One more question about Lowe

  • Thread starter Ksenia Grigorieva
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Ksenia Grigorieva

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Dear Ms. Sheil (oh can I call you Inger?),

my congratulations and great thanks for your research of Harold Lowe's life and career. It's really the TITANIC work that was performed by you in order to get and publish on this site lots of information about this man who was IMHO the real hero of Titanic.
OK, I'll try to be shorter in my speech
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The deal is I'm also interested in Lowe's family story. So the question I'd like to ask is about your future plans of publishing the Lowe family store. Will the story of Lowe's wife appear on this site? Or you plan even to write a book about Lowe family and publish it?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo Ksenia -

Certainly, please do call me Inger (we're very informal on this site!) Hope you don't mind me calling you Ksenia.

I am working with my collaborator, Kerri Sundberg, to finish up the work on our manuscript, a biography of Harold Lowe. We're hoping to find a mainstream or specialist publisher. We're not releasing too much of our information about Lowe or his family, including Ellen Marian Lowe, before publication, but I may upload a few bits and pieces to the ET site now that Phil has installed his excellent new 'instant upload'.

Thank you for your kind words - I'll keep you and the ET Board updated on our progress.

Regards,

Inger
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Hello again, Inger! Once again, you are able to come up with specific information to direct me along the proper course! Many thanks!
I was aware that Lowe had a "bit of a problem" with an "Italian = coward" attitude/verbalization, and had to do some quick back-pedaling. I've also heard there was some annoyance with monies he received for his story. Was that why he was demoted and sent on Australian runs? My understanding is that he served in the Royal Navy through the course of WWI, and was then "released". Was he subsequently kept on British lines, or hired on another? Perhaps we should transfer this to the Harold Lowe thread. Thanks again, Inger!

Aside #1: I am no expert in British dialects by any means! (Although I'm pretty good at determining regions of the U.S. by accents). Some of us Yanks can distinguish Scot from Irish from York (rrrrr) from Cockney from the Queen's Proper English - but that's pretty basic stuff. I didn't even realize that Cameron's Lowe was speaking with a Welsh dialect! I could have sworn that E. Rex was "waving" right behind him! (My Rhys and Llewellyn ancestors must be rolling in their graves!)

Aside #2: Done any diving lately? I'm going to Playacar, Mexico, for 10 days this December, for some non-tourist diving along the Palancar Reef.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day there Mary -

There was, as far as I'm aware, never any backlash as a result of Lowe's 'Italian' remarks after he issued his retraction. The post on the Medic as Third didn't really count as a demotion - she was a good ship on the run, and certainly a step up from his pre-Titanic ship. Not as as distinguished as the Titanic, but she was a fine vessel with a good reputation. The suggestion was made that the WSL didn't so much want to get him out of the way because he was a problem, but rather to provide him with a chance to escape all the media attention and 'lionising' (which was the word used).

Lowe never took money for his story (perhaps you're thinking of Harold Bride here, who was paid for his NYT exclusive?). Indeed, when one survivor, Rene Harris, tried to induce him on two seperate occasions to take a monetary reward for his actions on the night of the sinking, he flatly and emphatically refused to take the money, stating that he felt he had only done his duty. Nor did he tell his story to the wider public via the media, beyond his sworn testimony and a few curt remarks to newspapers (which did not deal with the events of the sinking itself). He did refer to it in private correspondence when approached and made brief references to it in at least two presentation ceremonies given in his honour, but the topic was painful to him.

He served during the War, and then returned to IMM (predominantly WSL ships, with only a couple of exceptions) for the remainder of his career. Interestingly enough, the WSL once held a ceremony to honour him for certain contributions he made - but that's another story!

I'd love to do some diving! I have to admit I've got the itch again - badly! I've always wanted to go diving in Baja, but at the moment am thinking of looking towards a diving liveaboard in the Coral Sea or even (in spite of the political situation) the Solomons.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Thanks, Inger - good move! You're making my impression of Harold Lowe more and more attractive! I guess I had assumed that IMM/WSL had "dropped" him. I know that he continued to do Britain-NY runs after WWI, but thought they were made on non-British lines. I also thought that there were some pretty serious ramifications and accusations from the then-Italian-American community in the NY area. (Racking brain to remember where I read this). Thanks for the clarification, and thanks - as ever - for the accurate information! You are the best!

