Titanic and Other Ships by CH Lightoller


Feb 14, 2011
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I have heared different stories regarding the reason why Lightoller's book "Titanic and Other Ships" is so rare. Some have suggested he maligned White Star in his book, so the publisher pulled and shredded the remaining hardcovers to prevent a lawsuit. Not sure I believe this, but many have told me this is true. I found my copy last year on Ebay- a frst edition hardcover with a dust jacket! Anyone know if this book really caused 'waves' when released?

Peace

Tarn Stephanos
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Tarn, the problem was with Marconi. I have copies of correspondence from Lightoller and family that covers the period in quesion and indicates that yes, it did indeed make a few waves when it was published (at least with Marconi - be interesting to see if it was reviewed in some of the maritime magazines at the time).

You're fortunate that you have a first edition!

~ Inger
 
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sharon rutman

Guest
My the plot thickens, doesn't it? Tell me more, please.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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If your wondering what a Lightoller looks like with a dust jacket, take a peek at a nice one on Mike's great Titanic book site (there is a link to his site at the bottom of the ET main page)

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Sharon,
one of the great Titanic book myths is that Lightoller's autobiography was just too libelous to handle with the result that after it had been in-print for only a brief time, the remaining copies were pulled from circulation. at which point it is assumed they were all destroyed. it's a great story, but I have always been suspicious of its veracity.

Inger,
somehow I missed your post in January. did the correspondence you found actually suggest that Lightoller's book was pulled out of circulation because of lawsuit concerns?

firstly, if the book was that libelous in 1935 when the first edition was printed, why was the book rereleased a mere four years later in a mass market paperback format? was the paperback edition edited for content?

secondly, the simple fact is that, now that everything is connected by the internet, copies of Titanic & Other Ships do show up for sale fairly frequently. it is not uncommon for the book to show up a couple of times a year. that's about how often Rostron's autobiography shows up, and there were never any legal concerns about his book!

I have a theory, and it is just a theory at this point, that Lightoller's book (and Rostron's for that matter) shows up as infrequently as it does simply because the print run of the book was just not that large. after all, it was published over two decades after the disaster, and during the 1930s & '40s interest in Titanic was pretty passé.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo Mike -

I think this was discussed in another thread, where the way in which the two editions treated the question of the Mesaba message was compared. I don't think I've ever said that it was pulled from publication - indeed, I've bid on the odd copy on ebay in the past. But if Lightoller himself is to be believed, Marconi was certainly making noises about legal action (hence the slight rewrite between editions).

~ Inger
 
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Patricia Bowman Rogers Winship

Guest
Hi, Inger!

Not that it could possibly have made much difference. What I said about it was mainly an educated guess. It is an odd change that was made, because he didn't alter the part that would obviously have offended Marconi-- the fact that he essentially laid blame for the Titanic disaster on their employees. I just figured that Lights was being hardheaded about the whole thing. It would be interesting to know the real straight skinny on it.

Pat W
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Seems the copies of Titanic And Other Ships that surface are always found in the UK. Was there even an American edition of this book? I have never seen a hardcover of the Lightoller book pop up for sale in the USA.

The Rostron book seems common in comparison- there is the tan cloured copy that most seem to have, plus the very scarce blue bound British edition, i once had, but foolishly sold..

Pity Lightoller's book has not been reprinted in its entirety....

Even worse than that was that officer Boxhall never wrote he memoirs...(or mabey he did, but it was thrown away, along with everything else he owned after he died..).


regards

Tarn Stephanos
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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I wouldn't say 'everything' Boxhall owned was thrown away, Tarn. He was survived by his wife, and after she died those who cleared out the council home passed many personal effects on to a niece on her side of the family. She did 'the right thing' and passed those items directly concerning Joseph Boxhall on to his side of the family. The Boxhalls were a generous couple, and although they had little money in their last years they had already given many items to their families.

Unfortunately, so I've been told, the council home was cleared out fairly quicky after Margory's death and there is a possibility that anything not recognised as an important personal effect may have been lost. I've never heard anything about work he might have done on his memoirs, and the sad fact is that in the last years of his life that extraordinary mind was deteriorating, but it's always possible that he had started to set down his recollections. I would certainly have enjoyed hearing about his remarkable life and career - from those early days in sail through to the Cunard - White Star years.
 
