?


Arun Vajpey

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On the port side lifeboats (with the exception of Collapsible B), there were very few male passenger survivors because of the "women and children only" policy practiced by Lightoller and probably Wilde. Yet a few managed to get through; some, like Major Peuchen and Charles Williams were allowed in to help with the rowing. Others like Woolner, Bjornstrom-Steffansson and Fred Hoyt jumped into the boat after it started to lower or into the water to swim across. But there are a few male survivors on port lifeboats about whom details are limited.

I am particularly interested in how these passengers managed to get into their lifeboats. There is little or no information on ET.

1. Gurshon "Gus the Cat" Cohen - Rescued on Lifeboat #12
2. Fang Lang - Rescued on Lifeboat #14
3. Bernard McCoy - Managed to get in with his sisters on Lifeboat #16
4. Joseph Duquemin - Somehow managed to find a place on Collapsible D

If anyone has further details about how these men managed to get into those lifeboats, I would be grateful.
 

Dan Coghlan

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Titanic Honor and Glory cover Fang Lang during the Titanic anniversary streams.

He was rescued by 5th Officer Lowe after the ship went down, he was one of the few picked out of the water.

According to H&G, the whole situation regarding Lang is funny and ironic, because apparently Lowe had no interest in rescuing a 'Chinamen" and was hesitant to pick him up.

When Lang got onto the boat however, he turned into one of Lowes best rowers that evening, and Lowe stated at the inquires that he would rescue Lang without hesitation again due to how brilliant a rower he was.

Lang's rescue is a deleted scene from Titanic '97, I'll link that and the H&G video here.
Titanic 1997 Deleted Scene - Chinese Man Rescue

Titanic H&G Live stream - Fang Lang section starts at 2:59:24
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Thanks. Was Lang then the "Japanese" steerage passenger (AFAIK, there were none. Hosono was second class) who had tied himself to a door as quoted in Lord's ANTR book?

Also, I found an article called The Titanic McCoys by Robert Bracken right here on ET after a bit of search. It says that Bernard McCoy's sisters saw him swimming in the sea and managed to persuade the reluctant crew to haul him in.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Lang's rescue is a deleted scene from Titanic '97, I'll link that and the H&G video here.
Titanic 1997 Deleted Scene - Chinese Man Rescue
Yes, looks like Lang was the "Japanese" man of ANTR. But to be honest, I don't think Lowe or most other White people of that era would have shown as much concern for a person from the Orient in 1912 as they appeared to do in the 1997 film. At the very least, there would have been a few "It's only a Chinaman!" groans from the boat.

I am sorry if the above comment sounds politically incorrect but in your heart of hearts you'll know that it is true.
 
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Tim Gerard

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ET doesn't have any details about how Bernard McCoy got aboard boat 16. For Joseph Duquemin it briefly says he was initially refused entry to Collapsible D, but was eventually allowed in after telling a crewmember that he could handle an oar, but it sounds like by this point boat D had already been lowered and Duquemin had jumped from the ship, swam over to the boat, and was pulled out of the water. Joseph Pierre Duquemin : Titanic Survivor

Maybe since there were just so few Asian aboard the ship, there's something I find particularly interesting about both Fang Lang and Masabumi Hosono. Looks like Hosono was treated similarly to Ismay for surviving. I think his name is finally cleared today in Japanese society and his grandson, Haruomi, was very influential in Japanese pop music and currently leads the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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ET doesn't have any details about how Bernard McCoy got aboard boat 16
Not in his biography on ET, but after I posted my question I found this article on the same site. It gives a few more details.

Looks like Hosono was treated similarly to Ismay for surviving
I feel more sorry for Hosono than Ismay. The White Star chairman was pillioried by the media and probably a section of the general public but received some support from his family and friends. But even though he was an ordinary passenger, Hosono was ostracized by most of the Japanese society, probably including some relatives and friends. In his case it had to do more with the Japanese culture and the "loss of face" that was so abhorrent to them in those days.
 
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1. Gurshon "Gus the Cat" Cohen - Rescued on Lifeboat #12

2nd Class Passenger Lillian Bentham who was in No. 12 mentioned him by name in a letter. Some researchers however believe the letter is a hoax.