Aside: IF I were you...you may want to re-consider diving off of Baja (Pacific side of Mexico) in favor the Gulf (Palancar) side. Cozumel is a great stopping-off point, but better diving may be found off of Belize. Baja (Cabo San Lucas) is a VERY expensive condo-and-golf-laden area of the southern Baja peninsula. Whale (grey)-watching and deep sea fishing are much more of a thing than diving. BTW - some of the WORST diving I ever did was off of Kauai, Hawaii. Think "touristy". My first trip to Fiji was right in the middle of a "coup"...basically 5 locals versus 5 East Indians, but that's another LONG story. Our second trip was a bit more expensive, with us being the only Yanks in the midst of Aussies and Kiwis - and one Canadian. We loved both visits, and loved diving along the Coral Coast! More on my thoughts of Fiji, and to heck with Capt. Cook! As far as the Solomons go, keep in mind that "current" toubles may very well be restricted to government houses, and the prices may be very good. Just MHO.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Lowe was approached by the Italian Embassy in DC to modify his statement regarding 'Italians' who were going to rush the boats, hence the retraction I referred to above, which was witnessed by the Italian Ambassador. Both men asked for it to go into the record of the inquiry. Perhaps surprisingly, given more recent interest in this exchange, there was comparatively little media interest in the retraction at the time. Most media of the media focus on Lowe's testimony centered around his admonishment of Ismay, his indignant response to the allegation that he had been drinking, and the firing of his gun during the lowering of Boat 14 (the last point leading to fairly widespread reporting of the original 'Italian' remark that prompted the Embassy's action). When Daisy Minahan's affidvit was submitted there was some focus on his use of language, with newspaper editorials and letters to the editor in his defence. The Italians had been singled out in other testimony and accounts (in spite of the fact that there were so few aboard), so while Lowe - a high profile witness - was the one who was tackled over this particular canard and who had to address it publicly, after he did so there do not seem to have been further repercussions for him.

Thanks for the tip-off on Baja! I've had no first-hand experience with the area at all, although I've heard raves about Belize. I'd had Baja recommended to me for big critters, same with Kauai, but not a good move? I usually do liveaboards - don't go much for shoreside diving if I'm on hols, although I do more local diving in between the tropical trips. Fiji is another one under consideration, as I've never been there either and have heard that the soft coral is fantastic. Word from the Solomon Islands expat community is that, in spite of the need to send in an Aussie police force, the diving hasn't been affected. Ashore, Honiara is fine during the day, but perhaps you need to watch out at night. I'd love to do the Spirit of the Solomons or Bilikiki liveaboards again - it would be revisiting the same dive boat, but not necessarily the same area and it was a stunning trip, worth repeating, anyway. Papua New Guinea and the Paradisesport are another possibility - same sort of diving as the Solomons. Or perhaps just another fantastic trip on one of Mike Ball's Barrier Reef/Coral Sea vessels - first diving liveaboard I was ever on was the Spoilsport. Wouldn't mind trying an Agressor boat either - I did a Peter Hughes vessel, the Sundancer II, in Palau. Great crew, but wasn't quite as impressed with the diving there as I thought I would be. We did Blue Corner on a good day - current was turned on, lots of sharks etc - but over all, while the boat was excellent and the diving good, I thought it was getting a wee bit over-dived.
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
"Big Critters" are whales. (Grey off of Baja, Sperm and Humpback off of Hawaii). Now, personally, I have no desire to be diving near ANY multi-ton mammal, especially during mating, migrating, or birthing season! But...that's just me. Braveheart I'm not..(although I do know about woad and Picts.) That scene in "Castaway" where a baleen whale surfaces close to Hanks' teeny-weeny raft and winks at him - good computerizing and bad reality! I just thought that my Kauai dives were too commercialized. Walk-in diving on Hanalei Bay, cloudy water, few fish, and the dreaded wetsuit! (I really hate wetsuits). I envy you your "liveaboards", as I've not been able to do that, other than to spend a few weeks each summer aboard a passenger-oriented schooner that booked diving trips for me. The closest I've come to that was spending a couple of weeks each at biological/marine stations onshore in Costa Rica (Marenco - Osa Peninsula) and Belize (WeeWee Caye - just offshore). Rustic accommodations, great food, excellent orientations, and better diving off of Gulf Belize than Pacific Costa Rica. Great diving off of Salt Cay in the BVI - the wreck of the Roan, and off of Norman Island. Besides Hawaii, worst diving off of Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Planted anchors and starfish for your underwater camera pleasure! That anchor and starfish have been there for years, and an unknown diver spreads handfuls of kibble to attract flocks of tropical fish (and the cruise lines love it! They rake in plenty of bucks for the tourists!) Also good diving off of Grand Cayman IF you know where to go. You're South Pacific. I'm Caribbean/Gulf. Sigh. I really want to be South Pacific! Now, I just need to let you know that my sails and adventures with Aussies, Kiwis, and South Africans have allowed me to say, "Now, that's a cute cosi you're wearing"!

