Lightoller BBC interview


Feb 9, 2006
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Hey everyone,

From what all I have heard about Lightoller's memorable voice, I have become very curious.

I was wondering if there are any links online or any ways people are aware of that would let me purchase the interview?

I know that the THS sells tapes with different survivor accounts, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how you know which tape has which interviews, because all it says is tape one, tape two, tape three as far as I can tell.

Thanks, anybody!
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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There is a tape called "That Fateful Night". I got one from Barnes and Noble in recent years. The commentary is as cheesy as an Amsterdam street market, but there's quite a lot from survivors.
 
Dec 3, 2005
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Thanks a thousand times for that link, Ryan. I've always wanted to hear that. Is that a standard Lancashire accent? He almost sounds American. I can picture him, puffing a pipe, wearing his cap, telling that story to his grandchildren.
 
Feb 9, 2006
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Thanks so very much, Ryan (it took me this long to have a listen, as the media player didn't work on my lap top), that just gave me a chill, hearing Titanic's last moments told in that voice.

A very interesting accent. I am not skilled at recognizing accents, but Lightoller's does sound oddly American-Scottish-British to me, not the usual heavier British accent that I feel like I have heard the most. Certainly not how I imagined Lightoller speaking, somehow. Maybe I just heard a Kenneth More-ish voice or something.

I assume if I buy one of those survivor account tapes with Lightoller, I would get more of the voice? Because I may not be able to resist now.
 
L

Lynda Franklin

Guest
Thanks for the link his accent sounds a little odd .I always wanted to hear Lights voice .
 
Jun 13, 2006
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If memory serves Commander Lightoller came from Lancashire but lived many years near Southampton. I can hear a kind of north/south mix in his accent. In later years he lived near Potters Bar in North London but I can't hear much of a London influence. I know he spent a couple of years gold prospecting in the Yukon so he could well have picked up an American purr to his voice at that time.

Nevertheless, it's wonderful to hear him over the years.

Love Rich x
 
May 1, 2004
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"North" American, please, Rich.
happy.gif
I suppose the Klondike might straddle the border, but Yukon is on the Canadian side.

T'is the first time I've heard my cousin's B.C. accent or Uncle Samuel's twang being described as a "purr".
 
Jun 13, 2006
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D'oh! Sorry about that. The Canadian accent is softer to us than the American accent, but compared to my North London bark it's definitely a purr! Something I forgot to suggest yesterday, Mrs Lightoller was from Sydney I believe (Good old "Syders-by-the-sea" to us Londoners) and he may have even picked up an inflection or two from her over time.

Love Rich x
 
May 9, 2006
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"Something I forgot to suggest yesterday, Mrs Lightoller was from Sydney I believe (Good old "Syders-by-the-sea" to us Londoners) and he may have even picked up an inflection or two from her over time."

Possible! After all, one of the 'great crimes' of Wallis Simpson was that Edward VIII started to sound American. It was apparently quite noticeable during the one State Opening of Parliament he did in his short reign. People were not amused. Of course, there was also the small problem that Wallis was still married.

Sorry, tangent. Anyway, Syliva Lightoller was from Sydney (or environs) and her father was American, so perhaps Lightoller did pick up some Australian-American pronounciation from her.
 

Shea Sweeney

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Dec 6, 2006
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I know nothing of the different types of British accents unfortunately. From a viewpoint of a young American into the Titanic, the only difference I know of British accents is from the Titanic movies where the guys in the boiler room spoke much differently than those in first class! I suppose you would call that cockney and "proper".
Anyway, as an American I can say that when I heard the BBC interview I thought he sounded quite like an American. I could tell there was some British influence in his voice but he definitely mellowed his British accent down or picked up our accent over his years of travel.
 
Dec 29, 2006
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Witney
I doubt if there would have been many Cockneys in the boiler rooms of British ships in 1912 - many Merchant Navy firemen were Liverpool Irishmen, while seaman would often have had West Country accents which, to an American, would probably have sounded something like an old-time East Coast accent (think of some of the dialogue in Moby Dick!)
 

Shea Sweeney

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Dec 6, 2006
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I see. Thanks for the accent lesson, Stanley. So, figuring that you're British, what exactly is "cockney" then? Most Yanks would assume it is just the accent of all lower class Britons.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Cockneys are working class Londoners, or more specifically East Enders. A South Londoner (like myself) can distinguish East End Cockney from his own local accent, but somebody from further afield would find that difficult. Nobody, however (not even an American), could witness a conversation between a Londoner and somebody from the English north, Midlands or 'west country' and think they were speaking with the same accent, any more than we in England would think that a New Yorker and a Texan spoke with the same accent.
 

Dave Gittins

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A quick skim through the boiler room crew shows that the majority were born in Hampshire. Liverpool is possibly the next most likely birthplace, but it's well behind. There were a few from London and at least one Dutchman.

I noticed some American paper described Fred Fleet as a Cockney, but that just shows the reporter wasn't familiar with English accents. He obviously wasn't upper class, so call him a Cockney.

My father came from Lancashire and I think I detect the Lancashire accent in Lightoller, though it's not at all strong.

The whole subject of regional accents is quite fascinating. My Geordie mate says he can tell the difference in accents between Newcastle-on-Tyne and North Shields, a few miles away. There are even purely local words. A Belgian mate says the same applies in his country.
 

Shea Sweeney

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Dec 6, 2006
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"The whole subject of regional accents is quite fascinating."

I'll say so! USA is substantially larger than the UK yet you guys have so many different accents. Sure we've got a handful but as Dave pointed out some are different even though their speakers may only lived not many miles away from one another. Thanks for the input.
 
May 3, 2005
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Thank, you Shea Sweeney !-

>>"The whole subject of regional accents is quite fascinating."<<

...One of the things that makes for interesting viewing...watching all the "Britcoms" on the local PBS station in Dallas are the different accents....from "Mr. Molterd" of "Are You Being Served Again" to "Captain Peacock" on "Are You Being Served"...in addition to...of course !...the characters on "The Last of the Summer Wine"...et cetera, et cetera and so forth....ad infinitum.

I say ! Do you blokes in the UK really talk like that ?

Of course...forbid the thought !...you might think of we Dallasites as having a bit of a curious accent. LOL.
 

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