2. Fang Lang - Rescued on Lifeboat #14

According to Crowe they picked up the young Japanese or Chinese on top of a wreckage which might have been a sideboard or table.
Mrs Collyer later claimed to have been in No. 14 when it went back and that he has lashed himself on a floating door. No other crew member mentioned such a detail or that they had to "cut" him loose from that "door".

3. Bernard McCoy - Managed to get in with his sisters on Lifeboat #16

It's not clear if they were really in No. 16.


4. Joseph Duquemin - Somehow managed to find a place on Collapsible D

Maybe as Lightoller stated at the British Inquiry.
14001. Ultimately she was filled with women, the collapsible boat? - Yes, I believe it was a new boat, where a couple of Phillipinos or Chinese got in; they stowed away under the thwarts or something. But for that there were no men except crew - except the men I ordered in.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Maybe as Lightoller stated at the British Inquiry.
14001. Ultimately she was filled with women, the collapsible boat? - Yes, I believe it was a new boat, where a couple of Phillipinos or Chinese got in; they stowed away under the thwarts or something. But for that there were no men except crew - except the men I ordered in.
Very interesting but was Lightoller saying that (highlighted) last sentence as a single statement or separating them to two clauses?

First of all, I was not aware that there were any Oriental people on Collapsible D. Of the 4 male passengers who ended-up in it, Steffasson and Woolner jumped in from a lower deck as the boat was being lowered and Hoyt jumped into the sea and swam across moments after #D reached the water. I thought the only men that Lightoller had "ordered in" were the crew members; I have not seen any statement from anyone which showed that Lightoller allowed any male passenger into any boat other than Peuchen into #6.
 

Dan Coghlan

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Yes, looks like Lang was the "Japanese" man of ANTR. But to be honest, I don't think Lowe or most other White people of that era would have shown as much concern for a person from the Orient in 1912 as they appeared to do in the 1997 film. At the very least, there would have been a few "It's only a Chinaman!" groans from the boat.

Yeah, as Lowe said in the inquires he was at first hesitant to pick Lang - a "Chinaman" up - but like I said in the first comment, Lang turned out to be Lowes best rower, which is so ironic.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Getting back to Duquemin and Collapsible #D, I have read one or two accounts (cannot recall where) that he jumped into the water and swam to the boat. AFAIK, only one male survivor on Collapsible D did that and it was Fred Hoyt. Steffansson and Woolner jumped into the boat itself as it was being lowered.

With the ring of crewmen that Lightoller had formed around #D as it was being loaded, I wonder how Duquemin slipped past the cordon.

In his ET biography, it says that Duquemin swam across to the lifeboat and moments later helped another swimmer to be hauled on board. If that other swimmer was Hoyt, it could also explain why the latter helped Duquemin later to get a job or something (again, as per ET)
 
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With the ring of crewmen that Lightoller had formed around #D as it was being loaded, I wonder how Duquemin slipped past the cordon.

Before that there was a rush to the boat as Lightoller stated later aboard Carpathia to Mr. Gracie.
At the British Inquiry Lightoller gave that version about the loading of the boat.

13996. Was she filled? What happened? – We had very great difficulty in filling her with women. As far as I remember she was eventually filled, but we experienced considerable diffi-culty. Two or three times we had to wait, and call out for women - in fact, I think on one - perhaps two - occasions, someone standing close to the boat said, "Oh, there are no more women," and with that several men commenced to climb in. Just then, or a moment afterwards, whilst they were still climbing in, someone sang out on the deck, "Here are a couple more." Naturally, I judged they were women.
13997. That meant a couple more women? – Yes, and the men got out of the boat again and put the women in. If I am quite right, I think this happened on two occasions?
14006. Was good order being maintained then? – Splendid.
14007. And was there any attempt to rush that boat at all? – None whatever, but the men commenced to climb in when they heard there was no more woman.


I do not think that Duquemin jumped into the water.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I do not think that Duquemin jumped into the water.
I don't know what to believe. I suppose it is possible that he sneaked on board amidst the chaos while Lightoller was distracted but with the boat less than half full when it was lowered, I think he might have been spotted. For a long time I believed that Fred Hoyt was the only man who jumped into the water and managed to swim to Collapsible D; but here on Duquemin's ET bio, it says that he (Duquemin) swam to the boat first and having been hauled in eventually, helped another swimmer to get on board. If true, that second swimmer could only have been Hoyt. Duquemin was a stonemason by trade and his photograph suggests a big strong man. So, I suppose it is possible that he did swim to the boat and then helped Hoyt.

