(Daily Sketch 18 April 1912)
Mr Charles John Joughin was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England on 3 August 1878. He was later baptised on 2 October that same year.
He was the son of John Edwin Joughin (1846-1886), a licensed victualler, and Ellen Campbell, née Crombleholme (1850-1938), natives of Liverpool and Birkenhead respectively who had married in St Catherine's Church, Liverpool on 15 June 1876.
He had four siblings: Sarah Ellen Elizabeth (1877-1936, later Mrs Fred Dunning), Theodore (1880-1915), Richard Archibald (1881-1952) and William Arthur (1886-1901). His mother had a previous marriage in 1872 to Robert William Campbell (1839-1875) and from that union Charles had two half-siblings: Robert William (1872-1874) and Mary Agnes (1874-1947).
Charles first appears on the 1881 census living with his family at 57 Eldon Street, Birkenhead, his father's profession being given as that of a "gentleman." His father died in 1886 and his mother took to nursing to make ends meet before managing a coffee shop. When the family appeared on the 1891 census they were residing at 14 Arnot (?) Street, Walton, Liverpool and Charles was described as a schoolboy. Appearing on the 1901 census, the family by then lived at 38 County Road, again in Walton, and Charles was described as a baker at sea; he appeared on numerous crew lists in 1900 and 1901 serving aboard Majestic as extra second baker and he would go on to serve aboard Teutonic. His mother later moved with her spinster daughter Mary and settled in Gillingham, Kent, appearing there on the 1911 census at 4 Tennyson Road.
Charles had went to sea at age 11 but was not the only seafarer in his family; his brothers Theodore and Richard were both in the Royal Navy. His brother Theodore, who had been at sea since age 16, died at sea in a fatal fall whilst aboard HMS Cornwallis on 1 March 1915; he was buried at sea.
Charles was married in Liverpool on 17 November 1906 to Louise Woodward (b. 11 July 1879), a native of Douglas on the Isle of Man. Their daughter Agnes Lilian was born in Liverpool in 1907 followed by a son Roland Ernest in 1909, who was born in Southampton. Whilst Charles is absent from the 1911 census his wife and children are shown as residents of Elmhurst in Leighton Road, Shirley, Southampton.
On board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton, when Joughin signed-on again in Southampton on 4 April 1912 he gave his address as Elmhurst, Leighton Road. He had transferred from the Olympic and as chief baker he received monthly wages of £12. He recalled seeing his lifeboat assignment on Thursday 11 April in the galley.
At the time of the collision Joughin was off duty and in his bunk situated amidships adjacent to the turbine engine casing on the portside along Scotland Road; the impact startled him and he rose immediately. Hearing no official orders, only murmurs of what was happening which he described as "general orders" from up top, he began to make preparations to provision the lifeboats with bread sometime around 12.15 am; he mustered his thirteen bakers in their shop on D-deck and had each carry four loaves of bread apiece up to the boat deck to place in the boats; he then appears to have returned to his cabin for short while; proceeding to E-deck on his way to his quarters from the bakers' shop he noticed some third class women carrying their belongings come up along Scotland Road and pass through the "emergency door" that connected the working alleyway to the forward second class staircase; a short stop in the D-deck kitchen area was also met with third class passengers attempting to navigate their way to the boats; he also witnessed the interpreter steward Ludwig Müller attempting, with the help of other stewards, to assist non-English-speaking passengers at the aft-end of Scotland Road. Whilst in his cabin Joughin admitted to having "a drink."
Joughin eventually arrived at the boat deck around 12.30 am and went to his assigned boat, number 10 where he described a large number of passengers gathered with Chief Officer Wilde conducting affairs, he shouting at the stewards to keep the men back. Joughin pointed out that there was no need for such orders as the men stayed back calmly and there was no panic or rushing. He assisted some stewards and seamen in passing women and children into the boat and described the boat becoming only half full when they had difficulty finding anymore women in the area willing to go, some running away stating that they were safer where they were. He and three or four other crew descended to A-deck in search of more women and children and spotted several sitting or squatting on the bare deck with no inclination of leaving; he and the other crew rounded the stragglers up, some forcibly, and brought them up to the boat deck, he escorting one mother and her child and another women with her two children whilst other crewmen escorted others. The list to port by this point left lifeboat ten swinging about a yard and a half from the ship's side and some had to be thrown into the boat. One woman that he had brought up along with her child attempted to step into the boat herself but, perhaps misjudging her footing, slipped between the lifeboat and the ship of the ship, miraculously being caught by steward William Burke. The unfortunate woman hung upside down for a while before being hauled aboard into A-deck; whilst Joughin had no recollection of seeing her again Burke later recalled that she returned to the boat deck and made another, and this time successful jump into the boat.
