Encyclopedia Titanica

Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon

Cosmo Duff Gordon

Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff-Gordon was born on 22 July 1862 the son of Cosmo Lewis Duff-Gordon and Anna Maria Antrobus.1

Cosmo Duff-Gordon was educated at Eton and in 1896 he became the fifth Baron of his family estate (the baronetcy having been created in 1813). In 1900 Duff-Gordon married Lucy Wallace the eldest daughter of Douglas Sutherland. 'Lucile' who was the fashionable designer with a couture firm of which Duff-Gordon was a director.

Cosmo Duff Gordon was a proficient fencer and won a silver medal at the 1906 Olympics (now not recognised by the IOC), and help organise the British fencing team at the 1908 Olympics.

Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with ticket 11755 (£39 12s) Sir Cosmo occupied cabin A-16 and Lady Duff-Gordon cabin A-20. For some reason the Duff-Gordons signed onto the ship as Mr and Mrs Morgan.

On the night of the sinking they approached First officer William McMaster Murdoch who was supervising the loading of the Emergency Lifeboat 1. Sir Cosmo asked if he and his wife could get in and Murdoch replied that he would be glad if they would. A few minutes later at 1:10 am Lifeboat 1 was lowered containing only 12 people of whom 7 were crew members.

Photograph from the Frank Blackmarr collection, unfortunately it is blurred, of the occupants of Emergency Lifeboat 1.
Left to Right, Standing: George Symonds, Laura Francatelli, Lucy Duff Gordon, Cosmo Duff Gordon, Abraham Salomon, Charles Hendrickson, Henry Stengel.  Left to right Seateed: Robert Pusey (?), Edward Horswell, Samuel Collins, James Taylor (?), Frederick Sheath (?).
Courtesy of Randy Bryan Bigham, USA

After the sinking Leading Fireman Charles Hendrickson asked those in the lifeboat whether they ought to go back to help the people swimming in the water but Lady Duff-Gordon warned they might be swamped by people trying to get on board. Several of the men agreed that it would be dangerous to go back. Eventually Hendrickson was persuaded by Charles Henry Stengel's suggestion that they should head for a light that could be seen in the distance. So the twelve survivors set off while hundreds more were left dying in the water.

As they rowed and the cries of swimmers began to die down tempers began to fray among those in the boat. They were still rowing towards a light but it got no nearer and hailing other boats brought no result. Stengel continually shouted directions until Duff-Gordon eventually told him to keep quiet.

Meanwhile, Fireman Robert Pusey complained to Duff-Gordon that they had lost all their belongings (their 'kit) 'and that, in all probability, their pay would end when the ship sank, so the wealthy passenger offered all the men five pounds on their return. This was a pledge he would honour on board the Carpathia. Later Sir Cosmo would appear before a packed British Inquiry to defend himself against the accusation that he had bribed the men to secure his escape from the Titanic and that they were thus encouraged not to return to the scene of the sinking to rescue swimmers.

Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon died on 20 April 1931. At the time of his death he was living at 5 Alfredplace, South Kensington. He, and later his wife, was buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Near London.

Courtesy of Randy Bryan Bigham, USA


  1. He had four siblngs: Flora (died 1930), Evelyn (died 1964), Henry (1866-1953, succeeded Cosmo as baronet in 1931) and John Cornewall (1869-1964)

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon (Mr Morgan)
Age: 49 years 8 months and 24 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Last Residence: in London, England
Occupation: Landowner
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 11755, £39 12s
Cabin No. A16
Rescued (boat 1)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Buried: Brookwood Cemetery, London, England

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References and Sources

Board of Trade Hearings, Day 10 Testimony , Day 11 Testimony
Daily Sketch, 17 April 1912
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757
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

Research Articles

Lee Kendall Titanica! (2006) A Pen to Sink a Thousand Ships
The British Titanic Inquiry and the Art of Fortunino Matania
Senan Molony Titanica! (2008) 12.45am - A Time to Go!
What time did the first lifeboat depart the Titanic?
Lady Duff Gordon Titanica! (2010) I was saved from the Titanic
A vivid eyewitness account of the legendary shipwreck and its aftermath. Edited by Randy Bryan Bigham

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (29 July 1869) PERSONAL - Lady Duff Gordon
New York Times (13 September 1902) Latest Items About the Doings of Authors and Publishers
The Times (28 February 1906) The Olympian Games
New York Times (4 August 1907) SOCIETY---HOME AND ABROAD
Chicago Evening Post (16 April 1912) AMERICANS IN PARIS MOURN LOST KINSMEN
Associated Press (16 April 1912) Profound Grief Felt over Paris - Lady Duff Gordon and her Husband Probably Among the Dead
Denver Post (17 April 1912) Lady Duff-Gordon and Husband Among Those on Titanic
New York Times (17 April 1912) The Duff Gordons
Daily Graphic (20 April 1912) SOME OF THE SAVED
Officer on Titanic's Bridge Had Warning of the Iceberg from the Crow's Nest.
Daily Sketch (24 April 1912) Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon in 1896, age 34
Western Morning News (29 April 1912) Ugborough Man's Story
The Times (21 May 1912) The Titanic Inquiry: Lady Duff Gordon's Evidence
New York Times (21 April 1931) SIR COSMO DUFF-GORDON
Time Magazine (4 May 1931) Milestones
New York American (22 April 1935) Death Closes Career of Lady Duff Gordon
New York Times (22 April 1935) LADY DUFF GORDON, STYLE EXPERT, DIES


Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon
Elinor Glin on her sister Lady Duff Gordon's Titanic ordeal
Lady Duff Gordon
Portrait of Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon
Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon
Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon
Sir Henry William ('Harry') Duff Gordon, younger brother of Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon
Lady Duff Gordon Crochet Book
Lucile tea gowns
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