Officers of the RMS Titanic
Last Photograph of the Some of the Officers and Complements of the RMS Titanic. Reading from left to right:—Captain E. J. Smith. Dr. W. F. OLoughlin. First Officer W. M. Murdoch and Purser H. W. McElroy. GGA Image ID # 1055351a2b
The Titanic's officers were no novices and were well trained in the knowledge of this and all other dangers of the sea. From the Captain down, they were the pick of the best that the White Star Line had in its employ. Our Captain, Edward J. Smith, was the one always selected to "try out" each new ship of the Line and was regarded, with his thirty-eight years of service in the company, as both safe and competent.
Surviving Officers With Their Signature: H. G. Lowe, H. J. Pitman, C. H. Lightoller, and J. G. Boxhall, nd, circa 1913. GGA Image ID # 170cacce4c
RMS Titanic Deck Officers' Qualifications
Captain Edward John Smith Who Went Down with His Ship. The Literary Digest (27 April 1912) p. 865. GGA Image ID # 1084643a7b
A complete listing of the Officers of the RMS Titanic who were part of the Deck department. Rank, designations, and certificates of competence were also included for all officers.
- Captain: Commander Edward John Smith, RNR (Retd) (Note 1)
- Chief Officer: Lieutenant Henry Tingle Wilde, RNR
- First Officer: Lieutenant William McMaster Murdoch, RNR
- Second Officer: Sub-Lieutenant Charles Herbert Lightoller, RNR
- Third Officer: Mr. Herbert John Pitman (Note 2)
- Fourth Officer: Sub-Lieutenant Joseph Groves Boxhall, RNR
- Fifth Officer: Sub-Lieutenant Harold Godfrey Lowe, RNR
- Sixth Officer: Sub-Lieutenant James Paul Moody, RNR
Officers and Complements of the RMS Titanic. From left to right, seated In the foreground, are Chief Surgeon W. F. N. O’Laughlin; First Officer H. T. Wilde, and Purser W. McElroy. Directly in the foreground Captain E. 'Smith, and standing in the rear are other of the ship’s officers. New York American (17 April 1912) p. 6-7. GGA Image ID # 10b1ac3e3b
Master Certificates Held by the Titanic Officers
Certificates of Competency will be granted by the Board of Trade to all mates and masters who have passed examinations, whether under the old or the present regulations, and also to all officers who have passed Lieutenants', Masters', and Second Masters' examinations in the Royal Navy and East India Company's Service, unless special reasons to the contrary exist; and any person desirous of exchanging a passing certificate—obtained under the former Board of Examiners—for a Certificate of Competency, should send it to the RegistrarGeneral, as before mentioned, with a request to that effect, and state the port to which he wishes it to be sent, where it will be delivered to him by the Collector of Customs or the Shipping Master.
- Captain, Edward Charles Smith, held an Extra Master’s Certificate;
- Chief Officer, H. F. Wilde, held an Ordinary Master's Certificate;
- First Officer, W. M. Murdoch, held an Ordinary Master's Certificate;
- Second Officer, C. H. Lightoller, held an Extra Master's Certificate;
- Third Officer, H. J. Pitman, held an Ordinary Master's Certificate;
- Fourth Officer, J. G. Boxhall, held an Extra Master's Certificate;
- Fifth Officer, H. G. Lowe, held an Ordinary Master's Certificate;
- Sixth Officer, J. P. Moody, held an Ordinary Master's Certificate.
Ordinary Master's Certificate
A MASTER must be twenty-one years of age, and have been six years at sea, of which one year must have been as first or Only Mate, and one year as Second Mate; or two years as First and Only Mate. (Service in a superior capacity is in all cases to be equivalent to service in an inferior capacity.)
Extra Master's Certificate
An EXTRA MASTER'S EXAMINATION is intended for such persons as are desirous of obtaining command of ships and steamers of the first class. Before being examined for an Extra Master's Certificate an applicant must have served one year as a Master with an ordinary Certificate of Competency, or as a Master having a First Class Certificate granted by one of the former Boards of Examiners.
Royal Navy Reserve
The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present RNR was formed by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve, created in 1859, and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), created in 1903. The Royal Naval Reserve has seen action in World War I, World War II, the Iraq War and Afghanistan.
