William E Carter II

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the kind words. There is debate over the departure times of the lifeboats. Nobody will ever agree so it is pointless to engage in a discussion as it relates to William Carter.

One thing is for sure though - regardless of whether Carter left the Titanic before his family (given a few minutes or so!), Mrs. Carter believed that he did. He certainly reached the Carpathia before the rest of the family! and that fact is really what made Mrs. Carter see red. I have to laugh when I read the remark Carter allegedly said to his wife when she was lifted aboard. "I had a jolly good breakfast but I never thought you'd make it!" Of course, this comes from Mrs. Carter so we don't know for sure it was really true.

Hey Mike P. - Thanks also for your kind words. Where you been these past few months?

Phil H. - Thank you ;)


Hi, Ben!

> Still undecided as to which lifeboat (4 or C) left the ship first...

Here's the evidence upon which I base my opinion that boat #4 left first:

Lightoller testified that he launched boat #4 (containing Mrs. Carter) from A deck before returning to the boat deck to start working on Collapsible D. Hugh Woolner testified that, after watching Collapsible D being connected to the davits, he went to the starboard boat deck just in time to see shots fired by the officer who was loading Collapsible C with passengers. In other words, it appears that boat #4 was already in the water while Collapsible C (in which Mr. Carter was saved) was still hanging in the davits.

This launch sequence was first published in 1991 in my pamphlet "Titanic Tidbits #1," and author Paul Quinn recently arrived (indendently) at that same conclusion in his book, "Titanic at Two a.m." (Although the *exact times* of these launchings can never be known with absolute precision, IMO the *sequence* in which the two boats were launched is as related above; I'd be interested to hear your own thoughts, though.)

Take care, old chap.

All my best,

Hi George,

Interesting stuff! Woolner's account undoubtedly suggests that collapsible D couldn't have been lowered long after C at all - bearing in mind that the rush/gunshots etc occurred relatively early in the launching of C (i.e. Murdoch or McElroy, using pistols, deterred most of the steerage passengers from entering the boat before sending them aft and then allowing Ismay and Carter in). It was just before col. D was swung out, that the trouble on the starboard side occurred. It then becomes unclear as to which lifeboat he is referring to.

After helping Murdoch etc with the "offenders" at boat C, he says "Then that boat was finally filled up and swung out". However, when he descended to A deck he makes no mention of crossing the forward facing promenade to the port side.

Although Woolner apparently did not witness either boat being lowered, it is perhaps significant that he observed that "they eventually lowered *all* the wooden lifeboats on the port side".

Although the lowering of boat #4 was delayed for various reasons, the very short space of time, as described by Woolner, between the lowering of boats C and D would seem to bolster the "#4 before C" theory.

Col Gracie was someone else who visited both port and starboard in those last boat-loading moments. From his account, it can be deduced that a substantial amount of time passed between 4 and D. It wasn't until after boat #4 was in the water, that boat D was even lifted into position (with some difficulty, it appears). When Gracie crossed to the starboard, C was gone. As boat #C, according to Woolner, was still being loaded at this time, one can only conclude that #4 left first.

And there was me thinking that the aft port boats were the problematic ones!

Nice to see you here again ;)

Best Regards,

P.S Sorry, back to Carter....
Michael Findlay wrote:

"Interestingly, Behr and Williams played one another in Morristown, New Jersey, in the summer of 1915."

Michael, the sports fan in me wants to know who won.
Mike Herbold! Nice to see you again, old chap! Any word on how long it will be before you settle down and grow roots again? :)

Take care, old chap, and keep in touch.

All my best,

Thanks, George.
Just another quick visit before hitting the road again. Played golf yesterday (that's the Titanic connection to this note, BTW. I sank) so only one day for ET this weekend. It's sure great to see your name here again, my friend.
Hi Mike,

Well, Williams won the 1915 match, and the two played each other in Philadelphia as well. Williams always won.

