Least recognised officer


Chloe Olive

Is it me or was Mr Pitman the least recognised officer? If so for what reasons? Also, did he ever talk about Titanic?
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Not just you, Chloe - I'd also say Pitman had the lowest recognition/interest factor. Jemma and I did quite a bit of work on him a few years ago, and Senan has a good article about his eyesight difficulties published here on ET.

I suspect it's a combination of factors - of all the junior officers, he had the less conspicuous part in the lead up to and aftermath of the disaster, and he did not have a particularly attention-drawing personality. Boxhall gave key evidence on the navigational aspects, on the rockets, and on the "mystery ship". He also spoke a bit about the diaster in later years, and was the last officer to pass away. Moody was on watch at the time of the collision, and took the fatal call from the crow's nest. Lowe was a rather colourful personality who returned for survivors. While Pitman did give some important evidence, he was not on watch at the time of the collision, was ordered away from the ship quite early in the evacuation, and did not follow through with his initial impulse to return for survivors.

He did not talk much about the Titanic in later years - indeed, when Lord approached him while researching A Night to Remember, he responded rather curtly to the questions and noted that he had little to add to his inquiry evidence - a view he expressed to others in private correspondence when he told them he'd been approached by Lord. He did show up to the premiere of ANTR, though.

He was a successful purser, so he must have had a fairly engaging personality and interpersonal skills. It's interesting that he remained at sea longer than any of his colleagues, albeit not as a deck officer.

Marshall Garvey

Thanks for this post Chloe and Inger! Chloe you make a great point about Pitman being so underrated. I've actually nicknamed him "The Quiet Man," as he does get somewhat lost amongst the other personalities of the officers and was indeed low-key about the sinking throughout his life. But he is nonetheless an interesting and vital survivor.