Lightoller as a father

Sara S

Sara S

Member
Hello again,

there is a whole lot of information available about Titanic's second officer, from his early years to his profession to how he met his wife. Do you have any information about what relationship he had with his children? Was he a strict parent and how did he treat them? I know he had lost two sons during his lifetime due to war, which must have been horrible losses to him, do you know how exactly he (and his wife) coped with that?
One of his daughters even lived until 2004, which was really surprising because it's not that long ago. Did she ever publicly speak about her family, did she watch Cameron's Titanic, what were her thoughts etc.?

Many questions, I hope you could help me here. Thank you in advance
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member
Lightoller must have had a lot of faith in Roger to take him with him on "the voyage into hell and back" when they went to play their own small part in rescuing the British Army at Dunkirk.

Dan Parkes website has some nice photographs of Lightoller and his family, including a funny one of an elderly Lightoller "mugging" for the camera with his pipe ! All in all the Lightoller family gave the impression of being a happy bunch.

There is a charming photograph of Lightoller and his young sons Trevor and Roger about the time of the Titanic disaster. The boys look very proud of their dad.

Another is of Charles and Roger Lightoller (in RNVR uniform) relaxing together sometime during WW2 aboard the Lightoller family's beloved "Sundowner".

As you rightly say in your OP, Brian Lightoller and Roger Lightoller very sadly did not make it to VE Day.

Flying Officer Herbert Brian Lightoller

Service Number: 37884

Regiment & Unit/Ship: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 107 Sqdn.

Date of Death: Died 04 September 1939 Age 21 years old

Buried or commemorated at: Sage War Cemetery 4. B. 13 Germany

"Son of Comdr. Charles Herbert Lightoller, R.N.R., and Sylvia Lightoller, of Twickenham, Middlesex."
Lieutenant Frederic Roger Lightoller

Regiment & Unit/Ship: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve H.M.S. Odyssey.

Date of Death: Died 09 March 1945 Age 38 years old

Buried or commemorated at: Bayeux War Cemetery VIII. B. 22 France

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, Twice Mentioned in Despatches

"Son of Comdr. Charles Herbert Lightoller, D.S.C., R.D., R.N.R., and Sylvia Lightoller; husband of Marcia June Lightoller, of Southgate, Middlesex."

Inscription: "Beloved husband of Marcia dear daddy of Daphne. All is love there is no death."
 
Sara S

Sara S

Member
Thank you so much. I really would like to see this picture of Charles with his sons from the time of the titanic disaster. I'm definetly gonna look it up.
Though I always wondered why there seems so much silence around his relationship with his daughters, especially since one of them lived into the 21st century, which is pretty exiting imo. I speculate that daughters might have been always closer to the mother and more distant towards the father at that time? I can't even find pictures of them, let alone any references they made about their father. As I said, one of the dauthers lived into our century so I am suprised little is known about her or why she didn't speak much about the titanic
 
Thomas Krom

Thomas Krom

Member
Thank you so much. I really would like to see this picture of Charles with his sons from the time of the titanic disaster. I'm definetly gonna look it up.
Herbert trevor roger

Here it is, with the compliments of the talented historian Dan Parkes (Titanic's Officers - RMS Titanic - Second Officer C.H.Lightoller)
 
Sara S

Sara S

Member
Thank you so much. I really would like to see this picture of Charles with his sons from the time of the titanic disaster. I'm definetly gonna look it up.
Though I always wondered why there seems so much silence around his relationship with his daughters, especially since one of them lived into the 21st century, which is pretty exiting imo. I speculate that daughters might have been always closer to the mother and more distant towards the father at that time? I can't even find pictures of them, let alone any references they made about their father. As I said, one of the dauthers lived into our century so I am suprised little is known about her or why she didn't speak much about the titanic
Hello again, this is one of my posts from last year.
I am still curious to find out more about the Lightoller's relationships. I'm always more interested in those little things. There are a lot of sources talking about the two sons that died in the war. Now I really wonder about the daughters. Did Charles spent much time with them? Did the daughter who died in 2004 ever talk about her father or the titanic?

I am also curious to know what kind of father Charles was. Was he the affectionate type that would hug and kiss his children a lot, tellim them he loves them etc, or was he rather distant, authoritarian, a dominant parent that expected discipline and avoided lots of physical touch?


Thank you again
 
Dan Parkes

Dan Parkes

Member
You are right -there is very little information on the daughters. I have been collecting fragments of information for years and I will soon be updating the page on Lightoller's family (Titanic's Officers - RMS Titanic - Second Officer C.H.Lightoller) and will let you know if I find anything. One aspect to consider is that Sylvia outlived Herbert by 17 years.

I do have a wonderful photograph I'll be adding soon of Herbert and the whole family in swimming costumes in Port Victoria -the youngest child Brian sits in front, with sisters Doreen and Mavis to their left. But they are all huddled very closely together which to me at least indicates they were a close family. And in another photograph of the two girls and Trevor in 1933, this time the girls are grouped close to Sylvia seated at a table, and Herbert looking over them. It is dangerous to judge via photographs, but the sense is that they were indeed a close family. By the way, I know social media is not for everyone but a lot of these photographs and more are frequently posted in the Titanic officers Facebook group long before the website is updated (Titanic's Officers (Official)) if you are interested.
 
Sara S

Sara S

Member
You are right -there is very little information on the daughters. I have been collecting fragments of information for years and I will soon be updating the page on Lightoller's family (Titanic's Officers - RMS Titanic - Second Officer C.H.Lightoller) and will let you know if I find anything. One aspect to consider is that Sylvia outlived Herbert by 17 years.