Further in Duquemin's ET bio, it says that after they reached America, Hoyt helped Duquemin to find a job. Since they they were a First Class 'gentleman' and a Third Class stonemason respectively, it is highly unlikely that they could have met earlier. So, IF Hoyt really helped Duquemin afterwards, could it have been in gratitude for saving his life?

Just then, or a moment afterwards, whilst they were still climbing in, someone sang out on the deck, "Here are a couple more."
This is very interesting; did Lightoller specify that those couple of women actually manage to get on board Collapsible D? Able Seaman William Lucas, who helped to load the lifeboat and got on board himself, said that there were two women in the crowd who were unable to get through before #D was lowered. He identified one of them as Edith Evans; the other could have been Martta Hiltunen, who earlier had missed joining her fellow-passengers Ana & baby Wiljo Hamalainen on Lifeboat #4.
 

Hillary P

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Yes, looks like Lang was the "Japanese" man of ANTR. But to be honest, I don't think Lowe or most other White people of that era would have shown as much concern for a person from the Orient in 1912 as they appeared to do in the 1997 film. At the very least, there would have been a few "It's only a Chinaman!" groans from the boat.

I am sorry if the above comment sounds politically incorrect but in your heart of hearts you'll know that it is true.
I saw in one of the articles of the day they referred to the Chinese passengers as “celestials”. That was often used as a slur against Chinese. Although it’s ori from a period of time when China was called the celestial empire or the land of dreams. (Also was used in the HBO show Deadwood a lot, so that was my first connection upon reading the article)
Anyway, sorry for the tangent!
 
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Arun Vajpey

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13996. Was she filled? What happened? – We had very great difficulty in filling her with women. As far as I remember she was eventually filled, but we experienced considerable diffi-culty. Two or three times we had to wait, and call out for women - in fact, I think on one - perhaps two - occasions, someone standing close to the boat said, "Oh, there are no more women," and with that several men commenced to climb in. Just then, or a moment afterwards, whilst they were still climbing in, someone sang out on the deck, "Here are a couple more." Naturally, I judged they were women.
I find Gracie's statements rather vague. He claims that they eventually 'filled' the boat but the evidence suggests that when Collapsible D was lowered at 02:05 am, there were at most 22 people in it, less than half of that lifeboat's capacity. That suggests that Wilde and Lightoller lowered #D in a hurry because they felt that they could no longer hold back the surging men.

And who are these "several men" that Gracie claimed climbed into Collapsible D? Arthur Bright, John Hardy and William Lucas were crew members, almost certainly ordered in by Wilde and Lightoller to help with the rowing. Woolner and Steffansson jumped in from a lower deck after they started to lower Collapsible D. Hoyt almost certainly jumped into the water and swam across, to be pulled in by Duquemin and others.

Now the really interesting (and sad) part is that comment about "two more women". Able Seaman Lucas had noticed two women in the crowd as Collapsible D was being loaded. One of them was almost certainly Edith Evans and other was probably Martta Hiltunen. Lucas himself was ordered into Collapsible D and just as the boat began to be lowered, he noticed that the two women were hemmed in behind the crowd and had not made it into the lifeboat. Lucas claimed that he called out to Ms Evans that there was another lifeboat for her (and presumably the other woman too); he probably meant Collapsible B that was still on the roof of the Officer's Quarters. Of course, we all know what happened to it and those two women never made it.

I do not think that Duquemin jumped into the water.
OK, Duquemin might have managed to slip into the boat but I don't see how he bypassed that semi-circle of sailors around the boat who did not allow any men through, including Michel Navratil Sr who had to step back onto the deck after handing his very small children in. To me it seems more likely that Dudquemin either jumped into the boat itself like Woolner and Steffanson or went into the water and swam across. Either way, he appears to have helped Hoyt to be pulled on board, I am sure much to Mrs Hoyt's relief - she was already in the lifeboat. That must have been the reason why Hoyt, a rich First Class passenger from New York helped Duquemin, a rugged stonemason from Gurnsey travelling in steerage, to find a job later. The two men would not have met until they both ended up in Collapsible D.
 
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