Roger Lightoller's Birthdate

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Cassandra Crowther

Guest
I am doing a research project on the Lightollers just for personal interest and wondered if anyone knows the birthdates of his children, especially Roger?
 
M

Mike Herbold

Member
Cassandra:
Can't give you a definitive answer, but I can confuse you a bit.
From "The Odyssey of C.H. Lightoller" (1984), and "Titanic Voyager, The Odyssey of C.H. Lightoller" (1998), which are basically the same book by Patrick Stenson comes the following paragraph:

In 1907 the decision was taken by the White Star Line to open up a new route to New York from Southampton to be more conveniently placed for London, the South-East and the continental ports. This would become the principal New York service and be operated by the company's best and fastest vessels. The route included calls at Cherbourg and Queenstown.

Note the year 1907. In the very next paragraph of 'Odyssey', Stenson writes:

The change of base for the Oceanic meant a move for Lightoller, as the family, which now included a three-year-old son Roger and a second child on the way....

In the same next paragraph from 'Voyager', it reads:

The change of base for the Oceanic meant a move for Lightoller, as the family, which now included a one-year-old son Roger and a second child on the way....

So, he was probably born in 1904 or 1906. Since Charles and Sylvia were married on December 15th 1903, I would guess the year 1906 was correct, and the 'Odyssey' version was a typographical error that was corrected in 'Voyager'.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
My colleague, Dr Monika Simon, has most of the birth/marriage/death certificates pertaining to the Lightoller family...I usually consult her in times of need. She's based back in Germany now, and I don't know if she's unpacked her rather vast volume of research. Offhand, I believe his age was recorded as 38 years old when he died on 9 March 1945 - that puts his D.O.B. circa 1906-07, but Moni would have the correct dates.

What's your research project, Cassandra? Something on Dunkirk? Are you undertaking it for yourself or on behalf of someone else?
 
C

Cassandra Crowther

Guest
Just for my own research. Mr. Lightoller seems to be the most fascinating member of the officer corps-- but then, he's also the one who seems to be the one most is written about.
 
D

Des Massie

Guest
I'm pretty sure he was born in 1906. Probably in the earlier part of the year.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
I'll drop Monika a line about it next time I email her - she has a much better number recollection than I do, and would probably be able to give the precise date off the top of her head.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Okay...not a definitive answer, as Moni has yet to order in all the certificates (expensive suckers that they are - £6.50 a pop!). She has, however, noted down the quarters in which the births were registered so she can order them at some point in the future. I might call them up if I'm feeling particularly flush with cash the next time I'm out at the FRC (i.e. if I visit the day after I get paid):

Frederic Roger. Oct-Dec 1906
Richard Trevor 28 April 1908
Herbert Brian Jan-Mar 1918
 
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sharon rutman

Guest
I have some "Roger" facts that everyone might find interesting. Many years ago I corresponded with Commander Lightoller's niece while researching her famous uncle and she sent me a five letters Lightoller wrote to her family. From what i gather, Lightoller seemed to favor Roger above all his children. It was Roger, after all who accompanied his father aboard the Sundowner to Dunkirk, dodging the Nazis every step of the way to bring l30 soldiers back home to Ramsgate. Lightoller was effusive in praising Roger's performance--he said that Roger was splendid even though it had been his first time under fire and the first time was always the worst. Also Roger was married--Lightoller makes reference to "Marcia" and although Lightoller was maddenly skimpy on details, he proudly told Sylvia's family in the United States that he just became a grandfather saying in an August letter "Marcia's baby came last night." So sadly, Roger left behind a widow and a baby when he was killed at the end of the war. Also, isn't it strange that the Lightollers never used their first names--always the middle names were important. Although Lightoller's first name was Charles, he never, ever went by that name. It was either Herbert, Bertie or the moniker Lights.

Hope this is helpful. Please feel free to contact me for Lightoller gossip.
 
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Pat Winship

Member
Not so strange to me, Sharon-- My husband's family follows that naming custom also when it comes to the first-born sons. So my one chick is Richard Donald, but is called Donald.

I would be interested in corresponding on Lightoller, since my interest in Titanic developed from an interest in him, rather than the other way 'round.

Pat Winship
 
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sharon rutman

Guest
That is a naming custom I never heard of before. Also remember Lightoller had two daughters as well--Mavis and Claire(or Doreen--used interchangeably). Also another bit of irony--Lightoller's grandson from Trevor also followed in the proud naval tradition--as a submarine officer. CH Lightoller detested submarines passionately because it offended his sense of fair play to have the enemy slink beneath the waves waiting for its helpless prey.
 
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Pat Winship

Member
Yes, I was amused at that. Patrick Stenson also commented on it in Titanic Voyager. I suspect that Lights would have managed to excuse his grandkid, however. In an earlier post on this website, I commented that one of Lightoller's most striking personal characteristics, as shown in his autobiography was that he could forgive most people. The most notable exceptions were German submarine skippers and Senator William Alden Smith.

Tell me, what do you think of his exploit with the destroyer Garry, bringing her all the way home, running stern-first, after he rammed the German submarine twice? Was it an act of exceeptional courage, or an act of exceptional showing off? He could have made a number of nearer ports, but he held out, and brought her all the way to Dover.

Pat W
 
Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith

Member
Forgive me if I seem dense, but what was his grudge against Senator Smith about?
 
JHPravatiner

JHPravatiner

Member
I thought he seemed more annoyed with Scanlan of the British Inquiry myself...he claims they still came out of it "very good friends", which is probably just a tad of hyperbole on Lights' part.

Excepting the ill-fated mutiny (and one wonders if the other three officers truly did join that crusade as he said...hmmm), he seemed mainly indifferent to Smith IMHO. It was Harold Lowe who was at odds with the Senator, whereas at the British Inquiry he seemed settled and polite. Go figure.

Tracy--
I know of no actual "grudge" between Lightoller and the Senator, only of the incident where Lights kicked up a fuss claiming that the officers (but maybe only himself?) had declared they wouldn't be quartered with the common sailors and demanded segregated quarters. But then, I'm nobody's expert on the guy or the incident...anyone have light to shed here?
 
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Pat Winship

Member
Hi, Tracy!

Lightoller considered the American Inquiry to be an indignity committed upon himself, the rest of the surviving crew of the Titanic, and the White Star Line. He was annoyed by what he considered to be the stupidity and disorganization of Senator Smith's questioning. In fact, I think he felt that the whole American inquiry did not need to happen in the first place; that all it was for was to give Senator Smith a chance to show off at the expense of himeself, his colleagues, and his employer. In other words Senator Smith got in his face, and on his one good nerve in front of a whole lot of people, at an especially bad time, when all Lightoller could do was grit his teeth, give nice terse answers, and put up with it. I've always seen the incident with the separate hotel accommodations for the officers and the crew as Lights' way of hitting back at Senator Smith in the only way he could. The Senator was making trouble for him, and he was going to return the favor personally.

It wasn't exactly a grudge... but he certainly couldn't find a kind word to say about Senator Smith in Titanic and Other Ships-- as he did about Thomas Scanlan, and the infamous Captain William "Bully" Waters, and several others who had not treated him especially kindly.

Pat W.
 
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