Lightoller at Dunkirk

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Mike Smith

Member
HI

AS SOME OF YOU WOULD KNOW AT THE AGE OF 66, COMMANDER LIGHTOLLER TOOK HIS PERSONAL BOAT, SUNDOWNER TO DUNKIRK WITH HIS SON. IN THE END HE RESCUED ABOUT 125 SOLDIERS ON A BOAT DESIGNED TO CARRY ONLY ABOUT 14. IF THERE IS ANYONE WHO HAS ALOT OF INFORMATION OR KNOWS A GOOD SITE ABOUT THIS EVENT COULD U PLEASE TELL ME. I THINK THIS EVENT WAS SO AMAZING AND WANT TO FIND OUT MORE.

THANK-YOU MIKE SMITH
 
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Mike Smith

Member
I AM INTERESTED IN INFO ABOUT LIGHTOLLER'S EFFORTS IN EVACUATING DUNKIRK. I ALREADY KNOW THE MORE PRONOUNCED FACTS, BUT I AM YET TO READ THE FULL STORY. IF U HAVE ANY INFO OR GOOD SITES ON THE MATTER COULD U PLEASE LIST THEM OR SEND THEM TO ME AT [email protected]

thank you
 
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

Member
A bloke called Stenson wrote a full biography of Lightoller which includes a detailed account of his Dunkirk work. It's called Lights : The Odyssey of C H Lightoller, or near enough. It's probably out of print but easy enough to find in a decent library.
 
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Mike Herbold

Member
"Titanic Voyager" by Patrick Stenson, subtitled "The Odyssey of C.H. Lightoller," is still available through the Titanic Historical Society.
 
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Senan Molony

Member
And then there is Walter Lord's wonderful work on Dunkirk, which I would recommend. Very evocative and eerie at times.
Now we know that author from somewhere, don't we...
 
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Martin Pirrie

Member
What you say is correct and you can find out about Lightholler at Dunkirk on this web site in his biography. His boat, Sundowner, went across the English Channel to Dunkirk this year in a memorial voyage with other boats which took soldiers off the beaches in 1940. This will be last time that there is an organized convoy across The Channel but, I believe, others boats will continue to cross The Channel individually to commemorate the evacuation.
 
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Mike Smith

Member
Ok thanks everyone for your help but i was wondering if there were any detailed sites on the web concerning the topic.

Thanks again Mike Smith
 
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andy adams

Guest
hi,
it is a shame but do you know, no officer who survived off the titanic ever captained a ship,
charles lightoller had to wait 27, ish years to captain a boat,, and it was his own,,but good on him,, he saved about 130 men..
so good on him
Andy Adams
 
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

Member
While on Dunkirk, non-Australians might like to know why the yacht (actually a big motorboat) was called Sundowner. In some places a sundowner is an evening drink, but Lightoller's wife was Australian and she and Lightoller were thinking of the Aussie meaning.

A sundowner was a wanderer, who tramped the outback, supposedly looking for work. When he neared a property, generally a sheep station, he would time his arrival for sundown. That way he would be given a meal and accomodation in accordance with outback tradition but would not do any work, because it was growing dark. In the morning he might get work, if he was really broke, but he was more likely to get up early and head for the next free feed.

The term came to signify somebody of free spirit who did not respect authority and has often been given to boats.
 
Richard

Richard

Member
Walter Lord (author of A Night To Remember) also
wrote a book about Dunkirk in which he included
a page or two about Lightoller and his actions in
this matter. He went back to Dunkirk a few times,
craming his boat with more than anyone thought it could take and was even briefly attacked by a german plane.
 
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Erik Wood

Member
There is a good documentary on A&E about Lightoller plus the books Lightoller wrote and that have been written about him.
 
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Neil McRae

Member
I am trying to clarify some details about Lightoller's trip to Dunkirk. Did the Sundowner actually return to England unscathed or did she actually get hit?

Charles Pellegrino's "Her Name, Titanic" suggests the latter: "Unarmed, bombed, and machine-gunned practically to splinters, the boat landed safely in England only by virtue of Lightoller's superior skill and seamanship." (P. 240. Afterword: Where Are They Today?)

Walter Lord's "The Miracle of Dunkirk" suggests the former: "Squirming and dodging his way across the Channel, Lightoller managed to get Sundowner back to England without a scratch." (P. 227 Ch. 12)

Patrick Stenson's "The Odyssey of C.H. Lightoller" suggests a third option: "Although the earlier bombs had not hit her, the force of the explosions so close to her hull had parted a couple of seams and she was beginning to take water." (P. 303 Ch. 30)
 
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Pat Winship

Member
Neil, looking at the practicalities of the thing, I'll go with Lord and Stenson on this one. Sundowner is a wooden boat, and she was overloaded on the Dunkirk trip. If she'd taken a hit-- machine gun, or bomb, she'd probably never have made it at all.

Pat W.
 
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