Men in Life Boats


Paul Rogers

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Nov 30, 2000
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C'mon guys!

Everyone DOES have opinions and, what's more, everyone is allowed to have them. You may not agree with another's opinion - but that doesn't give anyone the right to resort to personal invective.

This IS a discussion forum, isn't it? So, let's discuss! Surely one can disagree and still be polite.

Regards,
Paul.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Hold on everyone...

Perhaps I was a bit too blunt in my comments for some people's sensitivities. If so, I appologise. However, it is not my nature to dodge reality just because it is unpleasant.

I did not intend to be callous about the deaths of anyone. My point was to put into perspective the situation faced by Captain Smith and his officers as of roughly 12:40 am. All of the big mistakes had been made by that time. Discussion of why the ship came to be sinking with too few lifeboats is irrelevant. Titanic was sinking and it now fell to Smith, Wilde, Murdoch and Lightoller (the 4 senior officers) to decide who would live and who would die. There was no escaping that task.

The great uproar over my posting shows the enormity of their task. We can't get agreement about how it should be done even today, some 88 years after the wreck. Second guessing what they did is an affront not to the dead, but to the officers who faced this problem and managed to save roughly 70% of those people that could be saved. Their performance was not perfect, but it was a reasonably good effort.

Triage is by its nature callous. And, any plan to evacuate Titanic had to be callous as well because someone had to decide who would live and who would die. Whether by conscious decision or by letting things happen, the officers' method of choosing among the passengers (in the beginning) was to load those people who came forward...who were either lucky enough or smart enough to be on the boat deck. If that sounds callous, then suggest another option that is more fair or compassionate.

Could they have saved only First Class
passengers?

Or, should they have saved only the Third
Class immigrants?

How 'bout blue eyed blondes?

Would a general alarm and panic have been
better because it would have been
egalitarian?

It's absurd to think that you can be anything but callous when faced with deciding who will live and who will not. There is no fair or compassionate way to make such a selection. Yet Smith and his officers had to do just that because their ship was sinking ship and they had half enough lifeboats.

Titanic's officers were forced by circumstances (largely of their own making) into this absurd situation...they found a solution... and they made that solution work. We have no right to second guess them because they were under the physical and mental pressure of working on the freezing deck of a sinking ship. We work in the quiet of a computer cubicle. They were handling manila line, wooden boats, cold night air, and often frightened passengers. Add to that the fact that the senior officers knew they were probably going to be in the "not saved" category by morning.

That so many contributors to this message board are angry is good. But, this anger should not be focused at me for pointing out the impposibly difficult nature of choosing who was sent away in the boats and who was left to die on the sinking ship. Nor should I be blamed for the method Smith et. al. chose for evacuating more than 700 people safely from Titanic.

History is not a record of what might have been.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hmmmmmm...I don't recall saying Smith and company were calculating and thoughtful supreme beings, only that they were in a very bad situation and they had to do what they could in order to avoid having it become dramtically worse.

Reality can and often is ugly. Damned ugly and there is nothing to be done for it. Especially when one is dealing with an environment as harsh and as unforgiving as the sea.

The sea is not interested in anybodies sensibilities or the lack thereof. it doesn't care if you are liberal, conservative, Tory, labour, Republican, Democrat, white, black, yellow, green with polka dots, male, female, young, old, rich, poor, nor does it care if any of us think we have the moral high ground or not.

Mariners are trained to make some unpleasant and calculating decisions on matters of life and death that I hope none of the people here EVER have to face. I've faced shipboard emergencies, and I've been trained to do things that would make some peoples blood run cold. Like close and dog down hatches to flooding or burning compartments, and KEEP them closed no matter what, even if men are trapped inside. The reason for that is if I or others fail in that duty, instead of losing a few men, we would lose the ship and everybody aboard.

So I have to ask again; could any of us have done any better? Remember, the ship is mortally wounded, it's sinking, and you don't have enough lifeboats aboard for all. The specter of panic is there (And we know that the feared panic did in fact happen), and you know that no matter what you do, people are going to die. It's fact. Unavoidable, and not open to debate. Time is short and you have very few people you can rely on in a pinch. You have decisions to make, and some very unpleasant ones at that. The kind that will haunt you the rest of your life no matter what you do. If you survive.