I do have a wonderful photograph I'll be adding soon of Herbert and the whole family in swimming costumes in Port Victoria -the youngest child Brian sits in front, with sisters Doreen and Mavis to their left. But they are all huddled very closely together which to me at least indicates they were a close family. And in another photograph of the two girls and Trevor in 1933, this time the girls are grouped close to Sylvia seated at a table, and Herbert looking over them. It is dangerous to judge via photographs, but the sense is that they were indeed a close family. By the way, I know social media is not for everyone but a lot of these photographs and more are frequently posted in the Titanic officers Facebook group long before the website is updated (Titanic's Officers (Official)) if you are interested.
Thank you for the response:). In fact, I am part of the Titanic Facebook group and I have seen the family picture in Port Victoria. It was really an amazingly rare picture of a titanic officer with his entire family. It was lovely to see
The other picture with the two girls and Trevor is unknown to me. I am definetly looking forward to your updates on your great website!
 
P

paula lees

Member
Thank you so much. I really would like to see this picture of Charles with his sons from the time of the titanic disaster. I'm definetly gonna look it up.
Though I always wondered why there seems so much silence around his relationship with his daughters, especially since one of them lived into the 21st century, which is pretty exiting imo. I speculate that daughters might have been always closer to the mother and more distant towards the father at that time? I can't even find pictures of them, let alone any references they made about their father. As I said, one of the dauthers lived into our century so I am suprised little is known about her or why she didn't speak much about the titanic

Probate Date​

11 Jun 1940 • London, England​

Son Herbert Brian Leaves effects of £25 to Father Commander Charles Herbert Lightoller. Killed in Action: He was among the very first casualties of the RAF, killed in action on 4 September 1939 (the 2nd day of the war) in a Blenheim Bomber Raid against the German Fleet off Wilhelmshaven. It is believed that the raid was primarily targeted against the German battleship Admiral Scheer. Shot Down By Flak During A Raid on German Warships in Wilhelmshaven Harbour.
 
P

paula lees

Member
Sylvia Mavis Lightoller married Frederick Haughton Braybrook in 1941 in Edmonton, Essex, she died
NameMrs Sylvia Mavis Braybrook
GenderFemale
Age91
Birth Date11 Apr 1913
Last Residence

Flat 28, Elizabeth Court, 47, Milmans Street, London,​

England
Postal Code DistrictNw1
Death Date28 Nov 2004
 
P

paula lees

Member
Sylvia lightollerSundowner
Sylvia Lightoller at 80 years of age bound for Dunkirk aboard the Sundowner on the 25th anniversary of the evacuation.
 
Seumas

Seumas

Member

Probate Date​

11 Jun 1940 • London, England​

Son Herbert Brian Leaves effects of £25 to Father Commander Charles Herbert Lightoller. Killed in Action: He was among the very first casualties of the RAF, killed in action on 4 September 1939 (the 2nd day of the war) in a Blenheim Bomber Raid against the German Fleet off Wilhelmshaven. It is believed that the raid was primarily targeted against the German battleship Admiral Scheer. Shot Down By Flak During A Raid on German Warships in Wilhelmshaven Harbour.
I was reading about these RAF attacks on Germany during the first weeks of the war just the other week.

Brian Lightoller was killed because of a combination of poorly trained RAF intelligence officers and overconfident senior officers who spectacularly underestimated the strength German fighters and anti-aircraft defences. The raids took place in broad daylight, the Blenheim's and Wellington's were sitting ducks. Hardly any damage was inflicted upon the German warships, docks and fuel tanks which were the targets of the raids.

In 1912, he lost a good friend, William Murdoch, owing to the incompetence of higher authorities and in 1939 he lost his own son owing to the incompetence of higher authorities. Tragic.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Paula,
Seeing you have an interest Lightoller. I have made a visit to the boatyard on the river Thames Chertsey Surrey UK about a month ago now where the Sundowner is in for major repairs.
Unfortunately not much is in progress at present. Had a chat with Steve Dennet who runs the company the son of Michael Dennet. He said the hull is sound condition, its all the new timber been added over the years has rotten away. The hull and bridge are made from top quality teak wood.
If you have a relative living near by Chertsey Surrey I am quite willing to have a chat or make a visit to the boatyard.
 

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Dan Parkes

Dan Parkes

Member
Paula,
Seeing you have an interest Lightoller. I have made a visit to the boatyard on the river Thames Chertsey Surrey UK about a month ago now where the Sundowner is in for major repairs.
Unfortunately not much is in progress at present. Had a chat with Steve Dennet who runs the company the son of Michael Dennet. He said the hull is sound condition, its all the new timber been added over the years has rotten away. The hull and bridge are made from top quality teak wood.
If you have a relative living near by Chertsey Surrey I am quite willing to have a chat or make a visit to the boatyard.

Thanks for the update on the Sundowner Mike, I was wondering what progress was being made. Can I share this update to the Titanic Officer's group I run on Facebook?
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Number one problem with Sundowner is MONEY! The boatyard is quite capable for the repairs. At the time had 9 little Dunkirk boats with many more wooden boats in for repairs to. To the point they where turning work away due to lack of space!
I must say I have learn quite a bit on designs and types of woods used. Sundowner hull is of top notch in design by using vertical diagonal teak timbers and not over lap timbers. I believe heard the frame work was oak. I can only guess made for the Admiralty, only the best would do.
Most impress to see the bosses in the thick of it in there working cloths and not in suits. I plan to make a further visit in the next month or so.
If there is anything you would like me to ask, please let me know.
 
Dan Parkes

Dan Parkes

Member
Number one problem with Sundowner is MONEY!
With permission to use your photographs and information (with credit to you, of course), I am happy to raise awareness, as I don't think many realise the situation. It would be a huge loss if it disappeared due to a lack of funding.
 
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