Were the crew heroes


James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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i would say yes because of the engineering dept as few of the department survived.the victulating dept puting on lifebelts to passengers but having a little bit more of there department saved was the deck crew loading and lowering the boats,heroic actions but only a few perished.men like Lowe,Perkis,Murdoch, Wilde,Smith etc are an exampal of this.the reason why passengers didnt like the crews ways that night is because few had had expierince of been shipwrecked.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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I'm a little confused re. your comments about only a few of the deck crew perishing, then naming Lowe, Perkis, Murdoch, Wilde and Smith - Lowe and Perkis survived.

No doubt there was some resentment among passengers regarding the crew survivors, but this wasn't directed noticeably more at the deck crew than any of the other departments. Indeed, many of those who lacked boat handling skills would have been those from the engineering or victualling department (stokers and stewards, for example) - their inexperience in rowing, for example, engendered resentment among those who had left their men behind.

It's a bit of a sweeping statement to declare that 'passengers didn't like the crews ways that night.' Taking Lowe as an example, although his brusque manner was off-putting for a minority (represented by Daisy Minahan), the majority of accounts I've collated over the years were highly appreciative. Among his passenger admirers he could count Irene (Rene) Harris, the Comptons, Clear Cameron, Nellie Walcroft, Gilbert Tucker, Selena Rogers Cook - all of whom made public or private statements regarding his conduct.
 

Brian Meister

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Mar 19, 1999
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Inger,

Our friend James has gotten started in the
Titanic research much in the same way and time
I did. He is holding his own here on ET at the
ripe old age of 9. Keep up the good questions,
old man, and Inger is a great source of info.
Take Care
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Well, a great source of info when she's not being a bit of a sarky cow
happy.gif


Good on you for asking questions and seeking opinions, James - we're all here on the same quest for knowledge and understanding, and I look forward to your perspective on the issues we discuss.

~ Inger
 
May 4, 2002
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All I want to say is that almost all of the crew were heroes on that fateful night, what w/ the band playing on, making no attempt to save themselfs whatsoever, the engineers keeping the power on till the last minute, thus sacraficing themselfs,the deck officers like lightholler and smith, and fianaly lookouts like frederik fleet who spotted the iceberg coming, and if he didn't, things would of been a damn sight worse! The final nail in the coffin was the fact that white star after the disaster prevented surviving officers getting command of their own ships, thinking them a disgrace! If anything, the only person who was a disgrace was J Bruce Ismay! He wanted more speed he knew there were ibebergs ahead, he knew there weren't enough lifeboats, and he requested a private room on the Carpathia when everyone else was in dissaray!
sincerly,
Jack
happy.gif
 

Brian Meister

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Mar 19, 1999
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Dear James, Inger, and all,

The entire reason I research the passengers
and crew of the Titanic is because I am always
interested in the human reaction.
Each person deals with tragedy and emotional
setback in their own way. The story of the
Titanic carries an amazing array of reactions
to a perilous situation. Stewards Hart and
Cox come swiftly to mind; ferrying small groups
to the Boat Deck with no clear direction from
those in charge, and with the sea roaring into
the ship. Engineer Harvey ignoring the human
instinct for survival, running back to assist
his injured colleague Shepherd, and drowning
in the torrent of water that engulfed them.
These are two examples, but are they all
heroes? Many performed acts of kindness in
the boats. Many saved lives.
The mail clerks, dragging sodden mailbags
up flights of stairs to recover the registered
mail in case they were saved. Incredible to
us to think about today.
Every man and woman on that ship faced fear
that night; from Major Butt to Cerin Balkic.
How each man handled that fear makes the
difference.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Quite right, Brian - it's extraordinarily difficult to make a broadly true statement about the conduct of any particular identifiable group - be they crew, passengers, class, department, nationality, religion etc - as human beings are nothing if not diverse in their characters, emotional reactions, moral fibre etc. To generalise about generalisations about people in general, they're generally wrong (
mad.gif
).
 

