MEN being barred from entering the lifeboats


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Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Did anyone else in the lifeboats notice that the doors were open?

And did Lightoller, or anyone say that they intended to fill the boats from the gangway doors at the US Enquiry?

Cheers

Paul

 
C

Christine Geyer

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Geoff, just this is a question that I have much thought about myself during the past days.

At the British Inquiry Day 12 Lightoller was asked about the question of leaving men into Collapsible C:

14004. When that boat was filled ready to go away, as far as you could ascertain were there any other women thereabouts? - None whatever. I am under the impression that I could have put more in that boat and could have put some men in, but I did not feel justified in giving an order for men to get into the boat, as it was the last boat as far as I knew leaving the ship, and I thought it better to get her into the water safely with the number she had in; or, in other words, I did not want the boat to be rushed.

14005. Were there men passengers about? - There were plenty of people about, no doubt men passengers.

14006. Was good order being maintained then? - Splendid.

14007. And was there any attempt to rush that boat at all? - None whatever, but the men commenced to climb in when they heard there were no more women.


As to the question of loading more passengers from the gangway door he was asked the same day, a little earlier:

13962. That is the same thing as a gangway. You would provide some sort of communication between the opening of the door and the boat in the water below? - Exactly.
13963. Whether it was a gangway or a rope ladder, it does not matter. You had ordered this door to be opened? - Yes.
13964. There was no use having that open unless there was some sort of gangway? - No.
13965. Now, was that for the purpose of putting more people into the boats as soon as they become water-borne? - Yes.
13966. Was that the object? - That was the object.
13967. Now I want to ask you this question. I think you have been asked it already. Did you give any directions (I think you said you did not remember.) to the boats to remain about the gangway door? - No, my Lord.
13968. You did not? - Not that I remember.
13969. You do not remember? - Not that I remember.
13970. Would they then know that those gangway doors would be open - would the men in the boat know that those gangway doors would be open? - Hanging about the ship they could not very well fail to see if the gangway doors were open - the light shining through, the blaze of lights; and they would very soon be hailed by people at the gangway doors. The boatswain was down there. He has to use a little common sense as well, and when he has opened the gangway door he would naturally hail a boat, and tell them "starboard gangway door open," "the port gangway door open," and so let them know. On a calm night like that your Lordship will know the voice will carry a long way.
13971. You put as many into No. 4 boat as you thought safe? - Yes.
13972. That was about 40. We know some of the boats carried considerably more than 40? - 65.
13973. Would the men in the boat to whom you had said, "That boat is full; lower her," know that she was capable of taking more when she became water borne? - Yes, my Lord.
13974. They would know? - They would know.
13975. (The Solicitor-General.) Had you given orders for these boats to remain within hail? - Not that I remember. If a man asked me going away it is quite likely that I should, but I cannot say with distinctness that I did give the order.
13976. You were calling attention to this light on your port bow? - Yes.
13977. At any rate you were calling the passengers' attention to it? - Yes.
13978. Cannot you help us. Did you or did you not give any directions to these boats which might be taken to mean that they were to row to the light? - No.
13979. Were they to go away or were they to stay by the ship? - No, I cannot remember giving the boats any directions at all.


I would imagine Lightoller had had a few qualms at least. As to the question of guilt Ing can certainly much better assess his character. IMHO The statement that he didn't feel "justified" to give the order to let men in he boat(s) might be a hint that he felt absolutely fortified and right in not doing so. But at the same time he also says his initial feeling was that he could've put some men. I could not imagine anyone being in that position and not have some recurring thoughts afterwards.

As to his statement about the gangways I'd say his testimony reflects the disarrangement at the time the lifeboats were lowered. Much like the order for passengers to wait at the enclosed promenade to enter the lifeboats from there. One can almost feel sorry for the wrung Lightoller.

Regards
Christine
 
May 1, 2004
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Pacifique du Nord
Also, didn't at least one boat, once lowered, proceed to a gangway door, only to find it was below the water line? As far as 'hordes' of passengers milling about the gangway open doors, if I'd seen a partially filled lifeboat float by I would've not hesitated to jump.

Hopefully, I would have been pulled into the boat. Otherwise I would frozen to death by hypothermia w/in a few minutes.

Not to be cavalier about this or anything, but once, inappropriately dressed for a hike in the Cascade mountains, I found myself getting very cold and then the cold went away, and a state of mild euphoria set in. I instantly realized what was happening and began vigourous movement to get my blood flowing again.

Morale: Don't wear you Nordstrom trousers and a smashin' white dress shirt and no jacket when you hike in The Cascades in October!!!
 

Inger Sheil

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If Lightoller's intent was to load more men from the gangway doors, why did he even try to disallow that teenage boy from entering the lifeboat?
He didn't, Paul. That wasn't Lightoller. My understanding is the man was identified as McElroy, although secondary sources have since interpolated Lightoller's name into the record.
 

Ben Holme

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Hi Ing and Paul,

Just to complicate matters further, I've always understood that Second Steward Dodd was a chief candidate for the "That boy can't go" comment. I've never come across any accounts which mention McElroy being in the vicinity at the time, but Dodd certainly was. That being said, would a steward have had the authority to select passengers for placement in the boats?

The plot thickens...

Ben
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Ben!

You're of course correct about the crewman being Second Steward Dodd. (Mrs. Ryerson was acquainted with him, although she was under the mistaken impression that his name was "Stout.") Dodd wasn't stationed right beside boat #4, though -- he was stationed at the foot of the stairs when the Ryersons descended from the boat deck to A deck; when Dodd attempted to keep John Ryerson from proceeding any further onto A deck, that's when Mr. Ryerson intervened.

Hope you're well, old chap.

All my best,

George
 

Ben Holme

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Hi George,

Many thanks for confirming my suspicions re Dodd. The man seems to have been curiously well-acquainted with Pennsylvania society. It was Dodd who tipped off John B. Thayer that his wife was still on board, and essentially reunited husband and wiife, albeit temporarily.

It was also Dodd who so exasperated Mrs. Thayer by directing her and the other boat #4 women from one deck to the other, and back again. This would indeed place him at the foot of stairs (presumably the outside iron staircase rather than the grand staircase?).

Good to see you back with us, George! Hope this finds you well.

Best Regards,
Ben
 

Inger Sheil

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G'day Ben -

Very interesting that you've pinned it on Dodd - what did the passenger accounts say again? I'd trust your memory and sources on this over mine any day! I do remember that it wasn't Lightoller, although Lightoller has since been lobbed with the i.d. in other interpretations.I wouldn't want to be responsible for having McElroy unfairly named either.
 
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