Can ANY one of us do any better? Really?

The diversity of opinion here, regretably, does not inspire confidence.
sad.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Sometimes you have to read twice to get one thought. There seems to be (among some of the contributors to this string) an understandable desire to venerate the memory of those who perished.

Let me say that I do not believe that the collection of rusting iron at the bottom of the Atlantic is in any way a fitting memorial to those who died with Titanic. If it were, then Ford's Theater is a monument to the greatness of Abraham Lincoln.

We save tangible objects as a way of keeping in touch with those who have passed before us. But I believe a fitting monument to Titanic's dead should be more than a pile of rust. To me, researching and explaining what really happened...instead of repeating a myth developed to protect the guilty...is one type of monument to the unfortunate victims of Titanic.

Even that's not enough. Ideally, in a perfect world, the monument to Titanic's victims would be the prevention of similar tragedies in the future. As Lincoln said, "...that these hallowed dead shall not have died in vain."

Yet, on today's news we hear of more than 80 people killed in a plane crash. And, the story is the same: people in a hurry to be someplace buy tickets on a machine operated by other people who will "crack on" no matter what. The machine hurtles at breakneck speed (despite obvious dangers and warnings) and meets its destiny.

Why would anyone want to fly during a typhoon? Why would anyone want to race into an area known to be covered with dangerous ice?

Alas, the human species appears to have learned nothing from Titanic. That's the ultimate insult to those who went down with the ship. They died teaching us a lesson about the infallibility of human endeavors and the foolishness of putting convenience over safety. Yet, despite their sacrifice, we still "crack on."

-- David G. Brown
 
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Bill DeSena

Guest
Well, well I leave the board for a few days to go play with my trains and the marlin spikes and cutlass comes out again,..tesk, tesk!

I enjoyed your essay David and it does sound like you hit it right about the how and why of the sinking. I don't know if I shared it here before but when I was in the navy myself I managed to hit 7 vessels before getting out of port and was essentailly doing what Murdoch was attempting all the time, port round them. I never got to pilot another vessel either.

May I suggest that the rest of the hot heads do like David suggests and go into a nice warm bar, listen to some good jazz, have a drink and be thankful we are here to fight over the whole mess.

Happy weekend to all, oh yes, just a word for Maureen, this gives me an idea for another experiment in the pool when the weather gets nice again. My daughter is cold as ice so I'll try to have her boyfriend ground himself on her in the pool and see how many rivets he pops when she puts her nails in his neck.

Peace

Bill
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Dear Bill, Wait. Wait. Now, Bill...you will not advise this boyfriend that you got this experimenting idea from moi and then tell him where I am are you?

BTW, Seeing you here always warms my heart kind sir!

I agree with you though, I had some lengthy assignments at work and came back and the 2000 Years War was on again here again.
Let me know Bill how it turns out.


Dear David Brown, it sounds like you wrote a great book. I plan to get it and read it. I plan to learn a great deal from it. But I must add something here regarding the triage thing.

The word "triage" used here as a method of describing what the crew did to "save people" as a methodology like triage is used in an emergecny room is inappropriate, because it is incorrect.

Triage is the act of providing a first point of contact via a medical person who asks specific questions or provides a quick and dirty medical examination to a person who can not speak for themselves to determine priortized listing of patients in order of need.

Then the examiner (person questioning the patient) performs some sort of analysis on the gathered data and then makes a recommendation to post on the medical chart and a prioritized listing is thus made by which a doctor can grab the next patient and know that person is the most critical for that moment in time.

David, I am no fighter, but it is important for you to understand, no Titanic officers nor any crew member ever set up a gathering of passengers in order to interview them to gather data regarding who was in more pressing need of being saved than anyone else.

Who would take infomration and decide that Molly Brown would be more valuable than say Mrs Allison and therefore saved.

