Would the press still have chewed out Ismay?


Michael Smith

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Jul 15, 2012
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Lets say, they never had the rule for women and children first and it was a "anyone who got to the deck first got into a lifeboat" rule instead.

Lets pretend the Captain, Andrews and any men who heroically died that day and didn't fight to get to a lifeboat, they still went down with the ship.

But the men who fought to get on a lifeboat when the "children and women first" was in place, they now survive and got into a lifeboat, including Ismay.


Now alot more men survive, lets say 300 men survive this time, would the press still of slaughtered Ismay? cause the rule on the Titanic was anyone who got to the lifeboats first, got dibs. Ismay got to the lifeboat first, therefore he survived.

Would they still of slaughtered him for leaving the ship when there were still ladies and children on the ship even though the rule was "Anyone who gets to the lifeboat first" and all Ismay did was follow the rule?
 

Michael Smith

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I think there are too many hypotheticals here to make any realistic comment.
Lol :L, cause wasn't the reason the press chewed out Ismay cause of the women and children first rule, and he got on a lifeboat when it was supposed to be women and children only?

If it was everyone for themselves, would they still of chewed out Ismay for leaving ship?
 
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The thing is, they did have those rules so we don't really have a lot of wiggle room to look at it in any other context. The expectation was there whether anything was written as a matter of regulation and law or not.

That much aside, it helps to know that the guy who led the charge was William Randolph Hearst, a man who had a passionate hatred for Ismay. In my opinion, he would have found a way to go after him regardless of whatever consditions applied. When you were in Hearst's gunsights, you were toast.
 

Tommy

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I think one of the reasons they vilified Ismay was because he was the Managing Director of the White Star Line - and, so, he should have went down with the ship like Smith and Andrews. I don't think a "first come, first serve" rule would have changed people's opinions of his surviving of the disaster.
 

Adam Went

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Personally I don't think it would have made a huge difference. Ismay was certainly seen as a coward for climbing into a lifeboat while there wasn't nearly enough seats for everybody else on board, but the benefit of hindsight tells us that many of the boats left half full or worse anyway, if Ismay had gone down as well it simply would have been another life lost. But in 1912, regardless of the women and children idea being in place or not, Ismay would still have been the subject of scorn and ridicule purely because of his position within the company and his survival.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jay Roches

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I think people naturally always look for somebody to blame, and Ismay would have been the natural target. Human nature, for some reason, absolves Fleet and Lee for not seeing the berg soon enough, and it absolves Murdoch for giving the orders he did (after all, nobody could have done better -- right?). But Ismay -- Ismay had the audacity to occupy an empty seat in a lifeboat at a time in the incident when it was pretty much clear that an empty seat in a lifeboat meant another dead man, and nothing more...

Myself, I think we should count ourselves lucky that Ismay survived, even if in 1912 they did not agree. Crewmen, high-borne or stoker, had knowledge that was vital to understanding what we needed to do to make ships (and later airplanes) safe for travel. He had invaluable information and he was shockingly cooperative in both inquiries. Never mind the man -- he only took up a seat in a lifeboat that was under capacity. His testimony should be ranked up with Lightoller's and the very best witnesses, and that testimony lends a lot to our understanding of the disaster today. We can't know how many lives that testimony saved, but I'd gather it was more than one.
 

Anna Simpson

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I agree with Athlen, but here's my question: Ismay and Andrews had more or less similar positions in their companies. Andrews also had valuable information that could have been revealed at the inquiries. So, had he survived, would the press treat Andrews the same they treated Ismay?
Perhaps a bit off topic, but an interesting point nonetheless.
 

