Would Lightoller or Lowe have evicted Ismay

C

Catherine S. Ehlers

Guest
J. Bruce Ismay boarded Collapsible C, and if memory serves First Officer Murdoch was in charge of loading boats on that side. Murdoch was tolerant in letting men board the boats when there were no women or children around, moreso than Lightoller. I just got to wondering, what would have been the reaction of Second Officer Lightoller (who sternly enforced the "women and children ONLY" edict throughout the night, permitting only Major Peuchen into Boat 6 because he was a yachtsman) or Fifth Officer Lowe (who proved himself perfectly willing at one point to cuss Ismay out, and also threw several men out of boats) if Ismay had stepped into a lifeboat in front of one of them? Would they have ordered him out? Or even (perish the thought) dragged him out? Would they have made an exception for Ismay, do you think?

Just wondering about this.

Cathy Ehlers
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Honestly don't have a clue. I think Lowe would have, if only because he didn't have any idea at the time who Ismay was. If he had known it might have been a different story. The problem is the usual one of history never revealing it's alterantives. We can know what actually happened, but we can only speculate on what might have been.
 
B

Bob Godfrey

Member
We can perhaps speculate on the basis of what happened in the corresponding position on the port side, where Lightoller was active. In his memoirs he suggests that by the time he was dealing with collapsible D he might have finally relaxed his adamant 'women and children only' policy: "As this boat was being lowered, two men passengers jumped into her from the deck below. This, as far as I know was the only instance of men getting away in boats from the port side. I don't blame them, the boat wasn't full, for the simple reason that we couldn't find sufficient women, and there was no time to wait - the water was then actually lapping round their feet on A deck, so they jumped for it and got away. Good luck to them." I don't think it likely, however, that he would have regarded Ismay as a special case and helped him into the boat.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Very difficult to determine the answer to this one. Lowe was later reported to have prided himself on having turned first-class men away from the lifeboats, sometimes at gunpoint, but in the early part of the evening, under Murdoch's direction, he had allowed males into the forward starboard boats. If he had been fully cognizant of Ismay's name and position, he might have made an exception - he could be extremely practical when it came to his career. On the other hand, given his particular emotional makeup and response to some of the authority figures he encountered, Ismay's position might have weighed against Lowe letting him in a lifeboat. There was also his particularly strong personal code - whether allowing Ismay into a boat under any circumstances would be consistant with it is something only the man himself could answer.
 
J

Jack Coburn

Guest
I was wondering, was Ismay's reputation after the sinking damaged because he simply survived (like that japanese passenger, Masabumi Hosono) or was it because of the way he survived (jumping into a lifeboat while it was being launched because it was women and children only as it was being loaded)?

Jack
 
D

Deborah Russes

Member
Maybe I am wrong, but wasn't Ismay's position with the White Star Line similar to that of a Caption of a ship as far as "going down with the ship"? I thought I read/heard that somewhere.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Probably Both, Jack. It didn't help when he landed in the US of A to be greeted by a hostile media. Having an enemy (William Randolph Hearst) with the power of the printing press and wide circulation just about gauranteed he'ed be in a lose-lose situation.

Deborah, I know of no law or tradition that dictates the owner must go down with the ship, although in the end, Ismay probably found himself wishing that he had.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
I seem to remember that Daniel Allen Butler put forward the POV on the NG a few years back, Deborah, that as the company representative Ismay was legally obligated for insurance reasons to be the last to leave the ship, or so I seem to recall the argument ran. Is that perhaps what you were thinking about?

There were many rumours circulating around the circumstances under which Ismay was able to secure a lifeboat seat for himself when so many male passengers perished, some grossly inaccurate and stating or implying that he had used 'underhanded' means to guarantee his survival. Regardless of the truth of the matter, I suspect that however he had survived (short of a Lightoller-esque escape involving clinging to an overturned liferaft after going down with the ship), he was going to be criticised in some quarters.
 
Kyrila Scully

Kyrila Scully

Member
While doing research for my role as Molly Brown I came across her comments, which I will paraphrase for you, that the reason the Titanic survivors thought negatively about Mr. Ismay was due to the fact that he stayed secluded in the doctor's cabin and should have come out to see to the needs of those in distress. Instead, Mrs. Brown and other ladies from First Class formed a committee to do what he should have done. And Michael's comments about William Randolph Hearst being an enemy (as well as a publisher) of Ismay's are right on the mark, as public opinion of Ismay was formed by the media. Inger's comments are also highly valid.

Kyrila
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Clear Cameron had strong feelings about Ismay's decision to remain sequestered in the doctor's cabin on board the Carpathia - she mentioned in correspondence soon after the event. Cameron felt that he should have made an effort to comfort the women.
 
Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith

Member
Perhaps Ismay was too embarrassed to show his face while on the Carpathia, afraid of how the survivors would react to him.
 
J

Jeremy Lee

Member
If Ismay was embarrassed on the Carpathia, why did he still talk so irritably to Dr. McGhee?
 
D

Deborah Russes

Member
Maybe Ismay had a little too much pride...what is that old saying? Pride cometh before the fall. Just a guess.
 
Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
Shock can manifest itself in odd ways, and mood swings in the wake of a traumatic event are not uncommon. I think a number of interpretations could be placed upon his actions, ranging from arrogance through to shock to an attempt at sensitivity - based on what data we have, it's difficult to determine which interpretation is correct. It's possible he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't interact with the survivors.
 
J

Jeremy Lee

Member
If he had mood swings, then the survivors would hate him even more!
 
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