If Blair had sailed and Wilde hadnbt

Neil McRae

Member
Apr 16, 2001
82
0
136
As much as I admire and respect Lightoller, I wonder what David Blair would have done in his place as Second, and for that matter, Lightoller in Murdoch's place as first and Murdoch in Wilde's place as first.

The most obvious difference, of course, is that poor Henry Wilde would have stood a much better chance of living to ripe old age.

Would Blair have survived? Given that's Lightoller's survival was based entirely on being at the right place at the right time (as opposed to say Pitman, Boxhall, and Lowe, who all left in boats), it's too hard to tell. Were Lightoller and the other officers assigned to areas based on their rank or their known skills?

Given what I know about Lightoller (hopefully someone can confirm or disprove this), I suspect he was in pretty good shape, which would have partly explained how he survived all night on Collapsable B (and why the exhausted Jack Phillips did not). Was Blair in good shape? Could he have endured that?

More importantly how competant would Blair have been during the crisis? I know his reputation was hurt by the wreck of the Oceanic but I also know he was decorated for his actions during WWI.

Along the same lines, there's the question of what might have been different with Murdoch and Lightoller had they both been a step higher in rank.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
It's too difficult with too many variable factors to reach any meaningful conclusion IMHO, Neil. As new research by Rosanne McIntyre will reveal, Blair was no slouch when it came to physical action. Moody was fit and a good swimmer, and that wasn't enough to save him. Skill wasn't always enough - sometimes survival came down to sheer luck rather than physical or psychological toughness (Lightoller attributed his own survival to a number of factors, among them his strong spiritual convictions and also the sheer dumb luck of having been reminded by some words of Wilde to get his own lifevest and put it on).

The outcomes for individuals might have been different, but I think this would rely more upon the fact that random circumstances might have come into play with a different allocation of ranks and officers (perhaps Lightoller as First might have found himself in a different part of the ship and this time might not have made it to B...).

As an aside, I'm rather dubious about the idea that Phillips ever made it to B at all.
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
Inger said:
quote:

sometimes survival came down to sheer luck rather than physical or psychological toughness (Lightoller attributed his own survival to a number of factors, among them his strong spiritual convictions and also the sheer dumb luck of having been reminded by some words of Wilde to get his own lifevest and put it on).

I couldn't agree more with that thought. Most of ship driving has more to do with luck then skill.​
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
3
68
Look at how both Blair and Lightoller handled the grounding of the Oceanic- Perhaps that gives us a taste in the different ways these two men reacted to a crisis......

There is no way to know how Blair- or anyone would react to being on the titanic. In times of crisis, people who you think would be pillars of strength often collapse, and the seemingly meek become heroes...
 
M

mark garfien

Guest
how did Blair, handle it? I know that Lightoller, went back on board and tore out the bridge clock from the wall.
 

Kelly Tryon

Member
Dec 3, 2006
23
0
71
Perhaps if Blair had sailed on Titanic for the maiden voyage, as originally planned, they may have missed the iceberg entirely. If Blair remained the second officer then Lightoller would have been first officer and Murdoch would have been chief officer. Lightoller would have then been the officer on duty at the time of the fatal collision. Lightoller possibly could have made a different call then Murdoch. It was possible for them to miss the iceberg, but First officer Murdoch gave the certain directions that he thought of first. Lightoller may possibly have been able to come up with another plan, thus causing Titanic to miss the iceberg. So if Blair had sailed, Lightoller would have been there for the iceberg and Titanic may have been saved.

---Kelly.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
379
283
Easley South Carolina
If Blair had been the second, I doubt much would have changed at all. Titanic had full knowladge of the ice field ahead and it was Captain Smith who was the one who was calling the shots. Everybody else was dancing to his tune.

As David Brown is fond of pointing out, history does not reveal it's alternatives. While it's possible that one man might have made a difference, there were so many different factors at work which led to the accident, one is on mighty thin ice in asserting that one change would have made all the difference.
 

Kelly Tryon

Member
Dec 3, 2006
23
0
71
I don't think it would have made all the difference, but it certainly would have made a few things different. It is possible that they may have missed the iceberg. Of course, we'll never know.

There are an infinite number of possibilities of how the Titanic's maiden voyage may have turned out. But, in my opinion, Lightoller may have acted differently than Murdoch in the situation at hand.

My idea is that if Blair was there, he might not have made the difference (as second officer he wouldn't have been on duty on the bridge anyway), but the original set up of officers, when Blair was present, may have contributed to a major change in Titanic's fate.

Just a theory....

---Kelly.