Matthew Farr

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"His testimony should be ranked up with Lightoller's and the very best witnesses"

Lightoller's testimony was anything but the very best. In fact, he did everything he could to deflect any blame away from himself, Ismay and the White Star Line during his testimony. Many of his answers to questions were evasive or vague if he even answered at all. If you have not read the full transcripts of the inquiries I would suggest that you do and you will see what I am talking about. Don't forget that it was Lightoller who was responsible for the loading of the lifeboats on the port side of the ship. His under filling of the boats and the fact that he was only letting women and children into them (unlike Murdoch on the starboard side who was allowing men in as well) probably contributed heavily to the death toll. I hardly think that is something he would be eager to admit to on the witness stand. His priority on the witness stand was not to the truth but to protect himself and his employer, pure and simple.


"So, had he survived, would the press treat Andrews the same they treated Ismay?"

I think it would depend on the manner of his survival. Ismay survived by jumping into a lifeboat as it was being lowered which was, at that time, considered to be an act of cowardice. Thats why he was vilified. This was then compounded by the fact that he was the chairman of the company that owned the ship. Had Andrews done the same thing as Ismay I believe he would have received similar treatment from the press.
 

Tommy

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"So, had he survived, would the press treat Andrews the same they treated Ismay?"

I think it would depend on the manner of his survival. Ismay survived by jumping into a lifeboat as it was being lowered which was, at that time, considered to be an act of cowardice. Thats why he was vilified. This was then compounded by the fact that he was the chairman of the company that owned the ship. Had Andrews done the same thing as Ismay I believe he would have received similar treatment from the press.
Ismay got into the lifeboat with 1st class passenger called William Carter, he didn't jump in as it was being lowered. One survivor even testified that he saw Ismay being ordered into the lifeboat by Chief Officer Wilde.
 

Matthew Farr

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Ismay got into the lifeboat with 1st class passenger called William Carter, he didn't jump in as it was being lowered. One survivor even testified that he saw Ismay being ordered into the lifeboat by Chief Officer Wilde.
I'll admit the word "jumped" may be a bit strong but it's essentially true. Ismay himself testified to it at the senate inquiry.

Senator SMITH: What were the circumstances, Mr. Ismay, of your departure from the ship?
Mr. ISMAY: In what way?
Senator SMITH: Did the last boat that you went on leave the ship from some point near where you were?
Mr. ISMAY: I was immediately opposite the lifeboat when she left.
Senator SMITH: Immediately opposite?
Mr. ISMAY: Yes.
Senator SMITH: What were the circumstances of your departure from the ship? I ask merely that -
Mr. ISMAY: The boat was there. There was a certain number of men in the boat, and the officer called out asking if there were any more women, and there was no response, and there were no passengers left on the deck.
Senator SMITH: There were no passengers on the deck?
Mr. ISMAY: No, sir; and as the boat was in the act of being lowered away, I got into it.
Senator SMITH: Naturally, you would remember that if you saw it? When you entered the lifeboat yourself, you say there were no passengers on that part of the ship?
Mr. ISMAY: None.
Senator SMITH: Did you, at any time, see any struggle among the men to get into these boats?
Mr. ISMAY: No.
Senator SMITH: Was there any attempt, as this boat was being lowered past the other decks, to have you take on more passengers?
Mr. ISMAY: None, sir. There were no passengers there to take on.


Lightoller testified that he was told by someone on the Carpathia that Ismay was "bundled" into the boat by Cheif Officer Wilde although he could not say who this person was.

Mr. LIGHTOLLER. The chief officer also loaded some of the boats on the port side. I may also say, in regard to the testimony in regard to Mr. Ismay, although I can not vouch for the source, yet it was given to me from a source such that I have every reason to believe its truth -
Senator SMITH. Before or since this occurred?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. Since.
Senator SMITH. When?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. On the Carpathia.
Senator SMITH. En route to New York?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. Yes.
Senator SMITH. Or after she had arrived?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. Before she arrived in New York.
Senator SMITH. Give the information.
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. It is that Chief Officer Wilde was at the starboard collapsible boat in which Mr. Ismay went away, and that he told Mr. Ismay, "There are no more women on board the ship." Wilde was a pretty big, powerful chap, and he was a man that would not argue very long. Mr. Ismay was right there. Naturally he was there close to the boat, because he was working at the boats and he had been working at the collapsible boat, and that is why he was there, and Mr. Wilde, who was near him, simply bundled him into the boat.
Senator SMITH. You did not say that before?
Mr. LIGHTOLLER. No; but I believe it is true, I forget the source. I am sorry I have forgotten it.