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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i found this in the book THE TITANIC DISASTER by Dave Bryceson.Daily Sketch saturday 20 April 1912 Mr Paul Chevert said "I take of my hat to the brave British seamen who went down with the ship and to the men who manned the lifeboats.Every man of them was a hero."i really agree with that but there is something you should know i belive that captain Smith handed over a baby to collapsible B and sank beneath the waves but you must look at this poor man Ismay ordering all the speed and he having to obay.plus we must not forget heroic words like "Be British" he said.
 

John Lynott

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Mar 31, 2000
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It is worth noting that a higher proportion of the crew was lost than was lost in first, second or third class and as Daniel Butler, author of Unsinkable, puts it most of them had an unshakeable attitude towards duty that we in 2002 would find hard to understand. By following the example of Murdoch, McElroy etc in doing something right, noble and good (ie ensuring that the women and children reached the lifeboats - many crew were unaware of the plight of the third class) they themselves became right, noble and good - a legacy they could leave to their bereaved relatives.
 

Tracy Smith

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Nov 5, 2000
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Sense of duty in 2002 not being as high as in 1912? Hmmm, I wouldn't be so sure of that....just think of the firefighters and police officers in NYC on September 11th. It seems to me that there wasn't anything wrong. Many of these men and women laid down their lives helping others, just as the Titanic's crew did in 1912.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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For once I agree with Daniel Butler. The generation concerned had a sense of duty that is foreign to our time. Some would see it more as slavish obedience to the powers that be. Their attitudes made possible the carnage of WW I. With all respect to them, I doubt if any of the police and firefighters on September 11th made a conscious decision to die for the cause. Many men on Titanic did just that.
 

Tracy Smith

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I think the police and firefighters knew that there was a distinct possibility that they wouldn't get out of it alive when they entered the Twin Towers to help get people out. Yes, they didn't know for sure, but they did know they were going into an extremely dangerous situation.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Tracy: I'm not at all sure that the Naugolet [sp?] brothers' documentary of those events would bear you out. Certainly the firefighters and police were walking into a dangerous and very messy situation. But none of them considered themselves martyrs!

Yes, they were professionals; yes, they were quite brave! But they didn't go in with the thought of deliberately laying down their lives, despite all odds. When things got very bad, they were in fact called back, as expected. Firemen do their jobs to save lives, NOT to lose their own. (And there's *always* a danger involved.)

Just my two centavos.
 

Tracy Smith

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Nov 5, 2000
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They knew there was a high possibility it could happen, though. Of course, they didn't want to die, who does? But they still went, knowing it could happen.

I've heard the argument, that they were "just doing their jobs". Yes, they were, but it takes someone special just to take a job like that in the first place, knowing that serious danger up to and including losing their lives is always a possibility.

There were other heroes that day as well. I heard of one man who worked in one of the buildings who stayed behind to help a disabled coworker get down the stairs, even after the disabled man urged him to go on and leave him behind. I'm not sure if these men made it out or not.
 

John Lynott

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No one would dispute the gravity of the events of September 11 but we are not debating whether the people involved in one historical event were any braver than those involved in another. Let's hope that we never called to face the sort of tests that the crew of the the Titanic or the New York emergency services faced. The moot point is: Can the crew of the Titanic be seen as heroes? By their own standards they might not have seen themselves as heroes, but by those same standards the majority of them would have wanted to have acted and be seen to act decently. Evidence at the bar of history suggests that the great majority did act decently. Some may say that Lightoller's tardiness in filling his lifeboats and the implementation of a Woman and Children Only rule added to the casualty figures, but he was not acting to save his own skin above others. Daniel Butler's Unsinkable has many faults but he is one of the few authors to tackle the plight of the crew with empathy. And he does pose the question of the fate of the restaurant staff. As Inger says earlier, you can't generalise but I would suggest the passengers aboard the Titanic were well served by their crew.
 

Beth Barber

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Jun 7, 2001
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Tracy - I heard about the story of the man who was helping the wheelchair ridden man. They were friends. From what I read - both men called their families from the building to say their goodbyes and they did not make it out. What a man to lay down his life for a friend. There were many many heroes that terrible day.

Its amazing to me how many people go above and beyond their call of duty. To me, it doesn't really matter if it is their job or not. In general, I feel most people are caring and are willing to help out another human being.

- Beth in SC
 

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