Survivors' suicides


Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Although Lightoller dealt publically very well emotionally with the disaster - even stressing this point in his Christian Science Article - I've always thought that the incident after the Tennis party at Netley Abbey sounded like a classic PTSD flashback.

Inger
 
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Scott Blair

Guest
Joe,

In summer 1913 there was a tennis party at Nikko Lodge,the Lightoller home at Netley Abbey.

Lightoller left the game and went inside to cool off.

He did not reappear and after an hour his wife went in to find him in the bath in a trance-like state.He was rigid with glazed eyes.

He seemed terrified.Help was obtained and he was put to bed.The doctor concluded he had had a shock.

Patrick Stenson, his biographer , suggests that jumping into a cold bath triggered off bad memories.

Who knows ?

Scott Blair

PS well done in your case .I will drop you an e-mail re law soon.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Have just worked my way into this section and have had some eyeopeners! Just a word on Washington Dodge- about 1984 or so Haas/Eaton/Findlay and I went to visit the grandson, Arthur Dodge who resides on the waterfront in Sag Harbor and were amazed to find that they (Arthur and his wife) were not aware of the details of their famous relative's demise. They went up the attic and pulled down a box of yellowed clippings and letters which they had not perused-it had been a subject"Not Discussed" as was so often the case in more genteel times! We found Arthur and his wife very gracious hosts.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Hi Shelley,
First, my condolences to you on your family situation. I have a few questions for you about the Captain Smith letters but that can wait. With respect to Dr. Dodge, is Arthur the son of Washington Dodge, Jr. (second wife), or of Harry Dodge (first wife)? I know that Kent Dodge, Jr., the Titanic passenger's grandson, is conducting an investigation about the events leading to his grandfather's suicide. If you check out my website (listed under "Links - general - "Titanic Story in San Francisco") you'll find out more about Washington Dodge, including links to a story about the appearance of his ghost at 840 Powell Street, where he fatally wounded himself, his speech to the Commonwealth Club, and miscellaneous other materials. I'm trying to get a picture of the Laguna Street house where he lived (it was at 2129 Laguna) in 1912. It appears to have been demolished.

I feel that, so far, we've only scratched the surface with this matter of PTSS. I'm sure that there's simply no record of a lot of the instances of PTSS trauma that survivors' suffered because people tended to be so private about mental illnesses. Additionally, it's sad that the illness was not understood very well back then, and that as a result many more people died, or suffered. My tentative plan is to eventually construct some sort of research paper out of this and post it on the ET website, such as others have done.

I'm interested in getting more San Francisco materials for my website so if you (or anyone out there for that matter) have anything from the Bay Area that you need checked out, feel free to contact me at [email protected]. There are also a lot of San Francisco resources listed on the website, including searchable telephone books, etc. Take care.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Based upon ET's description, it appears that Harold Bride belongs in this conversation. I've started to notice a trend here among persons aboard Collapsible "B."

Archibald Gracie - death purportedly linked to trauma
Jack Thayer - suicide
John Collins - ended up in insane asylum
Harold Bride - became a recluse
Second Officer Lightoller - PTSS syndrome in evidence

Again, where we know more about the person, or information is available - - the PTSS symptoms are often found. Most of the other Collapsible "B" biographies are not very descriptive - - so many more may have suffered given that the Collapsible "B" experience was comparatively more horrifying.

Also, the biographies of Collapsible "A" survivors are not very descriptive - - but that experience must have been horrifying like the one on Collapsible "B." The difference being, perhaps, that the funnel collapsed and nearly hit "B." We may find a trend there, as well.
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Joe: Arthur Dodge is the grandson of Washington Dodge. Have sent your letter on to Mike Findlay as he was there at the time in their home with me and may have a good memory for what all San Francisco info was in that attic box-it is a fascinating story./s.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Joe,

Arthur Dodge is the son of Washington Dodge Jr. (who survived the Titanic.)

He and his wife Maria continue to live on Long Island. Both were under the impression that Dr. Dodge was murdered. Kent Dodge believes this as well. This report was always believed by Washington Jr. Arthur told me that his father never believed the official reports detailing his father's death. Of course, suicide is not a subject that family members have an easy time accepting so perhaps Washington Jr. chose to believe the opposite. It must be pointed out that the family believed that Dodge's suicide/homicide was in no way connected to his Titanic experience. Unfortunately, Dr. Dodge got himself into a political scandal that was expanding in San Francisco. It resembled Watergate. Dodge couldn't get himself out of the persistent investigations. While he originally cooperated with authorities, he found it too much to testify against fellow politicians who were brought up on charges. It is uncertain whether Dr. Dodge would be have been indicted as well. Some believe he committed suicide to avoid having to testify (and possibly having the truth learned about him), while others contend he was murdered and forever silenced to prevent his evidence from ever being used in the investigation.

