Men who survived


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Mia Lewis

Guest
Hi everyone, I was just reading the bio's on some first class passengers and I came accross Bertha and Norman Campbell Chambers. Norman Campbell Chambers survived the sinking in lifeboat 5 with his wife. My question is why did Ismay get so much crap from everyone for getting into a boat, but no other man that was saved did? And how did these men get into the boats when the officers were only letting women and children on? The men who made it on to a boat were extremely lucky and I just dont understand why Ismay was repremanded, but no other men were. This might not be an easily answered question, but any insight or opinions would be appreciated! Thank you...Layla
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Hallo Mia -

Boat 5 was one of the forward starboard boats, one of the earliest launched. It was loaded by Murdoch and Lowe, who at that point were allowing men in the boats (particularly when there were no more women or children in the vicinity). Women and children only (as opposed to women and children first) was not universally applied - it was more stringent on the port side and towards the end of the night, but Murdoch tended to be more flexible in the boats he loaded. If you look at the occupants of the forward starboard boats you'll find quite a few male survivors.

Ismay had a higher profile due to his role in the White Star Line, but he was not the only male survivor to be criticised. Even many years later, Irene 'Rene' Harris made a comment in a Liberty magazine article that few men were saved honourably (she was suggesting that Hoyt, picked up by Collapsible D, was one of these few). Peuchen even anticipated a negative reaction to his survival, and asked Lightoller when they were aboard the Carpathia to write a note explaining how he (Peuchen) came to survive in order to counter possible suggestions of cowardice.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>My question is why did Ismay get so much crap from everyone for getting into a boat, but no other man that was saved did?<<

Because he was the Chairman of the board, the representative of the ship's owners, and also because he had an enemy in the person of William Randolph Hearst who saw this as a heaven sent opportunity to rake him over the coals and had the power of printing press to do it.

>>The men who made it on to a boat were extremely lucky and I just dont understand why Ismay was repremanded, but no other men were.<<

As a matter of fact, some did suffer a stigma from it. Mr. Masabumi Hosono was one of them. Click on The Last of The Last for a good article on that.
 
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Mia Lewis

Guest
Thank you both for your responses. Its just sad that people would criticise anyone for surviving that awful night. Their lives should be celebrated instead of resented. I dont think that would be the case if something that tragic were to happen today. So many people died that night that didnt have to. I guess it was just their time to go. Do you think that Murdoch, had he survived would have been in "trouble" for letting men on? What would have been his punishment..if any?? I say "trouble" for lack of a better word. I think this topic has been discussed before, but who's bright idea was it to say women and children first?

Thanks ...
Layla
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Do you think that Murdoch, had he survived would have been in "trouble" for letting men on?<<

No. He would have been in trouble for hitting the iceberg and sinking the ship, as would Captain Smith. While I don't know if criminal charges would have been preferred, but it's a virtual certainty that they could have kissed their certificates and careers good-bye.

Women and children first was pretty much understood as the accepted convention of the day. As I understand it, it was reccommended by one of the officers and Captain Smith gave the order to make it happen that way.
 
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Cornelius Thiessen

Guest
Another male passenger that the"rescued" light did'nt shine too favorably upon was Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon.
 
Jun 20, 2004
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That's right, although I wonder if maybe Sir Cosmo would have been treated differently if Lifeboat No.1 had of gone back to look for survivors. He wouldn't of been accused of bribing the crew not to go back, although in regards to that I guess we'll never really know if it was a bribe or not, will we?
 
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>>although in regards to that I guess we'll never really know if it was a bribe or not, will we?<<

As a matter of fact, we have a very good evidence that Sir Cosmo didn't bribe anyone, though he did offer to give the crew in his boat five pounds sterling each when one of them mentioned that all their kit went down with the ship. There's been a lot made out of the conduct of Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon and most of it is little more then steaming and smelly bovine excrement put forward by a hostile press.