I think what is upsetting is not that the officers had impossible tasks to handle, but that what you are saying by giving the Triage example is that there was a data gathering process performed and analysis made on the data and a very calculated decision made that Bruce Ismay was of more worth to save than any one who did die on that ship, be they man, woman or child.

A general effort to awaken folks from their beds and get them to put on their life belts and come up on deck was made by the stewards after being instructed to do so. Except for any decision regarding "women and Children first", I do not believe that there was a triage going on.

The fact that a person made a concerted effort to leave their bed and dress and go up on deck and enter a life boat offered to them as they appraoched as about as much forethought that each crewmember that filled those boats made that night regarding that person's right or quality of life that would earn them the right to be saved.

I simply feel that what you are suggesting with the use of the word "Triage" in regards to what you feel happened on board the Titanic for choosing who would be saved is not only inaccurate but highly barbaric.

I personally can not see a man like Smith even contemplating that. It would be too timeconsuming and it just simply does not seem like his style.

Sorry David, but for many reasons other than the ones that I have already mentioned ( and it has nothing to do with being "fair"), I simply think your choice of illustration leavse something to be desired.
Maureen.
 
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Susan Markowitz

Guest
Oh, my... Here I am, going AWOL again from my "appointed rounds" in order to post... If, in my haste to read the flurry of messages that were sent this afternoon/evening, please bear with me.

First off, thanks to those -- Michael, Paul, et al. -- who called for "a deep breath" and perhaps a few beers. The very power that draws us to this ship and her people makes us feel so strongly about her that sometimes we lose sight of our common purpose -- to learn and to share. IMHO, so long as respect is being shown for the subject at hand, it's important to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

My personal views of Titanic have taken a number of "hits"; yet the revised ideas proved just as fascinating. For instance, it was quite a shock to find Lightoller described in Geoffrey Marcus's "Maiden Voyage" as a "hard case" I'd always imagined him as playful, if cocky, and more jolly than Murdoch. Seems I had it backwards! Lights may have been quite the daredevil, but he does seem to have been more of a "hard case" than Murdoch -- and he proved it at the Inquiries.

To return to the thread at-hand, I, too, was taken aback upon first reading David's post. But upon rereading it and thinking about it, I realized he had a valid, if unsettling, point. At some time, those seasoned officers must have realized that not everyone could be saved, and had to factor that appalling realization into their actions, whether consciously or otherwise. I happen to believe that there were probably mistakes made -- even egregious ones -- but they did the best they could to move people quietly, and quickly, into the boats. They probably wanted to believe that the boats would then hang around to pick up the less fortunate...

IMHO, David's words were meant to convey the attitudes of those on board, and of the time, and were mistaken for his personal sentiments. I don't think any of us would prefer to think of the officers as being "elitist"; and I don't believe they were, any more than a pilot, or a doctor, or other professional would be "elitist" in wanting to concentrate on the (extremely stressful!) task-at-hand. They were a top-notch bunch, hand-picked for the assignment, and they were doing their job as best they could under horrific circumstances.

Moreover, I did not take David's closing remark to be callous or irreverent, but rather a suggestion that circumstances may have aided the officers in fulfilling that terrible duty: rather than drag reluctant souls kicking and screaming from the warmth and the music, they simply took the ones that were easiest to load.

As an aside, the news about that Singapore plane disaster "hit home" in that one dear person on ET once lived there, and another nearly flew via that airport to get here from Australia in August. As I understand it, the pilot tried to "port round" an object on the wrong runway (he missed his turn in the fog). As David said, we really haven't learned our lesson about "cracking-on", have we...?

Apologies for "length and verbosity"!
Regards to all -- Susan
 
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Bill DeSena

Guest
Hi Maureen and all,

I had the good fortune to play Colonel gracie to a nice Kate Winslet look-a-like on the train the other night, its nice to know I still have the stuff,..hehe;-)

My daughter has a derth of emotions that is really quite perplexing but all too true and she is a trail for any boy to deal with so all joking aside the idea has some basis in truth.