Note 1: Captain Edward John Smith RD RNR – held the rank of commander within the RNR. He was captain of the White Star Line ships RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic, among others, and was Retired from the Royal Navy Reserves. He continued to use the RNR designation with (Retd) indicating he is retired from the Reserves.
Note 2: Pitman was the only officer not in the Royal Naval Reserve. In May 1900 he passed the examination for second mate, in June 1902 the examination as first mate and qualified as a master mariner in August 1906.
Ranks held in the Royal Navy Reserve
- Fleet Admiral
- Vice Admiral
- Rear Admiral
- Lieutenant Commander
- Sub Lieutenant
- Officer Cadet
Note: The Surgeon, Purser, and Chief Engineer were also officers, but for consistency with our source materials, are included with the crew lists.
The Career of Captain E. J. Smith of the Titanic
The Late E. J. (Edward James ) Smith, RNR, Captain of the RMS Titanic and Commodore of the White Star Line (27 January 1850 – 15 April 1912). The Sphere (27 April 1912) p. 69. GGA Image ID # 110a8ff688
The Voyage of Disaster: Exclusive Captain E. J. Smith At Last Falls Victim of the Dangerous Berg, the Bane of the Seasoned Mariner's Life — Remarkable Career.
NEW YORK. April 17.- Captain E. J. Smith, Into whose hands the passengers on the Titanic entrusted themselves on the voyage which will never be forgotten In the list of great sea disasters, had followed the sea from his boyhood.
For 40 years It was his proud boast that he had had an uneventful life. That is why he was promoted to the highest post in the gift of the White Star Line. Events came crowding upon him only in the winter of his life, and with events came misfortune.
He rose from the ranks. As a boy, in l869, he went on the American clipper Senator Weber, serving as an apprentice. In 1876, he shipped with the square rigger Lizzie Fennel as the fourth officer, and in 1880, he had risen to the rank of fourth officer of the old White Star Line steamship Celtic -- the nominal ancestor of the present vessel of that name.
In 1887, he went to the Republic as captain and later to the Baltic. Thus he saw service and held command on the old vessels fro which the present giants of the White Star Line are named.
More afterward, Captain Smith took command of the freighter Cufic and then the Runic. Then he went to the old Adriatic, the Celtic, Britannic, Coptic, in the Australian trade; the Germanic, Majestic, Baltic, and then to the Adriatic.
In all this time, he served the line quietly, and his name was seldom heard. His rise in rank and importance was commensurate with the same uneventfulness of his command.
When, in 1907, he came to this port in command of the Adriatic on her maiden trip, he said:
"When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experiences of nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say uneventful. Of course, there have been winter gales and storms and fog and the like, but in all my experience,
"I have never been in an accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea, a brig, the crew of which was taken off in a small boat in charge of my third officer. I never saw a wreck and have never been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.
"The love of the ocean that took me to sea as a boy," he added, "has never left me. In a way, a certain amount of wonder never leaves me, especially as I observe from the bridge a vessel plunging up and down in the trough of the seas, fighting her way through and over great waves. A man never outgrows that."
Captain Smith maintained that shipbuilding was such a perfect art nowadays that absolute disaster, involving the passengers on a great mammoth liner, was quite unthinkable.
Whatever happened, he contended, there would be time before the vessel sank to save the lives of every person on board.
"I will go a bit further," he said. "I will say that I cannot imagine any condition which could cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gown beyond that."
The first misfortune came into Captain Smith's life but recently. That was when the great Olympic, sister ship of the Titanic, was rammed by the British cruiser Hawke, off the Isle of Wight, on 20 September 1911.
A great hole was stove into her steel ribs, and she was forced to put back in Southampton. The Hawke, even more severely damaged, put over to Portsmouth for repairs.
The Hawke was at first blamed for the accident, but the British court of admiralty, after a lengthy investigation, decided that here commander was blameless in the matter, inasmuch as his ship had been drawn out of its course and toward the Olympic by the tremendous suction of the Olympic's engines and the swish of water alongside her as she passed.
In February last, on her way over here, the Olympic under Captain Smith, suffered another accident, when she lost a propeller blade at sea. She was able to complete her journey here, nevertheless, under her own steam.
The fact that despite these recent misadventures, the old captain was not only retained in the employ of the White Star Line, but even was entrusted with the biggest and most responsible command in their power as soon as their largest vessel, the Titanic, was launched, showed the esteem and trust in when he was held by the line.
