Lightoller


Second Officer Lightoller seemed to be a very 'heroic' man. He was a cowboy, a gold prospector,a hobo and all these other bigger than life characters. He also saved a windjammer from a coal fire, prompted Capt. Smith to uncover the lifeboats, gets swept into the water trying to save people and survives. He was also involved in several other instances of disaster were he comes off looking like the hero--even in a sinking six years to the date of the Titanic sinking. Is it just in Lightoller's character to be a hero, is it just coincidence, or is there something more to it. (I once heard of a fireman that set fires just so he could save people. Its just a little late night musing)
 
>>Is it just in Lightoller's character to be a hero, is it just coincidence, or is there something more to it. <<

I think it was more his misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. On some ships in an earlier age, he might have been regarded as a Jonah. (Not a good lable to be stuck with!)

I don't think he was in the habit of sinking ships, but I do think he was a take-charge kind of guy who had a talant for keeping his wits about him when everything was going straight to hell. That's why he and anyone who stuck with him tended to come out of it alive when everybody else was pre-oocupied with getting dead. I know if I was in a jam on a ship at sea, he's the sort of chap I would tend to want to be with. It would be the safest place with the best chance for survival.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
I agree with Michael that it was, to an extent, being in certain places at certain times. We also tend to have a slightly skewed perspective, because Lightoller did live to write about his adventures - although he undoubtedly did have more experience with ships foundering than his colleagues! Pitman had experienced a sinking, although he thought it a fairly minor affair, and Blair also experienced the Oceanic grounding.

Between them, they had some fairly hair raising experiences - Moody went through some horrific storms at sea, and at one point his vessel was thought lost by the owners when her prop shaft broke and lost propulsion. We only know about these experiences through his letters. Lowe was a man of action from childhood, when he was credited with saving the life of a playmate. In his early years at sea, he volunteered to go aloft to reef sails when no one else would do so, and jumped after a man who had fallen overboard, keeping him afloat until they could be picked up. Blair earned accolades for his actions in another 'man overboard' incident.

If they'd all recorded their experiences it would have made for some remarkable reading - even allowing for the necessary salt that one must add to a yarn of the sea.
 
Top