Oh, wait! I'm off-topic again!

Back to a Harold Lowe question: Since IMM/WSL was effectively AMERICAN owned in 1912 (J.P. Morgan survived the Titanic sinking by basically not going), did this affect Lowe's future England-to-New York runs? Had WSL remained in British ownership (notwithstanding the Ismay influence), would Lowe have had a different fate?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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G'day Mary!

I don't think the American ownership affected the daily running of the company down to the selection, allocation and advancement of her officers. The officers were British, and the men who determined who went where were British as well. Lowe himself identified one man in particular who had that sort of influence over their careers, determining who went to what ship and where promotions lay, and correspondence I've seen from another officer confirms this role for him.

Ooooo - critters don't need to be that big! Although I wouldn't say no (among many diving ambitions I one day want to take the plunge into Puget Sound with Orcas, and I've been tossing up going to Ningaloo Reef for the Whale Sharks for a few years now), I was thinking more nice big pelagic sharks and mantas. Wetsuits I don't mind if I'm diving local temperate water conditions, but on holiday, I like just a simple lycra diveskin. I'm hypersensitive to hydroids, jellyfish etc in the water, even near invisible/plankton, unfortunately. First trip to the Barrier Reef and you trace the lovely long tentacle marks on my legs, because I was wearing a shortie. I'm also one of the few people who got a 'tingle' from the supposedly 'stingless' jellyfish in Palau's marine lakes. What's the word on more off-shore diving in Hawaii? The Kona Aggressor for example? I prefer liveaboards as they get you away from the touro areas - I'm most absurdly pleased when I don't have to see another diveboat, or any other boat save islander canoes, the entire time I'm away. With one exception - I did a few two-tank diveboats from the Manta Ray Bay Hotel in Yap, and these were sensational...mantas in the morning, and reefs in the afternoon. Didn't get to sample any of their wall diving, unfortunately. I love the idea of spending time in a research station and envy you that - have always been tempted to sign up for one of them. Rustic living is no obstacle if the diving is good! Must ask some of my sister's WWF colleagues if they'll take along an enthusiastic amateur who will pay her own way (as soon as she can save the money...). No planted starfish and anchors or floundering openwater C-card holders blundering into the bleached coral by preference...a lovely remote reef reachable only by liveaboard, with nothing visible above water and the top of the bommie some five metres below the surface, swept by currents. Yum! Yah - does anyone else use the word 'cosi' or 'cossie' but the Antipodeans? Or take you out in a 'rubber duckie' as a dive tender?
 
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Mary S. Lynn

Guest
Ditto the lone diveship! Nice, secluded reefs with nary another soul for miles around. That's why Fiji was so great. I just looked up the Kona Aggressor - you can probably get the same info. on a website. This 70' catamaran does 7-day sails Sat. to Sat., with 5.5 days of diving...off of the Big Island (includes lava tube diving). The cost for a quad rate is $1795 USD (yikes!) with no air. Those Orcas are best seen in the San Juan islands (or Sea World), and can be pretty aggressive, too. (They play "toss" with baby seals!) C-O-L-D water! You dive, I'll watch! (Coward that I am). I've done a couple of wall dives, but only down to about 80' or so. Sensitive ears! First heard about "cosi/cossi" from some South African passengers, and they explained that it meant "costume" - as in bathing. Our purser and Captain were both from New Zealand, and they referred to it as well. Must be a Southern Hemisphere thing, as we just use "bathing suits" and rubber dinghies" up here! I shamefully admit that I paid good tourist money to swim with giant stingrays off of Grand Cayman. It was actually fun - in a masochistic sort of way - to feed them squid and have your hand sucked into their vacuum-cleaner mouths while they wrapped themselves around your legs!
No Lowe question this time around, as I am now reading Beesley. Thanks, Inger!
 

Samuel Liu

Member
Dec 10, 2005
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Harold Lowe seemed like a hero. he went back to rescue the people who sank with the ship and found 4 survivors.


God bless him
 
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Yan V Ivania

Guest
DON'T YOU THINK THAT HE ALSO WAS A HYPOCRITE? He kicked out a young guy from the boat ( where about 15 seats were left) and then took a male passenger ( Williams) to help rowing.
PS. I still think that Lowe is an awesome guy, no doubt about it.