When did the boat deck start to get crowded?

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Sarah S

Member
Hello~

I was wondering at what exact time did the boat deck start to get crowded to the point officers had to hold back passengers from jumping into a lifeboat and when some men managed to secretly sneak into boats without getting caught?

It is said that the first boats launched
by Murdoch where empty because he didn’t find many passengers to fill them with. That must have been from 12:40-1:00 am, right? Meanwhile when Officer Lowe started lowering with boat #14 it was so crowed that people tried to jump into his boat, forcing him to use his gun. That was at around 1:20 am. So can we mark 01:10 am as the probable time when officers had to start using physical power to hold back people from storming the boats?


Thank you in advance!
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I was wondering at what exact time did the boat deck start to get crowded to the point officers had to hold back passengers from jumping into a lifeboat and when some men managed to secretly sneak into boats without getting caught?
IMO, the two issues mentioned by you were not necessarily related that night. Realization that the ship was in danger and could be sinking came to different people at different times, depending on their status, cabin position, seagong experience or simple intuition. Some of the "Black Gang" deep in the boiler rooms would have been the earlierst to realize it and there is evidence that many of them did come up to the boat deck fairly early, only to be sent back. Also, many first class passenger, especially those bertherd in the uppder decks, came up to check what the matter was and a few remained, but more out of curiosity than necessarily believing at that stage that their ship was sinking. If you add the deck crew who were going about their tasks of uncovering the lifeboats etc to the mix, the boat deck might have started to appear crowded by around 12:25 am or so.

As discussed elsewhere, when Third Class Steward John Hart brought over 30 of this charges of women and children and left them near Lifeboat #8 before going back down himself, the area around Lifeboats#8 and #6 might have started to appear crowded. That is probably what prompted Wilde to send a number of women and children - I believe that they were mostly from the afroementioned Hart's group - aft on the port side. They were almost certainly then distributed among the survivors of Lifeboats #16, #14 and #12, but there is the possibility that a few women might have gone back below to try to fetch the men they had to leave behind earlier.

I believe the first male passenger to 'sneak into' a lifeboat unnoticed was Third Class Syrian-Lebanese passenger Fahim al-Zainni (later Philip Zenni) who was an interloper on Lifeboat #6. He was the very first Third Class passenger to get off the sinking Titanic and notably in a port side lifeboat with Lightoller in charge.
 
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Sarah S

Member
IMO, the two issues mentioned by you were not necessarily related that night. Realization that the ship was in danger and could be sinking came to different people at different times, depending on their status, cabin position, seagong experience or simple intuition. Some of the "Black Gang" deep in the boiler rooms would have been the earlierst to realize it and there is evidence that many of them did come up to the boat deck fairly early, only to be sent back. Also, many first class passenger, especially those bertherd in the uppder decks, came up to check what the matter was and a few remained, but more out of curiosity than necessarily believing at that stage that their ship was sinking. If you add the deck crew who were going about their tasks of uncovering the lifeboats etc to the mix, the boat deck might have started to appear crowded by around 12:25 am or so.

As discussed elsewhere, when Third Class Steward John Hart brought over 30 of this charges of women and children and left them near Lifeboat #8 before going back down himself, the area around Lifeboats#8 and #6 might have started to appear crowded. That is probably what prompted Wilde to send a number of women and children - I believe that they were mostly from the afroementioned Hart's group - aft on the port side. They were almost certainly then distributed among the survivors of Lifeboats #16, #14 and #12, but there is the possibility that a few women might have gone back below to try to fetch the men they had to leave behind earlier.

I believe the first male passenger to 'sneak into' a lifeboat unnoticed was Third Class Syrian-Lebanese passenger Fahim al-Zainni (later Philip Zenni) who was an interloper on Lifeboat #6. He was the very first Third Class passenger to get off the sinking Titanic and notably in a port side lifeboat with Lightoller in charge.

Yes that’s right, crew members and curious 1st class passengers probably crowded the deck from early on.
But I wondered at what time stamp steerage passengers started mixing with other classes to fight for the spots in lifeboats, leading officers to use physical force to hold them back. At what time did this forceful influx start to occur, and at what point officers had to use physical power to control a rowdy crowd. So in other words, at what time was PANIC and physical force prevalent during the evacuation and therefore the collective realization that it was about life and death?
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
But I wondered at what time stamp steerage passengers started mixing with other classes to fight for the spots in lifeboats, leading officers to use physical force to hold them back. At what time did this forceful influx start to occur, and at what point officers had to use physical power to control a rowdy crowd. So in other words, at what time was PANIC and physical force prevalent during the evacuation and therefore the collective realization that it was about life and death?
Once again, I think you are mixing-up events and eventualities here.

A few Third Class passengers - mostly single men - might have found their way to the upper decks early on but IMO any significant number would have been those 30+ women and children whom Steward Hart brought up and left in the vicinity of Lifeboat #8, where there were many First Class passengers already present. While Wilde probably ordered Hart's group (and a few others) to go aft towards the rear port side lifeboats, I do not believe he did that specifically because they were Third Class passengers. A few First Class passengers might have also gone with that group.

I do not believe any of the officers used physical force to hold back Third Class passengers per se, but the crew might have done that to hold back men in general so that women and children could make their way through to the lifeboats being loaded. That probably started during the loading of Lifeboats #16, #14 and #12 with Moody and then Lowe in charge with Wilde and Lightoller joining them by 01:15 am or so. By then most people on board the Titanic would have realized that there was danger to the ship and started arriving on the boat deck. With those aft port side boats mentioned above, the arrivals would have included a lot of Second Class passengers, almost all of whom were berthed in the stern section. The officers in charge of the loading would then have had to single out women and children from those Second Class arrivals and also consider those sent aft by Wilde. That probably was what resulted in the rush by some men towards Lifeboat #14 just as it was about to be lowered, prompting Lowe to fire a shot along the side of the ship. The men would have seen that Lifeboat #16 was lowered with mainly women and children with a few teenagers like Johan Svensson (who might have sneaked in) and so decided to take action just as #14 was about to be lowered. Bernard McCoy very likely jumped into the sea and swam across, to be eventually hauled on board Lifeboat #16 by his sisters; others tried to rush #14 as mentioned above. Lifeboat #14 was launched at around 01:25 am.

Deep in the bowels of the ship in the Third Class corridors, there might have been rowdy crowds here and there. Many of them could have congregated at access points that were locked during normal passage and simply not unlocked - believing wrongly that they were being locked out by the crew. Elsewhere, the Third Class stewards might have had to use force to maintain order to allow women and children through and avoid a stampede. You have to remember that 80% of Third Class stewards died, nearly as bad as the Third Class male passengers and worse than Third Class deaths overall ( 63% - men women and children)

I have not read about too many crowd issues or the need to use force with the four starboard aft boats where Murdoch was in charge; this is probably because unlike those on the port side, the men in the vicinity of the starboard aft lifeboats realized that they had a chance. But IMO the real 'life or death panic' occurred during the loading of ollapsible C and thereafter.
 
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