Lucile Carter

Encyclopedia Titanica

Staff member
Feb 22, 2012

Ed Lawler

Aug 5, 2013
Lucile Polk Carter divorced her husband, William Ernest Carter, soon after the sinking. She then married George Brooke Jr. (1870-1953), and their daughter, Elizabeth "Betty Boop" Brooke Blake (b. 1916) tells a very negative story about her mother's first husband:"Boop was raised on the Philadelphia Main Line by a father whose wealth came from steel and a mother previously married to William E. Carter, whose loathsome conduct during the sinking of the Titanic fueled a national scandal and earned him a lifetime of ridicule -- and a nickname, Titanic Bill. Even today, old-timers remember the infamous Titanic Bill, alone and more likely than not inebriated, staring out at the ocean off Bailey's Beach."When the iceberg hit," Boop tells me, "they knew the boat was going down. So Mr. Carter went down to the stateroom and said to my mother, 'Lucille, the boat is sinking. Get the children up and get the children into a lifeboat.' " And then Titanic Bill disappeared, perhaps to check on his precious dogs and horses, or the motor car he'd had custom-built for him in Europe -- or, more likely, to find a lifeboat before the ship went down."Leaving his wife and two young children to their fate, he made his way on deck. Given the universal rule of women and children first, the scandal mongers believed that Titanic Bill must have dressed in women's clothing to secure his seat in a lifeboat. But according to Boop's mother, who managed to survive with her daughter and son (Boop's step-siblings), Titanic Bill escaped in his own clothes. Still, the women's clothing story stuck -- and regardless of what he'd worn, Bill had proved himself the worst sort of coward."One can only imagine how Boop's mother greeted her husband when they were reunited on shore, but the net result was divorce. "I mean," says Boop, "I don't think you leave a woman to drown, with your two children -- they were his children. That's pretty low. I mean, you wouldn't do that. Nobody would."Source: ''A Nearly Perfect Summer'' by G. Wayne Miller (2000)

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