Lightoller and Wilde


Jun 27, 2002
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I'm not sure if this has come up before or not, but I've wondered in the back of my mind if there wasn't some animosity (one sided or mutual) between Lightoller and Wilde? Moreover, what impact would this have had during the ship's evacuation?

For example, Lights not once but twice went over Wilde's head during the early evacuation, first about swinging out the boats, and then about loading them. Both times Wilde said "No," to which Lights immediately went to Smith and asked again, getting a "yes" both times. I find this fascinating: not once, but twice, Lightoller was given an answer by a superior, ones he disagreed with, and so he went up higher. I don't think it is a matter of Lightoller being better informed than Wilde about the fate of the ship (Wilde had seen the flooding firsthand, while Lights at that early point had only been told by Boxhall that they were damaged). It seems that Lights did not trust Wilde's opinion, or put much stock in it.

And then there is Lightoller's own comment about Wilde ordering him to take charge of Collapsible D, to which he replied "Not damn likely."

That is quite a statement to make to a superior, and certainly seems to underline a lack of respect for Wilde.

Could this be because of the shuffling in rotation, and his demotion to 2nd officer when Wilde came aboard as temporary Chief?

What do you all make of this assessment?

Best,

BR
 
Sep 24, 2010
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Hi Brain,

I too would be interested in any answers to this. In the few things I have read I get the overall feeling that there might have been some animosity.

I'm not at all sure about Lightoller's character - there are some conflicting reports: in some he is a hero, others not so much.

TT
 
Oct 19, 2007
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Of course, dead men tell no tales. Lights could have been spicing up the details since Chief Officer Wilde died in the sinking. His granddaughter, Lady Patton, seems to have a flair for this, so maybe it runs in the family!

Lightoller does sound a little resentful of Wilde in his book. In "Titanic and Other Ships," he explained that the shuffle among the senior officers was "unfortunate" and a "doubtful policy" and that he was disappointed to have to "step back" in rank and that this added to his duties. However, this was only to be a temporary change on the maiden run. I certainly hope that Lightoller and Wilde were not so childish as to hold a grudge while Titanic sank beneath them.
Andrea C
 
Oct 19, 2007
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Also, according to his bio, Lights was the veteran of many other shipping disasters. He may have thought that he knew best because he had more experience with major disasters. In his own way Lights was kind of a Jonah--ships with him on them seem to sink.
Another thing, as a young man Lightoller had been a cowboy and gold miner. This could have added to his independent attitude.
 
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Crystal Von

Guest
Lights was known for a hush attitude,I am positive that people back then (lightoller and Wilde) never saw eye to eye,just like we on here have arguments.

CV
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>In his own way Lights was kind of a Jonah--ships with him on them seem to sink.<<

He also seemed to learn the lessons if the destroyer he commanded during the First World War is any indication. He made it to port with his command even after the bow had been crunched in by ramming a German submarine.

Can't fault the man for his courage either. Taking an unarmed yacht to Dunkirk to evacuate stranded troops while under fire was not for the faint hearted.
 
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Crystal Von

Guest
quote:
>>He made it to port with his command even after the bow had been crunched in by ramming a German submarine.<<

It must had been common practice for British captains to ram German submarines with there ships,right?

Olympic and Lightoller with his ship.

Michael is right though,Lightoller seems to be more of a hero with guts than a coward/foolish idiot.


quote:
>>Ummm...what do you mean by this "Crystal"?<<

Some women dislike Lightoller cause of his rough stance to-wards the ladies.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>It must had been common practice for British captains to ram German submarines with there ships,right?<<

I don't know if I would call it "common" but it was a tactic that was used when required. It was also a very risky tactic since you could suffer as much damage if not worse damage then the submarine.

Merchant vessels actually had something of an advantage here in that most were larger then the destroyers of the era and had greater resistance to damage. A destroyer was better served if they could stand off and sink a submarine with gunfire or...when such weapons became available...drop depth charges on the known/presumed location of a submerged boat.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Jul 4, 2000
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Lights was known for a hush attitude
...
Some women dislike Lightoller cause of his rough stance to-wards the ladies.


Does this mean that you used "hush" to mean "harsh"?

Some women dislike Lightoller cause of his rough stance to-wards the ladies.

1. "Some women" such as....?

2. What makes/made these women think that Lightoller took a "rough stance" toward women?

2. Should your comment be understood as being in the present ("dislike") or past ("was known") tense?
 
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Crystal Von

Guest
The women at question on disliking Lightoller's personality was quoted by a well respected knowledgeable member on here.....but do you think I can find the quote? No,I am having trouble finding the quote.
 
Oct 19, 2007
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>>He also seemed to learn the lessons if the destroyer he commanded during the First World War is any indication. He made it to port with his command even after the bow had been crunched in by ramming a German submarine.<<

Yes, I agree with that. He learned from the past. Lights definitely had endurance and he never backed down or shrink away from a calamity. Myself, I probably would have never gone back to sea after the FIRST disaster. But, maybe not...you never know what you might do in a given situation. Harsh or not I do admire Lights in that respect. Having gone through a few calamities and come off on top gives one a tested quality. I certainly would prefer a tested and proved in disaster commander than one who has 'never been wrecked..never seen a wreck...etc'
A.C