I agree the term triage is too clinical to desribe the misadventures of lifeboat loading and the image of people drowning to the waltz is a bit too smug as well, but has some element of halloween to it that I can let slide due to the season and the hubris that writers usually experience after a triumph with the pen. David's appraisal does bear some merit as at least another opinion about the events.

I know I hit more things when in charge of a launch in the USN than Smith or Murdoch ever dreamed of and used the steering manovers that David mentions with little success. I too was going too fast and turned to hard to port and starboard and had no control over the results, starnge though, I too only damaged the bow section of the launch like Titanic so perhaps all the science in his study of the dynamics involved in center point and such is just nice writing afterall,...shrug! But its nice to see another version offered for us to consider.

As to panic, chaos and confusion, I'm sure Michael knows a lot about that when the gedunk ran out of that stuff they called ice cream on the Ranger, its for sure he had to dog a hatch or two to keep the troops at bay,..hehe! Sorry Michael as a former SH on Ranger myself I couldn't help a little joke here.

However later in my life in Nigeria I had the oppurtunity to cause panic and confusion and loss of life that was unfortunate but neccessary to regain order in a village under attack by a band of brigands. Ordering some firing into the market place when the enemy is shooting at you will ahve some collateral casualties that sad as they are can't be avoided. The instigators of the shootout got their rewards with a quick trial and execution. It was the price I had to pay for being in command of the police unit that was sent to the region to exterminate the vermin who had been raping, looting and terrorizing peaceful farming communities for years.

Sorry for the diatribe;-)

Bill
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Another good example would be the Lusitania. I have several accounts where the water was almost at the boat deck's edge and the Captain was saying, " Don't lower the boats, don't lower the boats. The ship was alright ". In that way he was too complacent like the Titanic's crew.
Now the Lusitania was the 'Queen of the Seas' and most people knew from the moment the torpedo struck she was going down. Most of the officers were correct in trying to load every boat to full capacity and doing more than cajoling people into the boat. They used EVERY means possible. Even force. And it doesn't really matter that a certain portion of boats upended or capsized, the point is that for the most part the passengers were made aware of the enormity of the situation by most of the officers. Yes, there was panic and confusion, but it wasn't like in the old days where there were knives and guns to get at the boats. It was really who ever got a space in the boat fine, who ever didn't go to the next boat.
I have a feeling even if the officers on the Titanic were blunt about the Titanic sinking, there wouldn't have been as much panic as people think. I will quote a 1st class lady from Henry Harper's account.
" Lifeboats? What do they need of lifeboats? The ship could smash a 100 icebergs and not feel it "
 
May 12, 2005
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All,

Wait a minute. Make no mistake, the problem some of us have with what David Brown has said has less to do with our veneration for Titanic victims than our just thinking that his premise is plain absurd. Not that I don't think he's right on the money on other issues. I read the excerpt here on ET from his book and was thrilled by it. I said as much, too, being one of the first to praise the work, in fact.

But come on, this latest stuff about a kind of half-cocked neo-conspiracy on the part of Capt. Smith and his officers to facilitate the escape of the "lucky" is pure, grade "A" crapola.

Capt. Smith can be (and has been) blamed for a lot in the disaster, for the most part rightly so (i.e., the ship's excessive speed at the time of the collision, its continuing to barrel ahead even afterwards, etc), but when it comes down to the poor old guy realizing finally that his ship was in for it, I believe he did his best to make sure that all passengers were mustered, told to put on lifejackets, and to go on deck.

We now know that a sense of urgency was lacking in these preliminary orders and that they weren't carried out as thoroughly as should have been the case. I don't think it would have been at all wise to tell people there weren't enough lifeboats for a panic would have ensued but telling them that the ship would sink would not have caused a panic I think but would have instilled the necessary urgency in passengers to abandon ship and so then at least the lifeboats would have left full.

But the application of the term "triage" to this scenario implies a systematic discrimination in allowing 1st class passengers access to the boats. I am convinced there were isolated incidents of steerage people being kept back but I do not think this was sanctioned by Capt. Smith. This is why I have expressed myself strongly on the theory but I don't think I have made any accusations that aren't reasonable and certainly none I am prepared to retract.