Although Joughin was apparently supposed to be in command of boat 10 an officer (presumably Wilde) ordered William Burke and two seamen into the boat but Joughin received no such orders and remained on deck before returning once again to his cabin for another touch of liquor; a small amount of water was already starting to engulf his quarters by this stage, enough to cover his feet and crew were working on manually closing the watertight doors. Whilst in his cabin Joughin spotted Dr O'Loughlin and the two fleetingly conversed before he returned to the boat deck by which point he assumed all the lifeboats had left. Joughin then descended to the B-deck second class promenade where a number of other people had gathered, noting that the list to port had increased; here he began throwing deck chairs through the large ports, which he estimated to be fifty in total, hoping to give himself something to cling to when he eventually jumped overboard.
With other things on his mind though Joughin once again scaled a staircase to A-deck and went to a deck pantry (presumably that just aft of the first class lounge) where he got a glass of water; whilst doing so he heard a booming crash as if the ship had buckled somewhere, with the sound of twisting and breaking metal rumbling through the ship. This was followed by an overhead rush of footsteps; leaving the pantry he witnessed large numbers of people pouring down from the boat deck, presumably down the small staircase that ran flush with the third funnel and perhaps over the side from above, and he assumed they were trying to make their way to the poop deck. Whilst trying to stay out of the crush of people he followed them towards the well deck; only moments before reaching there the ship lurched heavily to port, throwing the crowd he was following into a pile and he climbed out onto the starboard hull and along to the poop deck, continuing to straddle the side of the ship before grasping hold of the railings, later maintaining that the ship did not achieve a perpendicular stance before plunging. Not seeing anyone around him he began to wonder what to do next; he wasted precious moments transferring items from one pocket to another and tightened his belt when he felt the ship slide and he found himself in the water although he was not pulled under and barely got his head wet.
Joughin, apparently a strong swimmer, estimated that he was paddling and treading water for about two hours and with day breaking before he encountered a collapsible boat, although this timing may be highly questionable. Initially spying what he believed to be some wreckage, Joughin began to swim toward the mass but slowly and only when he got near enough did he recognise it as a collapsible boat, half-submerged and lying on its side and with an officer (Lightoller) and an estimated 20-25 men standing atop it, leaving no room for himself to board safely. In attempt to pull himself aboard he told that he was pushed off again so he hung around waiting and swam to the opposite side where Isaac Maynard recognised him and extended his hand to him. Joughin remained in the water until another lifeboat came within fifty yards of the submerged collapsible, calling out that they could take ten people. He immediately let go of Maynard's hand and swam towards the boat and was pulled in, later stating that he felt colder whilst in that lifeboat than he had been when in the water. Upon reaching the Carpathia Joughin felt well apart from swollen feet and had to climb the ladder up the side of the ship on his knees.
Following recuperation in New York Joughin returned to England; he was called to testify at the British Inquiry into the sinking on 10 May 1912.
Following the disaster Joughin and his family returned to Liverpool. By 1919 the family were expecting another addition to the family; his wife Louise is believed to have died from complications in childbirth and her new son, Richard, was also lost. Shortly after this loss Charles, leaving his two surviving children in Liverpool, resettled in Paterson, Passaic, New Jersey around 1921.
He was remarried to Annie Eleanor "Nellie" Howarth Coll, née Ripley (b. 29 December 1870), a native of Leeds, Yorkshire who had first come to the USA in 1888. Nellie was a widow twice over and had a daughter, Rose (b. 1891); she had lived at 574 East 23rd Street in Paterson for many years and this is where Charles would live for the rest of his life. During the 1950s he would communicate with Walter Lord when he was writing A Night to Remember.
Charles was widowed for a second time in 1944 when his wife Nellie died, a loss from which he never fully recovered. He also outlived his son Roland.
Charles died at the Barnert Memorial Hospital on 9 December 1956 and was buried with his wife in Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson. His occupation as given on his death certificate stated "Baker on Titanic." He would go on to be portrayed in A Night to Remember (1958) by George Rose and in Titanic (1997) by Irish actor Liam Tuohy. In both films (although in the latter his scenes were largely cut) he was shown as being inebriated at the time of the sinking; although Joughin openly admitted to having taken liquor that night he always maintained that he was not intoxicated.
His son Roland, like his father, went to sea as a young man and attained the rank of chief steward, appearing on shipping records into the early 1950s. He never married and died in Liverpool on 2 August 1955.
His daughter Agnes was married in 1936 to George Alfred Horner (1908-1972) but they were later divorced, she reverting to her maiden name. She remained in Liverpool where she died in 1988.
Articles and Stories
Paterson Evening News (1956)
Paterson Morning Call (1956)
Chicago Daily News (1912)
- Nellie was first married to Joseph Howarth (b. 1861) in Paterson, New Jersey on 24 December 1890 and their daughter Rose was born on 12 October 1891. Joseph Howarth died sometime prior to 1900 and Nellie was remarried to John Coll (b. 1861), a millworker also originally from England. When John Coll died is not certain but he was still alive at the time of the 1910 census. Rose, Nellie's daughter, was married in New York in 1927 to Henry Stoehr (1886-1962). What became of Rose is not certain but it is believed that she died in the 1960s or 1970s.
References and SourcesState Department of Health of New Jersey Certificate of Death
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Photo: National Archives (Courtesy of Gavin Bell)