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sharon rutman

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Isn't it amazing and difficult how Titanic research was before l955? The few memoirs that were published usually disappeared after publication for whatever the reason.
 
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Chris Laidler

Guest
On Tuesday 26th Nov I was given a paperback copy of Lightoller' book. On the cover it has Bay Tree Books and the price of 6d (six old pennies).

There is no date within it stating when it was published. Did it come out at same time as the hardbound copy? But, if as stated above, the hardbound version didn't sell too well why was paperback edition produced?
 
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Hi Chris,
as you say, the Bay Tree paperback has no date. I am fairly sure it came out in 1939, however, four years after the first edition.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
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What a pity Boxhall didnt write his memoirs! His career was far more interesting thatn Lightollers.

I wonder what Lightoller kept from Titanic? I think THS owns the whistle that was on his person during the sinking.....


Tarn Stephanos
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Tarn, I wouldn't say Boxhall's career was 'far more interesting'...but it was just as interesting! Problem was, he was quite a different personality - and while some men of a more taciturn bent are able to communicate better in writing than they are in face to face conversation, he doesn't seem to have been inclined that way. Apparently he used to write wonderful letters to his family, however, so it's a shame that he couldn't have been persuaded to set down his recollections in print for a wider audience. I would have been interested, for example, in some of his recollections of the remarkable men he served with, including the high profile Cunard men he counted among his friends. Lowe, too, would have had a remarkable life's tale to tell if he could ever have been persuaded to set it down.

What's that line? They all had a book in them, these old sailors...
 
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Chris Laidler

Guest
With regards to Lightoller' book, has it been republished recently or are there any plans to have it done? Given the number of books that have been published over the last few years I'm suprised that I haven't seen it anywhere.
 
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Chris,
as far as I have been able to determine, there has been no printing of this book since 1939 (!). with the exception that the Titanic Historical Society published a booklet in 1975 that just includes the six chapters of the book that tell about the Titanic disaster.

to my knowledge there are no plans to republish the complete book. that is a shame as it is really quite a striking book. on the other hand I expect that the actual market for it would be extremely limited. that and the very high costs in printing a book nowadays, make the chances for a new printing very unlikely.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
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Patricia Bowman Rogers Winship

Guest
I've managed to share my photocopies with a few people, as well as telling others how to obtain it for themselves. Does anyone want to hear it again?

Hmmmm... maybe silence gives consent.

In the USA, ask your local library to borrow the microfilm copy from the Library of Congress. Here is their catalog entry.

LC Control Number: 35006499
Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Brief Description: Lightoller, Charles Herbert. [from old catalog]
Titanic and other ships,
London, I. Nicholson and Watson, limited, 1935.
viii, 344 p. front. (port.) 20 cm.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


CALL NUMBER: Microfilm 33587 G
Copy 1
-- Request in: Microform Reading Room (Jefferson, LJ139B)

-- Status: Not Charged


If the librarian is hesitant or shy about borrowing things from the Mighty Library of Congress, insist politely. It CAN be done!

Pat Winship
 
Dec 8, 2000
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quote:

I've managed to share my photocopies with a few people, as well as telling others how to obtain it for themselves. Does anyone want to hear it again?
Thanks Pat - and as someone who benefited from your foresight and generosity, I appreciate the number of works you've assisted people in finding. (And here's another public acknowledgement that I still owe you, but I take it you've heard of compound interest.
happy.gif
)

Following on from Mike T's comments, there are some very preliminary investigations I'm aware of regarding reprints of some long out of print and rare Titanica, including Lightoller's autobiography. And of course I can't tell you any more or I'd have to kill you, leastways that's how the usual threat goes - and I'm sure there was something about me being 'late' too. ;)

Anyway, while you're waiting for something that may not happen, Pat's advice is not just better than nothing, it's excellent.​
 
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Patricia Bowman Rogers Winship

Guest
Fi, that's very exciting news. I had played with the idea of creating a hypertext of Lights' book and putting it up, if I could obtain permission to do it. My research on copyright indicates that it might be public domain as of five days ago in the UK, but if the US copyright was renewed, it isn't over here. The worst-case
scenario of being pursued by a crowd of litigious Lightses isn't a happy one!

And (blush, bow) Thank you!

Pat W.
 

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