As I said before, Lightoller was doing all he could to protect his employer.

I would also point to the testimony of Quartermaster Rowe:

Senator BURTON. Now, tell us the circumstances under which Mr. Ismay and that other gentleman got in the boat.
Mr. ROWE. When Chief Officer Wilde asked if there was any more women and children there was no reply. So Mr. Ismay came aboard the boat.
Senator BURTON. Mr. Wilde asked were there any more women and children. Can you say there were none?
Mr. ROWE. I could not see; but there were none forthcoming.
Senator BURTON. You could see around there on the deck, could you not?
Mr. ROWE. I could see the fireman and steward that completed the boat's crew, but as regards any females I could not see any.
Senator BURTON. Were there any men passengers besides Mr. Ismay and the other man?
Mr. ROWE. I did not see any, sir?
Senator BURTON. Was it light enough so that you could see anyone near by?
Mr. ROWE. Yes, sir.
Senator BURTON. If I understand, there were firemen and stokers around in that neighborhood?
Mr. ROWE. Yes, sir.
Senator BURTON. But no women and children?
Mr. ROWE. No women or children, sir.
Senator BURTON. And, so far as you could see, no other passengers except Mr. Ismay and this other gentleman?
Mr. ROWE. Yes.
Senator BURTON. Did you see Mr. Ismay and Mr. Carter get in the boat?
Mr. ROWE. I saw the gentlemen get in; yes, sir.
Senator BURTON. Did you hear anyone ask them to get in?
Mr. ROWE. No, sir.
Senator BURTON. How were you occupied at the time they got in?
Mr. ROWE. I was occupied in attending the after fall, sir.
Senator BURTON. Were you watching Chief Officer Wilde?
Mr. ROWE. Yes, sir.
Senator BURTON. Did you see him speak to them?
Mr. ROWE. No, sir.
Senator BURTON. If he had spoken to them would you have known it?
Mr. ROWE. I think so, because they got in the afterpart of the boat.
Senator BURTON. And you were in the afterpart of the boat?
Mr.ROWE. Yes, sir.


We will never know what happened that night. Was Ismay ordered in, was he pushed in or did he simply step into the boat as it was being lowered. I for one will take the man's own testimony as the truth as I can see no reason for him to have lied about it.
 

jlee9372

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Yes. Ismay would have been chewed out by press, and he deserved to be chewed out by press. He was the managing director of the White Star Lines. Ismay had ordered captain Smith to maintain top speed through iceberg-infestered waters. Ismay should have let the captain Smith do his captain duty. Ismay should have gone with the ship, because his actions have contributed to Titanic sinking.
 
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Ismay had ordered captain Smith to maintain top speed through iceberg-infestered waters. Ismay should have let the captain Smith do his captain duty.
And where exactly is the evidence for you claims?

Ismay did not gave such an order and Captain Smith was in full command. Titanic was even not going top speed (Boiler Room No. 1 was not in use) as only 24 of her 29 boilers were lit.

During the evacuation Ismay helped to load several lifeboats on the starboard side saving the life of many as he pushed men, women and children into the boats and also ordered several of the stewardesses into the boats of which 2nd Officer Lightoller refused to board a lifeboat on the port side.
 
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JMGraber

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It was women and children first on Murdoch's side. When there were no more women and children, men were allowed into the collapsible. Ismay saw the boat there, and with men allowed, decided to hop in. 'Nuff said.
 