The Dodge material was one of the most impressive collections I have ever seen.

Michael Findlay
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Shelley, Michael,
Thanks for the information. If Dr. Dodge was murdered, that's one thing. But if he committed suicide - - even if the triggering event is the financial scandal - - I think he still comes within the parameters of this conversation. Also, one newspaper article which I read stated that Dodge had been on a suicide watch at St. Francis Hospital, just prior to his death. Please do not hesitate to email me if there's any more work to do, or information needed.
 

Sam Brannigan

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Dec 20, 2000
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Hi Catherine
He did commit suicide in 1965 after being turned out of his home he shared with a relative. Check out "Titanic Voices" in the book section. There is also a picture of Fleet selling newspapers in his later years.
Regards
Sam
 
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Sabrina Landon

Guest
Just curious, has anyone checked to see how many survivors died on April 14, or 15? Anniversaries of a traumatic event can trigger symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
 

Sam Brannigan

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Dec 20, 2000
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Although the ET profile of Lawrence Beesley states that he died in February 1967 (even his Entry of Death states it), I seem to remember reading elsewhere how he died on April 14th of that year.

Does anyone else recall this, and know who started the rumour?

Regards

Sam
 

Nigel Godfrey

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Jul 23, 2001
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Interested in the speculation about what happended to Reginald Lee. Has this moved on at all ? From what I was told (and this conflicts with other things that have been said) he never talked about his experiences, in fact it seems he tried to play down his role by claiming that he was a steward, and just happened to be in the crows nest at the time ! This is interesting since I note that someone says his brother was a steward on the Titanic (I do not think this is true at all ?). He did go back to sea after his ordeal, as indeed did is son Reginald (who was in the navy and sunk several times). I was told that he never drank, but then I would say that !
 

Chris Dohany

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Dec 12, 1999
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::: This is interesting since I note that someone says his brother was a steward on the Titanic (I do not think this is true at all ?):::

In looking at the previous posts of this thread it appears that in this case Reginald Lee has been mistaken for George Hogg. Hogg was in boat 5 and had a brother, a steward, who was lost in the sinking; Lee was in boat 13.
 
Mar 10, 1998
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Hi Nigel,
Reginald Lee did not commit suicide. That rumor has floated around for a long time but it is not true. He died of heart disease following pneumonia according to his death certificate and his obituary does not dispute that.

Regards,
Phillip
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Phil,

Did you find any evidence of PTSD symptoms, like heavy drinking, depression, and the like, in Lee's case? Your previous postings indicated that might be a possibility.

It seems to me that everyone handles trauma differently, but one seemingly consistent thing is that those who get the worst dose of something, suffer the worst afterward.

That's why I'm thinking that the men on the bridge, the men and woman on collapsibles A and B may have suffered worse than others. Do you perceive any trends among those people? It seems to me that one sees significantly more PTSD among the men of Collapsble B than was evident in other boats, or among survivors in general.

Take a look at the bridge. Both Murdoch and Moody went down with the ship. Why? Why, particularly, did Moody not leave the ship? The other young officers left in boats. Lightoller, or someone, purportedly told him to get in a boat, too. Although there is a lot of debate about this, Murdoch purportedly committed suicide.

I suppose it's difficult to arrive at any judgments because the record is sparse on all this, even death certificates may have been altered.

Then there are the public types, such as Robert Daniel and Washington Dodge --who perhaps suffered from the social stigma more than others. It's possible that Dr. Dodge was murdered, but I think that there is very clear evidence that he suffered severe PTSD, as well.


It seems to me that the suicides and PTSD are mostly random --but that a few trends can be gleaned from the available, yet meager, facts that we have.
 
Mar 10, 1998
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Jan,
In anything I've found so far on him there is no indication that he had a drinking problem--but I'm just saying there is never any mention of it--that doesn't mean the problem wasn't there. The only allusion to it is that random comment by his fellow crewman that he "died by the bottle." But the story in the obit is no help in confirming or dismissing that.

Sorry I don't know more to add to that aspect of his life.

Phil
 

Nigel Godfrey

Member
Jul 23, 2001
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Didn't realise that there was a Reginald Lee obituary ? Which paper was it in ?

Interestingly, Lee told his family that he had pulled the Countess of Rothes out of the sea into the lifeboat. This conflicts with him being in lifeboat 13.

If anyone is interested, his son Reginald was an avid filmmaker. The films have been transfered to videotape and a copy given to a museum in hampshire. There are many hours of material, but I am sure that his father appears.
 

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