Hugh Woolner's US evidence is highly unreliable.

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The US evidence of Hugh Woolner is highly unreliable.

He claims that he and Hakan Bjornstrom Steffanson saw Boat D "about to lower", then went across to the starboard side, and saw an officer fire two shots to get men out of a collapsible there.

Woolner says he and Steffanson then personally pulled several men out each, and put a number of women into this collapsible instead.

("We pulled out several, each" - "I should think five or six"), out of the collapsible, then "lifted in these Italian women, hoisted them up on each side and put them into the boat."

Then, having nothing further to do after all this "pulling out" and "hoisting", Woolner claims he and Steffanson went down to A Deck, pottered about for a bit, then crossed over to the port side, where - guess what - boat D was still lowering, so they jumped into it.

Steffanson does not support any of this, and it seems demonstrably impossible for Woolner's account to have taken place in the time available - the lowering period of boat D.

But here is a prior account, quoting Woolner, from the Calgary Herald of April 21, 1912.

The paper claimed it as an exclusive and says it was obtained by their correspondent in New York when the Carpathia docked. No other newspaper, to my knowledge, quoted Woolner this early -

Here Woolner is saying that "at one time" (not "at the end" or "just before I left") there were shots fired at a boat (not "the last boat," "one of the last boats", or a "starboard collapsible.")

He does say it is a forward boat, but it is open as to whether it is located to starboard or port.

[Last extract was bottom of column, now to top of new column -]

Now look at this. The shots belonged to a boat at one point in proceedings, and he moves onto "the last boat" - the boat HE got into.

He and H. B. Steffanson were saved in collapsible boat D.

Woolner and Steffanson aided in getting women into this boat (no mention of a starboard collapsible).

No mention of going around to the starboard side.

No mention of pulling men out of, and loading women into, a starboard collapsible.

[His previous mention of shots is at a "boat", rather than a "collapsible."]

No mention of going down to A deck.

(Why go down there, when the ship is sinking and there are no boats on A deck?
Woolner in his US evidence: "I said to Steffanson: 'There is nothing more for us to do. Let us go down onto A deck again.'"
But why? Why do that, Hugh? Why go down to A deck?
Steffanson does not support this claimed action!)

The Calgary Herald says both men jumped as boat D left the (port) side of the ship. The only side it could leave from.

Woolner striking the gunnel with his chest is as he describes in his US evidence - eight days later.

It is not something a newspaper could have invented, and indeed it is quoting Woolner himself.

But Woolner a week later tells an end-time story of personal heroism to the US Senate subcommittee that is completely different in sequencing and other matters from his first account on landfall.

His later story also happens to be extremely physically unlikely in certain respects.

His official "evidence" is therefore far too good to be true.

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Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson
Hugh Woolner


Senan Molony


Encyclopedia Titanica (2006) Hugh Woolner's US evidence is highly unreliable. (ET Comment, ref: #5041, published 6 November 2006, generated 22nd September 2021 04:29:51 PM); URL :