RMS Titanic Chief Officer, Henry F. Wilde
RMS Titanic Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde. An Early Photograph circa 1900. Courtesy of Chris Bayliss/Champ News. GGA Image ID # 1702295d5b
- September 21, 1872 - April 15, 1912
- Age at time of disaster: 39
- Birthplace: Liverpool, England
- 1912 Residence: Liverpool, England
- Salary/Month: 25.00.00 (in English pounds)
- Berth before Titanic: Olympic, Chief Officer
- Description: "Henry Tingle Wilde was not considered a man given to flights of fancy. A tall, powerfully built man, just thirty-eight, he too had worked his ranks from a ship's apprentice in the old square-rigged ships, through the ranks until his appointment as chief officer of the Olympic in May 1911. The White Star Line's management held him in high regard, and Captain Smith valued his skill and experience."
Quote: "I still don't like this ship . . . I have a queer feeling about it." (From a letter to his sister, posted at Queenstown, Ireland, April 11, 1912)
Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde of the RMS Titanic in Dress Uniform. Undated, circa early 1900s. GGA Image ID # 17026b1bca
It was early on the fair morning of April 10, when chief officer Henry Tingle Wilde found himself up and working on what was going to be his ship. After spending the night aboard running shifts with the other officers, he assumed his post as chief officer on Titanic on sailing day.
He'd known for a few days that this was going to be his position and he'd debated about taking it. But he'd been urged to, and so he took it, although reluctantly. "I still don't like this ship...I have a queer feeling about it," he would write to his sister from Queenstown.
His addition was meant to add experience to the ship. Smith requested Wilde for Titanic's chief for the high profile maiden voyage.
His addition, however, had also shuffled the senior officers--moving William Murdoch down to the first officer, Charles Lightoller down to the second officer, and moving David Blair off-ship entirely. The arrangement would only last for one crossing--to New York and back again.
At 7:30 AM on April 10, Wilde delivered the sailing report to Captain Smith. At 8 AM, there was the Board of Trade muster, called by the chief officer, where all the members of the crew had to be present. This muster included an inspection by the officers and a boat drill. The boat drill was led by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe and Sixth Officer James Moody. At noon, they launched, heading for Cherbourg, France. Titanic had begun her maiden voyage.
Henry Tingle Wilde was born September 21, 1872, at Walton, near Liverpool, England. Not much is known about his childhood, parents, or upbringing. Wilde begins to exist with his career and marriage.
Wilde was married before 1900 to Mary Catherine Jones, who was a few years older than him. With her, he fathered six children. The twin boys, Archie and Richard, died in infancy, and Mary Catherine passed away soon after on December 24, 1910, from complications in childbirth.
Wilde apprenticed on the sailing ships of James Chambers, then transferred to the Maranhan Steamship Company after obtaining his second mate's certificate. Shortly after earning his master's certificate (#024371), Wilde left Maranhan and joined White Star.
With his new line, Wilde served the North Atlantic and Australian routes: sailing with Arabic (Boston run, passenger ship, June-October 1905), Celtic (2nd Celtic, one of the "Big Four", December 1905-April 1906), Medic (passenger ship, September 1906-April 1908), and Cymric (passenger ship, June-September, 1908).
In only four years, Wilde became the chief officer of White Star's largest vessel, the Olympic--largest, until her sister ship, Titanic, was ready to launch.
Wilde was chief (but not in command) on September 11, 1911, when the Olympic, on its fifth voyage, collided with the HMS Hawke. The accident left two gashes in the Olympic starboard rear side, one above the water line and one below. The starboard propeller was also severely damaged.
In the following court case, Olympic was held responsible for the damages, the tribunal blaming the ship's wake for having pulled the Hawke off course and into the hull of the Olympic. This same force would be seen again when the New York almost collided with the Titanic on April 10. This second time, Smith avoided an accident.
Onboard Titanic, Wilde served his familiar chief officer's shift, from 2-6 AM and 2-6 PM, in which time as "Officer of the Watch", he had complete control of the ship. On April 14, the lifeboat drill was forgone. Wilde came on at 2 PM and was relieved by Lightoller at 6 PM.
"It's rather colder than usual," Wilde commented. Lightoller agreed. Later, the second officer would have the ship's carpenter check the freshwater supply and talk with Murdoch that it was freezing cold.
Where Wilde was when the ship struck the iceberg was not recorded, but he appeared on the bridge, asking the Captain, "Is it serious?"
