Most people are more complex than they often realize themselves. Individuals can surprise themselves and others around them by either unexpectedly rising to the occasion or collapsing in a heap. Most of us though, come somewhere in-between.Charles Herbert Lightoller was a complex man and to this day remains hard to figure out. He was deeply flawed but as he proved in both world wars, brave as a lion.
I believe this thread is about Lightoller's actions during the 2 hours and 40 minutes that the Titanic took to sink and not an overall character study. And his actions (or otherwise, depending on how one looks at it) that night invariably get compared with those of Murdoch.
Putting this in another way, if Murdoch and the others on the starboard side had followed exactly the same principle as Lightoller - ie "Women and children, only.......period," then the actions of both men would have seen by some of us with raised eyebrows and perhaps mild criticism but Lightoller would not then have stood out. Most of us would have considered what took place as convention of the day and sort of accepted it. But because Murdoch did NOT follow that approach and allowed men, including crew, to board if there was room on the starboard side, it does make Lightoller's actions seem less logical by comparison. Adding to that fact is that by his actions Murdoch did not deprive any woman or child a place in any lifeboat.
I don't think anyone here is claiming that he was a villain.He made mistakes, but he was certainly no villain.