In which boat was Miss Constance Willard rescued


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Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 13, 1999
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Hello everyone,
I was wondering if anyone knows for certain which lifeboat Miss Constance Willard was rescued in. I see her most often listed as an occupant of Lifeboat # 10, but was wondering what evidence there was for this.

In her account, Miss Willard describes how the men standing near the boat in which she was saved looked "chilled," particularly the steerage men. This would seem to indicate that the boat which she was in was lowered later in the game, since there were not a large number of steerage passengers standing near the forward boats as they were lowered. She also relates that "a foreigner" rushed up to her boat and asked her to take his child with her, which she did. She says that there were "seven men, about twenty women, and several children" in her boat. Earlier in her account, it states that her boat left around 20 minutes before the ship sank.

Does anyone have any conclusive evidence that shows which boat Miss Willard was in, or is her generally accepted placement in # 10 just guesswork? Any comments would be much appreciated.
Best regards,
Tad Fitch
 

Mike Poirier

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I am starting to see a pattern with accounts. Men jumped into the sea; women saved babies. I have to wonder if Constance actually saved a child. Constance seems to be somewhat of an enigma during the voyage. No one really mentions her.
So I have to wonder how much of her account is accurate.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Michael,

That's very true though I hadn't thought of it till you said it - that there's a real surplus of stories of women saving babies.


Tad,

I may be wrong but I thought the last boats to leave WERE forward boats and they did have a number of steerage women and children in them. So it would stand to reason there were some steerage men on deck. Maybe Miss Willard was in Boat D or 2 or even C - George Behe says C left later than is generally thought, perhaps 2 AM which would fit her story too.

Col. Gracie's book doesn't mention Willard in 10 but with most 1st class women already gone, the estimate of 41 for this boat must have been made up mainly of 2nd or 3rd class people. So this still doesn't RULE OUT 10 as a possibility.

Gracie mentions an interesting thing re: 10 that I'd not noticed till now - that an alternative account (that of seaman Buley)has 10 leaving AFTER 16, which is generally believed to have been the last of the boats on the 2nd class deck to leave.

Randy
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dear Randy,
Hello, how have you been doing? Thank you for your post.

You wrote:
"I may be wrong but I thought the last boats to leave WERE forward boats and they did have a number of steerage women and children in them."

You are absolutely correct. What I was trying to get at, but did not make myself clear on, was that if there was evidence that points to Miss Constance being in Lifeboat # 10, then she was alleging that this boat was one of the last two boats to leave. If she was in Lifeboat # 10, and if she was quoted correctly by the reporter, then this would almost certainly mean that she was referring to # 10 as one of the last two boats to have left the aft port quadrant of the ship. We know several forward boats left after the aft boats had departed.

Michael, I agree, some of her account is most definitely questionable. However, I was wondering if there is any legitimate reason why she has been placed in Lifeboat # 10 by some researchers. Perhaps Peter Klarstrom or Chris Dohany could shed some light on this, since their website lists her as a possible occupant of # 10. I am just curious, because her own account is not definitive at all, and I have never seen anyone else mention her in their accounts either, and was wondering if I was missing something (quite possible).

I hope you'll all have a great day tomorrow.
Best regards,
Tad
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Tad,

I have just been looking over my reprint copy of Gracie's book and seem to be mistaken in what I claimed Gracie said re: 10 & 16. He said 6 NOT 16!!! Sorry. So that means he thinks boat 6 was on the ship after 1:20 AM, being lowered AFTER 8.

My hunch re: why Miss Willard has been put in boat 10 by researchers is that she mentions the man throwing a baby to her and it is known that Baker Joughin was tossing children into this boat. Sounds like a rather slender reason. Unless somebody comes up with a better reason for associating Willard with this boat, I think she must have gone in a later one. If she says 20 something women were in the boat and it went off nearly last and shortly before the ship sank, it sounds like a good case for Boat 2.

Randy
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear Tad, in response to your question about Constance Willard; we placed her tentatively in boat 10 based on her account you quote. She mentions a lot of children being in the boat, and that it apparently wasn't full; about 40 or so. She mentions no shooting incidents/men pushing to get into the boats or men being allowed without further ado. She does not say anyone was picked up from the sea. Most likely she is referring to a port boat, in which there was a number of children. We can exclude No 2 (which held 18 or so), No 4 (picked up people), No 6 and 8 (no children), No 12 (no children, picked up a lot of people), No 14 (children; yes, but there was the shooting incident and the transfer of most of the passengers), No 16 (in which the shooting incident in boat 14 was heard, but there were children...)
Starboard boat C remains a possibility, certainly, but wouldn't she have recognised Bruce Ismay/William Carter? The Chinese might have been mentioned?? She wasn't in No 1, boats 3, 5, 7 and 9 held one child or no children at all, No 11 may be an alternative, but it was almost full and there were many more men in it, boats 13 and 15 held very few women.
I still believe she probably was in boat 10, but if there is other evidence I will gladly accept that.