"Certainly. It is more than serious," Smith answered. Wilde was then either ordered to or willingly joined the ship inspection that included Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall and the ship's builder, Thomas Andrews.
On this inspection, trimmer Samuel Hemming told Wilde of the air escaping in the forepeak tank. Wilde had put his head around the hawse pipe and asked, "What is that, Hemming?" Hemming explained there was air escaping but that the storeroom was still dry.
Also, it appears some stokers from D deck made their way to the boat deck, wearing life belts and in a panic. Fireman John Thompson reported that when they reached the deck, the chief officer demanded, "What in the hell are you doing up here?"
He sent them back down again.
Wilde saw to the uncovering of the boats, while Murdoch roused the passengers. Wilde was left generally in charge of loading the lifeboats, but he didn't move fast enough for Lightoller. When he asked for permission to swing out the boats, Wilde told him to wait. Lightoller went to the bridge and requested Captain Smith for permission. Smith granted it, and Lightoller swung out the boats.
Then Lightoller asked if he could begin loading the boats. Again, Wilde told him to wait, and again Lightoller went to the bridge to get Smith's permission. Furthermore, Smith granted it with "Yes, put the women and children in and lower away." That adage was strictly adhered to on the port side, where Wilde participated most in the loading.
The first boat to go on the port side was either 8 or 6 ---the official British "Report on the Loss of the Titanic (S.O.S)" states 6 lowered at 12:55 was the first---- (Archibald Gracie, who did much painstaking research on the events of April 14-15, believed that Lightoller's testimony pointed to 8 as the first boat to go.)
The official "Report" lists 8 as loaded by Wilde. Witnesses Seaman T. Jones and Steward A. Crawford both said Smith ordered them in.
After the loading of boat 6 by Lightoller, Wilde approached the second officer. "Do you know where the firearms are?"
Lightoller knew that it was the first officer's responsibility to receive firearms, and he himself, as first officer, had taken the guns and locked them away in a locker in the first officer's cabin. Wilde may have known something of this as he asked Lightoller, not Murdoch.
Lightoller answered that he knew where they were, and he, Wilde, Smith, and Murdoch, proceeded to the first officer's cabin. The locker was opened, and out came the pistols. Each officer ended up with one--although, in his own account, Lightoller claims Wilde "shoved one of the revolvers" and some ammunition into his hand as he was leaving.
"You may need it," Wilde told him.
At 1:20 AM, Boat 10 was the next to leave on the port side, loaded by Wilde (with Lightoller and Moody?).
The chief officer, searching for the crew, asked Able Seaman Edward Buley what he did. When Buley answered that he was seaman, Wilde told him to find a second sailor to assist in the boat. Buley found his friend, Fredrick Evans, and Wilde ordered both men into the boat.
Evans stood in the bow of boat 10 as the chief officer and ship’s baker Joughin "chucked" children in and made women jump a gap of two and one-half feet. When the boat contained 35 people, Wilde ordered it lowered.
As women were passed to them, Joughin heard Wilde shout for the stewards to keep the men back, but he saw no reason for the order. The men were held back.
The next boat to fill was number 12, loaded by Lightoller and F. Clench. It was filled with women and children that Clench reported were passed onto them by the chief officer. Boat 10 was then loaded, and Clench returned to boat 12 (while 10 was lowered).
"How many men have you in this boat?" Wilde asked.
"Only one, sir," Clench answered. Able seaman Poigndestre had been placed in charge of 12.
"Jump into that boat," Wilde ordered. Clench obeyed and was saved.
Boat 2, lowered at 1:45, contained only 18 people and was loaded by Lightoller, who stood partially in the boat to assist the ladies in crossing over a high bulwark rail. Wilde saw there were no seamen available, and Lightoller was already standing in the boat.
"You go with her, Lightoller," he said. "Not damn likely," Lightoller shot back.
Wilde's reaction to Lightoller's insubordination was not recorded. Fourth officer Joseph Boxhall was sent in charge instead. Seaman Frank Osman reported that the chief officer loaded the emergency boat with 25 people, including four crewmen and a third class male passenger.
On the starboard side, Wilde assisted with the loading of Engelhardt boat C, lowered at 1:40 AM. Wilde called for a sailor, and Captain Smith ordered Quartermaster George Rowe into the boat.
Wilde called, "Are there any more women and children?"