Now, if you wish to get their side of the story, I can think of no better source then their own sworn testimony befor the Mersey Wreck Commission. Just click on the links below for the actual transcripts;

Lady Duff-Gordon
Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon Day 10
Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon Day 11
 
Feb 6, 2004
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I realize this was a far different time, but I do wonder if something as horrific occurred in similar circumstances today, if women would be given preferential treatment over men.
 
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It would depend on whether or not the crew could keep order, or if they even bothered to stay with the ship. It's not unknown for the crew to take to the boats and leave the passengers to their own devices. Two examples where this happened are the Yarmouth Castle fire and the loss of the Oceanos.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Difficult hypothetical - and some recent sinkings don't inspire too much confidence, as Michael suggests. I'd rather see those less able to take care of themselves or necessary as caretakers, e.g. the very young and the elderly, loaded first, as many women today are as fit and athletic as their male counterparts, but I doubt very much that selection would be along those lines. In an orderly evacuation it would be done according to the drill. In a disorderly evacuation, all bets are off.
 
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"...we'll never really know if it was a bribe or not, will we?..."

You are right that people will go on speculating about it but that's only because of the huge injustice done to the Duff Gordons by the media, both in America and Britain. All that sensational coverage gets trumped up anew in books and the reading public is served the thrill of sniffing out a scandal.

But there is no proof whatever of a bribe. I think the testimony reveals there is really no grounds for the accusation apart from hearsay.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Personally, I find the whole notion of a bribe problematic to say thew least. I mean...who do you bribe? Murdoch? He had little if any reason to expect to see the sunrise so what value does money have for a man who expects to be dead?

The boat crew? They needed no incentive to not go back and they were hardly the only ones to keep a distance. They had plenty of company. Who would one bribe?
 
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Perhaps there is not enough conclusive evidence to support the bribe theory, but one thing I do know is that Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon certainly had to have had a say in whether or not lifeboat 1 should return to the scene of the wreck.

In Judith B. Geller's book, "Titanic: Women and Children First," the author discusses how Lady Duff-Gordon had claimed (apparently in her testimony at the British Inquiry into the Titanic) that she heard no screams. However, the author points out that Lady Duff-Gordon, in her autobiography, Discretions and Indiscretions, apparently wrote that she had heard screams. It therefore seems apparent that, despite some contradictions, there must have been something going on in lifeboat 1 on that fateful morning. What exactly was said and done perhaps cannot be fully uncovered.
 
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>>but one thing I do know is that Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon certainly had to have had a say in whether or not lifeboat 1 should return to the scene of the wreck.<<

Fair enough, only I have to wonder why this is a point. Lady-Duff Gordon's concerns about going back were hardly unique to her. Others had the same fears...in other boats yet...and IMO, justifiably so. Rowing an open boat into a screaming mob in the middle of the North Atlantic in the middle of the night is not a good idea.

>>In Judith B. Geller's book, "Titanic: Women and Children First," the author discusses how Lady Duff-Gordon had claimed (apparently in her testimony at the British Inquiry into the Titanic) that she heard no screams<<

Not exactly. She indicated that she heard cries befor the ship sank, but silence afterwards. Her verbatim testimony is as follows;

12906. I will put to you definitely what is said with reference to yourself. Did you hear after the "Titanic" had sunk the cries of the people who were drowning? - No; after the "Titanic" sank I never heard a cry.

12907. You never heard anything? - No, not after the "Titanic" sank.

12908. Did not you hear cries at all? - Yes, before she sank; terrible cries.

12909. Before she sank? - Yes.

12910. Did you see her sink? - I did.

12911. You mean you heard nothing at all after that? - My impression was that there was absolute silence.
 

Paul Lee

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In a letter that was auctioned in the mid 1980s, Miss Francatelli, Duff-Gordon's maid, related how she heard screams from the people in the water.

Cheers

Paul

 
Dec 4, 1998
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Paul,

Thank you for posting that information in this discussion. Laura Francatelli's letter is key as it points out the undeniable cries of the victims from the *waters*, whereas Lady Duff-Gordon at first claimed she heard the cries from the people on board the ship, not when they were in the waters after the ship had sunk.