Peter
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Peter!

Although your tentative assignment of Miss Willard to boat #10 is interesting and well thought out, the description of the occupants of her lifeboat that you quoted differs greatly from the description she gave after arriving in St. Paul:

"There were very few in our boat for some reason, only about twenty steerage women, another woman from the first cabin like myself, the girl with me and the crew of, I think, five men."

I wonder if it might not be a bit premature for your website to 'assign' Miss Willard to a specific lifeboat in the absence of *definitive* evidence which allows for such an assignment? The fact that Miss Willard's numerous newspaper interviews differ from each other in many important respects suggests that reliance on one particular interview in preference to another might not be warranted.

Since your present lifeboat website does not distinguish between *definite* and *tentative* lifeboat assignments, I'm wondering if it might be possible for you to add some footnotes to document why you have 'assigned' certain people to specific lifeboats (as in the case of Willard.) This would allow other researchers to evaluate the existing evidence and decide for themselves if they think the evidence warrants the 'assignment.' (In the case of Willard, its my own opinion that we do not yet have enough reliable information to assign her to any specific lifeboat.)

Thanks very much, old chap. I hope you're well.

All my best,

George
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear George, I haven't had a look at our website in a while; actually, I thought it said that some of the placements were quite uncertain; Miss Willard is one of the enigmatic people I am aware of that. I haven't seen that interview you refer to. Where is that to be found? Do you think she is talking about boat No 16? It could be. But then, who is the 'other' first class lady with her? Who is the 'girl' she talks about? Perhaps you have got clues?

Best regards,

Peter
 

George Behe

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Hi, Peter!

>I haven't had a look at our website in a while; >actually, I
>thought it said that some of the placements were >quite uncertain;

It does -- but it doesn't say *which* placements are uncertain. Many people quote your website's passenger lifeboat assignments as if there was absolutely no doubt about the accuracy of *any* of those assignments. That's why I feel it would be helpful if you and Chris could highlight the names of passengers who's placements have been based upon speculation instead of upon hard evidence. (Right now the 'possibles' are listed right alongside the 'definites' without any distinction being made between the two; it's very confusing and could lead to all kinds of mistakes being made by people who utilize your data in their own research.)

>Miss
>Willard is one of the enigmatic people I am aware >of that. I haven't
>seen that interview you refer to. Where is that >to be found?

St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1912 (exact date unknown but probably sometime in April.)

>Do you
>think she is talking about boat No 16? It could >be.

Yes, it could, but -- unfortunately -- Miss Willard's interviews are just too vague and contradictory for us to be able to draw ironclad conclusions from them.

>But then, who is the
>'other' first class lady with her? Who is the >'girl' she talks about?
>Perhaps you have got clues?

None whatsoever, old chap. That's why I don't know which lifeboat she was in. :)

Hope all is well with you, Peter.

All my best,

George
 

Philip Hind

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Hi Peter and George,

I am sure I am as guilty as anyone for publishing lists without adequate explanation of which are certain, mostly certain or uncertain placements.

It was for this very reason that I drew up those survivor charts with places for the supporting evidence to be inserted.

e.g. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lifeboats/survivors_1st.shtml

It seemed like a good idea at the time - well it is a good idea, but I didn't think what a huge job it would be.

Perhaps as a result of these discussions we might be able to fill in some of those gaps.

Philip
 
D

Daniel Rosenshine

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Dear Peter,

What is the address of your website for boat placements, I'd really like to see it.

Daniel.
 

Janet Hall

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Apr 13, 2006
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Is there an actual website for the Boat placements?
Meaning who was in what boat? I am searching for George Coombs a fireman/stoker.
Janet
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hello Janet,

Yep, it's through the ET home page. Once you're there, just click on "Survivors" which will provide you with that info.

Although, it does not list a George Coombs being in any of the lifeboats, so are you sure he was aboard the Titanic? The only crewman aboard that had that name was an Augustus Charles Coombs, but he was not a fireman/stoker; he was an assistant cook.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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From his biography on this web-site:
"Mr George Combes, of 45 Coleman Street, Southampton, survived the sinking. He may have escaped in Lifeboat 3."
 

Chris Dohany

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Dec 12, 1999
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As far as I know Combes never gave a public account of his escape from Titanic. According to known accounts a number of "firemen" left the ship in boat 3 — perhaps as many as ten. Two other firemen from Combes' watch, Podesta and Nutbean are thought to have been in 3, based on Podesta's account. I believe that's the rationale for the tentative placement of Combes (and several others on the 4-8 watch) in boat 3.

Of course boats 9, 13, and 15 are also candidates, and there were one or two unaccounted-for firemen each in boats 5, 11 and 16.
 
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