To me David's Titanic triage-conspiracy-notion IS idiotic, IS insensitive, and IS wrong. It's also JUST MY OPINION.

I have to say though that I'm surprised that some of our mariner companions here have not been more insulted by the inference of such a diabolical plan. But we all see things differently. I just happen to find that it's an unfounded swipe at Smith and a callous view of people in general. We don't need anyone to point out to us what a difficult position Smith and his officers were in that night. We know that. But it doesn't mean they resorted to a conspiracy in their desperation. Why darken these men's names when there's really no proof for such an allegation?

I think it's a shameful thing to do.

Randy
 
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Bill DeSena

Guest
Hi Randy,

Its been awhile huh, I agree here with you after rereading the posts above. Poor old EJ, standing on the bridge watching his ship, pension and his passengers slowly slipping away must have been hard enough for the old guy without entering some neo-Darwinian survival of the fitest policy. I think the image is so laughable as not to really get so fired up over, we all know it didn't happen that way and I think David wasn't really saying it did either so let's all kiss and be friends,..OK! Oh well maybe he did but he apologized for the ruffled feathers so let's move on.

Peace
Bill
 
Dec 2, 2000
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G'Day everyone,

Randy, the reason you didn't see some of us mariners go ballistic or get overly upset is because from the lowest to the highest among us, we have been trained to take actions and make decisions which to others may appear to be downright heartless, and all for the good of the ship and the general welfare and good of everyone aboard. Sometimes, that means making some sacrifices when caught in a tight spot, vis a vis closing the door on people trapped in a burning or flooding compartment or even abandoning the injured if time is of the essence. We're taught to be mindful of the fact that even scant seconds can make the difference between losing a few people or having everybody end up as the main course for John Salachii Jaws. We know what david is talking about because some of us have been there.

Some examples: Sparks and I were both on the USS Ranger for a collision (Fortunately a minor one) and a fire that wasn't so minor because it killed six people. I was onboard that same ship when some idiot set fire to the wardroom on the 03 level. I was on one of the fire parties for that fiasco, sloshing my way through water in smoke filled spaces which were hotter then hell. My hose team tried to get up from the 02 to the 03 to beat the fire down but the heat was so intense, we were driven back. I have also taken a summer cruise through what was, for all practical intents and perposes, an unswept and shifting minefeild, vis a vis the Persian Gulf after Desert Storm. My work center was the laundry on the second deck and I was mindful of the fact that if we hit something, I would likely be one of the first to get it.

Erik Wood described a situation where his ship had an engine room fire. One where he had to shut all the doors leading down to the space and flood it with CO2 even though he knew that men trapped in the space would die. It was that or lose the ship, so he made the tough call.

I'm sure Sparks can tell you a horror story or two, and I would be very surprised if David Brown hasn't had a few rough scrapes. I hope they'll be willing to discuss their experiences so you can get a better idea of what mariners have to be ready to deal with. The use of the term "triage" was perhaps unfortunate, and I suspect he couldn't think of anything better at the time, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Bill, From one SH to another, I was lucky in that I never had to deal with that ice cream mix. S-2 had it all...and the cockroaches to prove it.

Gotta go.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks Bill and Michael.

Michael,

Your story is hair-raising. I'm glad you are with us today. I know men of the sea have to contend with situations those of us (especially me as I must confess I have never been at sea)will never have to deal with and you all have my absolute respect. Please know that.

But I always thought there was a great sense of duty to your mates (and passengers), especially in the military. I know my father (who was in Vietnam) said there was not much a soldier wouldn't endure to try and rescue an injured comrade.

It's maybe this heroic view I have (and will always have) of soldiers and sailors like my father, yourself and the other naval guys here, that makes me feel that Capt. Smith, Officer Murdoch, etc., were just too noble to consider a plan that would condemn to death the people they were suppose to protect. Maybe I'm being too romantic on this but I just can't feature these men being anything but heroes.

Randy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Randy, a lot of sailors have been through far worse then I have. I've been very fortunate in having a career that was mostly just boredom and hum drum routine...but when things got exciting, look out!