It's truly amazing when you figure that Williams spent many hours in the freezing water that night. Aboard the Carpathia, his legs were so frostbitten that doctors recommended amputation. Williams defiantly replied, "Absolutely not. I'm going to need these legs." Sure enough, he proved the medical examiners wrong. He walked the Carpathia's decks faithfully and continued his rehabilition after he arrived in Philadelphia. He went on to become one of the best tennis players in the world and almost beat Bill Tilden (the 1920's world tennis champion) in a match in 1923. Williams came up against him in the finals - best three out of five sets. It was one of Williams' days. He won the first and second set but then the magic began to drain out of Williams' racket, the balls started going out by an inch or two, and Tilden won the last three sets and the match. Tilden later said, "No man in history ever played tennis like Dick Williams played tennis in those two sets."

I, too, am a sports fan and if you would like to hear more about Williams' tennis career, I highly recommend "Big Bill Tilden" by Frank Deford (from Sports Illustrated), Simon and Schuster, 1975. Deford and I participated in Sports Illustrated interview back in 1998 with Mrs. R. Norris Williams in which the former tennis star's life, and Titanic experiences, were featured.

Hope this helps....sorry if I went overboard!

Best regards, Mike.


Thanks for the evidence regarding collapsible C and boat #4. My opinions don't really matter but my point was only to reiterate what Mrs. Carter claimed at the time of her divorce. Regardless of whether Carter left before or after, Mrs. Carter always claimed it was before, and she may have thought that for a number of reasons which cannot be determined. William T. Carter, their son, also believed that his father left earlier. As you mentioned, "Although the exact times will never been known with any absolute precision....", it is still too close to call for say for sure if Mrs. Carter was right or wrong in her claim. It's probable that she was incorrect, given your evidence, but there's always that chance...just look at the confusion regarding the departure of boats 6 and 8 in terms of which left first - conflicting arguments on both sides.

Thanks for your efforts.

Saw your note and immediately switched over to my favorite bookseller, abeBooks, and bought a copy of Deford's Tilden book. My dad, who was a hot California player in the late 30's, and who still plays a mean game at 84, will love it also. Thanks for going overboard.

Here's an interesting webpage for you:
Then scroll down to Norris Williams and click.
Mikes (Findlay & Herbold)-

Re: Behr & Williams

It should be added that the two played together at the Davis Cup in 1914. There's a series of great team photos I've seen.

Also, though Williams became "big" later on, Behr was the greater and more famous player in 1912. He'd won Wimbledon already; I think in 1907.

Also to Mike F & Phil G, etc -

Come to think of it, I may be wrong re: Williams' having such a rosy time personally after Titanic. I can't think where I heard it but isn't there something about his marriage being less than happy? Maybe I'm just getting mixed up.

Hi Randy,

Yes, Behr was the greater and more famous player in 1912. In fact, Williams wrote in his privately printed memoirs that he was very interested to see Karl's name on the Titanic's passenger list and noted that he had been watching his tennis career very close for quite some time.

Regarding the Williams marriage, I can only say that it was a very close one. I've known "Sue" Williams since 1984, and she is one of the most gracious women I have ever met. When she attended the Sports Illustrated program in 1998, she wore a lovely blue dress and told us, "Dick loved the color blue, so I'm wearing it today for him." It was emotional for her at times to speak about her late husband, but the love she still had for him was evident. A truly special lady.


Hi Randy,
You'll notice that Richard Norris Williams' wife Sue is quite a bit younger than he was. Prior to his marriage to Sue, he had married a woman slightly older than himself, a native New Yorker. I'm sure this is who you are referring to--I'll send you some further information on that marriage.

Hey Shell

Yes, Behr and Williams played together in Newport but it was after 1915. I forget the year - must contact Mr. Harrison on that one. Photographs of both men appear in the Hall of Fame up there too.

Williams and Behr were Newport regulars to the summer season and played their share of tennis in the colony but they never maintained a residence there for any extended period. Behr preferred spending summers in Morristown, New Jersey, and played tennis there.