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The press also didn't see Ismay's POV. I'm writing a book about the sinking through the POV's of several historical and fictional characters, featuring POV's of Murdoch, Andrews and Barrett (coming up). I planned to also write a POV for Ismay and this is what I think he thought back then on Titanic:

He saw Collapsible lifeboat C, about to be lowered away with four places still unoccupied. There were ca. 1600 people still on board Titanic, including himself. There were no more women and children to be seen, and the few men in the area didn't try to board the lifeboat. Ismay thought of it to be such a waste, wasn't it possible for one of the last lifeboats to be lowered away completely filled? He looked around. Nope, nobody who wanted to take the last seats. Eventually he decided to board it himself. He would have to try to get off this sinking ship anyway, and now the boat was almost completely filled.

PS: the Wattpad link directs to my book.
 

JMGraber

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No one would disagree that only 705 people getting into the lifeboats was despicable when there was room for several hundred for. I don't know if anyone realized this in the press even after the hearings. Benjamin Guggenheim decided to go down with the ship and let others escape, but it's not like there wasn't additional room and no one would have blamed him for boarding a lifeboat.
 

Jim Currie

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A few inaccuracies here.

First; Ioannis is spot-on. Ismay, despite his Company position would have absolutely no influence in how Titanic was operated at sea. Although WSL, like any other British Shipping Company, had Company Rules to be followed at sea, Captain Smith was legally bound to follow the Rules laid down by the British Government. Among other things, these stated that while at sea, a ship's captain was 'God'and as such was directly responsible for every living soul on board his ship.. including the Owner.
Ismay was a commercial man and anything but a fool. He knew his conversations with Smith could easily be overheard by passengers. Consequently passengers only heard what he wanted them to hear. What he said in public was not necessarily what he believed or for that matter, what he said in private.
Consider this: if Ismay had intended to ensure his survival.. why did he wait until the odds were stacked against him doing so?

As for the loading of lifeboats:

Although the lifeboats were rated at 65 persons per boat this was with the boat afloat and supported by the sea. In 1912 it was not considered good seamanship or safe to lower them from any great height with that number on board.. certainly not from a height of 70 feet above the sea... the height of Titanic's boat deck.
Despite 5th Officer Lowe's opinion about a boat breaking her back, these wooden boats were in fact over-strength fore and aft. Additionally the new-pattern lifeboat davits were more than a match for the weight of a fully loaded boat.
In fact, the Achilles heel of Titanic's lifeboats was the lowly, natural fibre manila rope falls used to lower them to the sea. A pair of these - one such rope at each end of the boat - was strong enough to carry the weight of a fully loaded boat and her equipment. But that was not the heart of the problem; surge load was the culprit.

Each end of a lifeboat was suspended from the davits by a single rope. Each rope acted independently. Lowering of a boat was entirely manual. By simply slacking off his rope, a man could begin his part of the lowering process. However each man had to slacken-off his rope at the same time and to ensure that the rope did not become jammed.
Uneven lowering or a jammed rope could induce a huge shock load into the supporting rope fall or falls. This surge would impose a load exceeding the ultimate strength of the rope falls and one or both would break. I'm sure I don't need to describe the result.

From witness evidence there seems to have been a deliberate policy of partial loading of around 40 persons per boat during the first 40 minutes. During that time, the air gap between boat and sea would have been reducing slowly at first. As Titanic settled the distance to lower subsequent boats would decrease. The urgency to get people off the ship would accelerate therefore danger of overloading would be cast aside.

However, to-days' Press would have been much more subtle. I suspect they would not expose themselves to legal kick-back but would simply present facts in a way they wished them to be interpreted by their readers. This would be determined by editorial policy toward Ismay and people of his class background.

Jim C
 

JMGraber

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A few inaccuracies here.