There is and always will be a lot of ambiguity surrounding a lot of events that happened on the Titanic the night,and we're all on slippery ground trying to second guess these men no matter what thoery we come up with. We all have the same chance to be equally wrong.

My own beleif was that they didn't have a plan. At least not one that was ever read by everyone who should have read it.(Recall the problem finding crewmen competant to man the boats.) Whatever plan they had of nesseccity had to be made up on the fly, and no matter what their plan was, it would condemn at least half of the people to death. It was a cold and ugly fact that they were all too aware of and one that called for some unpleasent choices.

Seamen do have a sense of duty much as what you described. At least those who make a career of it do. The ones who don't never last long and nobody misses them when they pack up their kit and go home. We would indeed try very hard to rescue an injured shipmate, but it was always instilled in us that the ship came first. It had to be that way as the survival of the ship was life itself. If that was impossible, then we had an obligation to do whatever we could to save as many lives as possible, even if that demanded some unholy sacrifices.

Smith and company found themselves in exactly that sort of situation. So is it possible that they did as David suggested?

Yes it is.

Would they have liked it?

Hell no!

But whatever their course, they did as they thought they HAD to. What they wanted was no longer relevent. They weren't monsters, but they were short of resources and time. Doing what they liked was no longer an affordable luxury. I'm just happy that I'll never have to deal with the nightmares the survivors among them had to deal with.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Dear Michael Standart,

Okay, you probably know me better than anyone on this board and I am not trying to pick a fight or anything like that...I just feel that the term triage used in the way that Brown has described here is inappropriate. Not because it is upsetting, but because it is a wrong description of what was actually going on here.

Yes, military ships have all kinds of experiences that are tough. Men live on these ships for months and go into really tough places at times. But bottomline, that is the job you are tasked to do each and every day that you are out there.

Split decisions must be made and everyone must be taken into account not just a few. Trust me, that I know about what you speak, because I too have made extremely difficult decisions based on what was good for the many and not the one! And a part of me died when I made my decision.

But this is not the navy or a war zone, this was a passenger ship carrying some very wealthy picky first class people who did not wish to get their hair mussed up. And folks were lining up a few at a time and not in any hurry to fill any life boats.

At the time of the beginning of the life boat filling, I donot believe that there was any sort of plan or decision made as to who was to be sent out and who was not. Yes, the boats were being filled, some women and children only and some with men as required, but that was the end of it. If you were standing there and were a woman or a child you got placed in a boat.

That would be a triage that merely stands as a doorman ornament at the front of a house and lets anybody pass. That is not emergency room triage.
The theatre man who takes your ticket and points to the specific theatre where your movie is being played is not performing triage. But he is alos not performing triage if the building begins to burn and he points the way out of the building in a form of rescue. But he would be performing triage if when out of the building, he looked over the passengers and priortized their trips in the ambulance. The crew did not do this on board Titanic. Triage used here is wrong.

Once in the water with the collapsible boat that had overturned and was carrying men on it, I believe that they at some point performed triage to discard the dead and pull up onto the boat those who could be saved.

But I am willing to agree to disagree here and go on.
Maureen.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G’day, Suze —

Don’t let your views of Lightoller’s personality take too much of a hit from Marcus’s description of him as a ‘hard case’. I don’t think Marcus intended to suggest the he wasn’t ‘playful, if cocky’, but rather that his powers of endurance and ‘toughness’ had been honed by his experience. Accounts I’ve heard confirm that he was very congenial company, and was remembered for it. One person I spoke with remembered his ‘cheerfullness’ as his outstanding characteristic, although there was always a degree of command (both of himself and those around him) that came with his career. I believe Murdoch was his equal in that regard, however. Both men had a personal charm that was long remembered, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t an element of physical and mental toughness to the make up of their character. James Moody, universally remembered as a bright, good humoured, mischievous and outgoing young man, was in his own way just as tenacious and tough as Harold Lowe. They wouldn’t have not only survived but thrived in their chosen career if they didn’t have a degree of endurance and ‘hardness’ in their nature, either innate, acquired, or some combination of the two.