My original point was how Judith Geller points out that Lady Duff-Gordon, in her autobiography, stated that she heard people crying from the waters, and how that contradicts what she had to say in her testimony to the British Inquiry; she said, "No; after the Titanic sank I never heard a cry".

Michael, the point I was desiring to make had nothing to do with going back to save people in the waters and the possibility of them swamping the lifeboat (which, I am sure, had the members aboard lifeboat 1 decided to return, depending on their distance, it would have probably been too late, since it did not take long for the people in the waters to freeze or drown). My point was that, had a debate taken place in lifeboat 1, Lucile would have had a say as to whether or not they should return, and I am certain it was a good-decided "no." I was making this statement only in referring to whether or not Sir Cosmo had bribed anyone. Conclusively we cannot be sure if he did this, but it is clear that lifeboat 1 decided NOT to return. This is my point.
 
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Mia Lewis

Guest
This question is for everyone... if you were in a boat and your loved ones were in the water pleading for the return of the boats, what would you do? Knowing that they could swamp the boat, but that you also might save at least one or two people. I personally would have gone back...of course I say that now not ever having been in that situation (thank god) Just curious as to what y'all would do and how many people I would have to convince to return the boats.

Thanks! Layla
 
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Cornelius Thiessen

Guest
Hi Mia,I've never been in a ship wreck, in fact I've never been on a ship,but I experienced a sort of similar tragedy. In 1981 as a lad of 17 years old I witnessed my older brother drown.My brother and myself were the only two people there.When I saw what was happening I did'nt even realize it but I dove in the water and tried to rescue him, it was human instinct taking over in my case, come hell or high water I was going to save him.Unfortunately I could not.This is why I have such a hard time fathoming why more lifeboats did'nt go back, but perhaps not all people have that instinct in them.There seems to have been almost an every man for himself mentality that night
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Jul 9, 2000
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>> My point was that, had a debate taken place in lifeboat 1, Lucile would have had a say as to whether or not they should return,<<

But was there in fact a debate at all? That's the question that goes begging here.

>>and I am certain it was a good-decided "no." <<

Which would differ from the conduct of most of the other boats how?

>>I was making this statement only in referring to whether or not Sir Cosmo had bribed anyone.<<

Again, who would he have bribed? That offer of a fiver had nothing to do with not going back. It had everything to do with one of the crew in that boat commenting that all their kit had gone down with the ship. The offer may have been ill timed, but I don't think a five pound note really meant an awful lot to Sir Cosmo. To the crew, I'm sure it was well recieved.

>>Conclusively we cannot be sure if he did this,<<

Quite right. We can't be and I'm not about to pillory anybody on dubious evidence.

>> but it is clear that lifeboat 1 decided NOT to return. This is my point.<<

Which differs from the way the other boats responded...how?
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Guess what....it doesn't. Yet a lot is made out of that above and beyond the norm for anyone else, and for no readily good reason other then to bash a couple of people who were indescreet enough to be contemporary celebrities. That's my point.

>>This question is for everyone... if you were in a boat and your loved ones were in the water pleading for the return of the boats, what would you do? Knowing that they could swamp the boat, but that you also might save at least one or two people. I personally would have gone back...<<

I would not...at least not immidiately. I'd wait until things were more manageable. Remember where they were, Mia...the middle of the North Atlantic, drifting on freezing water, and with way more people to try and fish out then they could possibly save. All they had was their boats, some frightened passengers, and precious little in the way of resources and an uncertain prospect of immidiate rescue. The crews of those boats were responsible for the safety of the ones they could save, not the ones that they couldn't. It doesn't do you a lot of good to try and save a few more only to get yourself and everybody else killed in the bargain and with over 1500 desperate souls thrashing about, this was a very real possibility.

I'm sorry if this seems cold blooded, but the sea often forces some inhumanly cruel choices on those who go out there, especially in a crisis, and it doesn't forgive mistakes. Often the only choices you have available are which options produce the fewest corpses. A real world Devil's Alternative! Screw up out there, and you're dead.

It's really just that simple.
 

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