First; Ioannis is spot-on. Ismay, despite his Company position would have absolutely no influence in how Titanic was operated at sea. Although WSL, like any other British Shipping Company, had Company Rules to be followed at sea, Captain Smith was legally bound to follow the Rules laid down by the British Government. Among other things, these stated that while at sea, a ship's captain was 'God'and as such was directly responsible for every living soul on board his ship.. including the Owner.
Ismay was a commercial man and anything but a fool. He knew his conversations with Smith could easily be overheard by passengers. Consequently passengers only heard what he wanted them to hear. What he said in public was not necessarily what he believed or for that matter, what he said in private.
Consider this: if Ismay had intended to ensure his survival.. why did he wait until the odds were stacked against him doing so?
You mean when he got off the Titanic? In my opinion everyone wanted to survive the sinking, but rules were rules. Ismay acted admirably, sometimes in an annoying sense, that night be assisting the officers get passengers to the lifeboats. I'm sure he wanted to survive as everyone else did, but at the same time felt responsible to assist me off the Titanic. When he felt he had done enough, he decided to board Collapsible C, one of the last boats to leave the ship. Otherwise, I'm sure he intended to come aboard and help others onto Collapsible A. Additionally, when Ismay boarded Collapsible C he probably did know another boat was just above him on the Officers' Quarters. I heard he entered C from A-deck and if that's correct I'm assuming he was looking for others who could join in with him. He did find Carter after all.

Finally, regarding Ismay's conduct during the voyage, I do think he did have some influence on the voyage (no matter what British law or company policy said) because of the complacency of Captain Smith. If Ismay wished to for the ship steam up a bit because it would be good for business, I would think Smith would ask himself, "why not?" There had never been a major problem at sea before the sinking of the Titanic and he probably didn't mind or find issue with speeding up. Ismay was in the loop. He did receive an ice warning. Smith really had no reason to give it to Ismay if Ismay didn't matter during the voyage. They conversation between Ismay and Smith is very telling in the reception because of the way Ismay is speaking: "Well, we did better today than we did yesterday. We will beat the Olympic and get in to New York on Tuesday night." The first sentence is the most important because to me the way Ismay is talking ensures that he is part of a project or a work in progress with the objective of getting to New York a day early. That is why he is being told this information by Smith, because he is influencing the speed. If he wasn't Smith would have no reason to tell Ismay anything.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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When he felt he had done enough, he decided to board Collapsible C, one of the last boats to leave the ship. Otherwise, I'm sure he intended to come aboard and help others onto Collapsible A. Additionally, when Ismay boarded Collapsible C he probably did know another boat was just above him on the Officers' Quarters. I heard he entered C from A-deck and if that's correct I'm assuming he was looking for others who could join in with him. He did find Carter after all.
No one get into boat C from A Deck.
Carter was there and jumped into the boat.
Also there are two different versions and some did mentioned that Ismay was ordered to get into Collapsible C by Chief Officer Wilde and was pushed by him into it.

Finally, regarding Ismay's conduct during the voyage, I do think he did have some influence on the voyage (no matter what British law or company policy said) because of the complacency of Captain Smith. If Ismay wished to for the ship steam up a bit because it would be good for business, I would think Smith would ask himself, "why not?" There had never been a major problem at sea before the sinking of the Titanic and he probably didn't mind or find issue with speeding up. Ismay was in the loop. He did receive an ice warning. Smith really had no reason to give it to Ismay if Ismay didn't matter during the voyage. They conversation between Ismay and Smith is very telling in the reception because of the way Ismay is speaking: "Well, we did better today than we did yesterday. We will beat the Olympic and get in to New York on Tuesday night." The first sentence is the most important because to me the way Ismay is talking ensures that he is part of a project or a work in progress with the objective of getting to New York a day early. That is why he is being told this information by Smith, because he is influencing the speed. If he wasn't Smith would have no reason to tell Ismay anything.
As Ismay was the chairman of the White Star Line he sure will have wanted the progress of his new ship.
I think there has been made a lot out of what Mrs. Lines said. Interesting that everybody is pointing to that part but ignore the other part in which she claimed that Ismay and Smith were talking over 2 hours, had both a drink and Ismay asked Smith at the end to go to have a game in the racquet court.

Captain Smith was knowing for speed and even without Ismay aboard he would have done the same. Titanic was already doing good speed and would have to slow down to get on Wednesday morning in New York. I did not see that happening.
 

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