I only just read this thread from start to finish, and I have to say I’m inclined to think that there’s a good deal of power in David’s arguments. He’s right — the maths were brutal, whichever way you look at it. How does one ever decide who has to live and who dies? There is no such thing as a ‘fair’ way under those circumstances. People were going to die, no matter what course of action was followed. But those decisions had to be made, whether as part of a conscious plan or on the fly. I certainly don’t think it’s a slur on the Titanic’s officers that they had to make such a decision — ideally they would most certainly never have been in a position where they had to make determinations of life and death, but (as David said), they were past such a point — the decisions that got them there had already been made, and they had to address the consequences as best they could.

Ideally, as Conrad pointed out, ‘the order to leave the ship should be an order of the sternest character, to be obeyed unquestioningly and promptly by everyone on board, with men enough to enforce it at once, and to carry it out methodically and swiftly’. But what do you do when everyone on board, because of insufficient life boat provision cannot leave at once… or at all? And when there aren’t enough people with the training to enforce the order? When the passengers haven’t been drilled in how to ‘leave at once’? When the decision that got you to that situation have all already been made, there’s little left to do other than deal with what you have to deal with, even if that is brutal and ugly.

Inger
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Mo, and I think you hit on the real injustice of the whole affair. Namely that the passangers weren't trained to deal with this sort of crisis and had no expectation that they would need it. They certainly didn't ask for the crew to strike ice. They booked passage to the U.S. on the reasonable expectation that the shipping line they paid to do the job would get all of them there.

Unfortunately, striking ice was exactly what happened and sinking followed in short order. Smith and Co. had choices to make and very few options to play with. So few that it just no longer made a difference whether the passangers were military or civilian mariners who knew and understood the risks that came with the game.

As I said, Triage is an unfortunate choice of words, and inaccurate, but David was likely at a loss for something better. It happens to all of us, which is why I'm not going to fixate on it.

In re plans; I'm sure there was something on paper somewhere, but I doubt that everybody who should have known about it and read it actually troubled themselves to do so. Thus, they had to do the best they could with what they had...which wasn't enough...and which they could do nothing about.

And the North Atlantic didn't care.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Nathan Heddle

Guest
Hey everybody,

I think a lot of sense has been written here since I last left a message. I don't want to go in and start on an arguement that is days old now, suffice to say that triage is a really cold word, and really out of pure interest who were those in point 3, those who were going to die anyway. I assumed everyone had a equal chance.

You seem to have contradicted yourself David. At first you say only the lucky and the smart get off the ship (oh those poor stupid people), then you say that there were those who were predestined to die anyway. I assume no ammount of intelliegence was going to save them, then you say that it was the decision of the top four officers who lived an died. Really which one is it.

I would suggest option (d) none of the above. There was no predestined fate for some, the officers were never choosing the occupants of the boats, nor was it EVER a combination of luck or smarts, it was just what happened.

The officers were undertrained and not equipped to deal with the situtaion, and the passengers as Michael said weren't equipped either.

It is a serious tragedy, no more no less.

nathan

PS Sorry I seem to have argued further.
 

Tracy Smith

Member
Apr 20, 2012
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South Carolina USA
Essentially, children of both genders should have come before any adult. They could not make decisions for themselves.

Women were adults who could make their own decision. It was not only hysteria that caused a woman to refuse a seat in a lifeboat. Heroism was seen in some women that night as well. Ida Straus would not leave her husband and, with her firm, quiet dignity, no one was about to force her. She was a rational adult who had made a rational decision. She gave up her seat to a younger person with their entire lives ahead of them and out of love for Isidor: "We started together, and, if need be, we'll finish together".

Also, another women (Edith Evans? Correct me if I'm wrong) gave up her seat to another woman because the other woman was married and had a family.

And, as far as I'm concerned, Mr Navratil should have been allowed to accompany his boys in the lifeboat. So far as anyone in the crew knew, he was a single parent and by separating him from his boys, would have made them orphans. Happily, this wasn't the case, but you get the principle here. At any rate, Navratil deserved the seat more than Ismay did.