There was no reply. As there were still empty places in the boat, both White Star Line president J. Bruce Ismay and Mr. William Carter slipped into the boat before it was lowered. Rowe testified that no one asked them into the boat, nor did Wilde order them into the boat.
Wilde may have been at boat A or B when the "great wave" struck the boat, sweeping crew and passengers off the deck.
Henry Tingle Wilde died on board or in the water on April 15, 1912. What happened to him, in the end, is unknown. His body was never recovered.
Wilde's grave, although empty, is located next to his wife's. In 1910, when he buried her, his Royal Navy ranking was listed as lieutenant. In 1912, his tomb was marked with Captain--R.N.R.
The Titanic Relief Fund provided a stipend for Wilde's children. Mrs. Smith, Captain Smith's wife, later requested these payments be increased.
Today, even in his home town, Wilde is relatively unknown. In the February 24, 1998, Titanic supplement of the Liverpool Echo, Wilde only warrants a small mention: "Liverpool's forgotten hero, Chief Officer Henry Wilde, was hauled up from obscurity in 1996.
Officer Wilde, from Walton, flits through the inquiry evidence, but witnesses have described how Wilde supervised the loading of the lifeboats and stopped 100 people rushing them by the sheer force of his personality.
He is believed to have prevented a panic, which would have led to even greater losses."
Wilde Card--Did Wilde shoot himself April 15, 1912?
"While the last boat was leaving, I saw an officer with a revolver fire a shot and kill a man who was trying to climb into it. As there remained nothing else for him to, the officer told us, "Gentlemen, each man for himself. Goodbye." He gave a military salute and then fired a bullet into his head. That's what I call a man!"
A letter dated April 19, 1912, from George Rheims, who survived on collapsible A (translated French from Walter Lord's The Night Lives On) Was it First Officer Murdoch who pulled the trigger as is so often depicted and accepted--or was it, Chief Officer Wilde?
The crew seemed confused enough about which officer was which. Seamen Buley and Evans, who loaded boat 10 with Wilde referred to him as Chief Officer Murdoch, as seaman Osman, in the loading of boat 2, reported Murdoch ordered him in. The crew knew his rank, but not his name--after all, wasn't Murdoch their chief until April 10?
What's lacking is a strong motive. There are possibilities--Wilde may have felt unwelcome on the ship. He was the last-minute usurper, and it's obvious that Lightoller didn't take to him. First Officer Murdoch, the man Wilde replaced, however, knew and had served under the chief officer on the Olympic. Both had served under Captain Smith--and it must have been stressful--this arrangement of officers was only for one voyage.
Wilde was also uncomfortable with the ship itself, as evidenced in his letter to his sister. He reluctantly took the assignment through the urging of his family, perhaps with the suggestion that soon enough he would be made a captain himself.
Finally, there is the persistent but unverified rumor that Wilde had recently lost part of his family to scarlet fever and that the stress of this had driven him to suicide. Wilde had suffered a harsh personal tragedy on December 24, 1910, when his wife, Mary Catherine, passed away from complications in childbirth. Their twin sons, Archie and Richard also died. The possibility that this could have suddenly driven him suicidal--a year and a half later--seems unlikely. Wilde had four surviving children ages 3 to 12 at home. He was most likely about to receive a promotion. Wilde had plenty to live for.
Could it have been "noble suicide"--of the kind that caused Rheims to exclaim, "That's what I call a man."? The noble suicide ideal was not dead in Edwardian England. The post-modern belief in wasted, senseless life was still a world war away. The theory of Wilde "manfully" taking his own life is possible but doesn't single him out over Murdoch or Purser McElroy as the suicide.
Of course, it's also possible that no suicide took place at all. Lightoller didn't believe one had, and neither did Archibald Gracie. Both men were within earshot of Murdoch--and Wilde--in the loading of the final collapsible.
Gracie described Wilde's end: "Clinch Smith and I got away from this point just before the water reached it and drowned Chief Officer Wilde and First Officer Murdoch and others who were not successful in effecting a lodgment on the boat as it was swept off the deck." Perhaps Wilde even approached Collapsible B. Jack Thayer heard the call go around, "Is the Chief aboard?" He didn't know who that meant--Wilde, Smith, or Bell. "I do know that one of the circular life rings from the bridge was there when we got off in the morning. It may be that Captain Smith was aboard with us for a while. Nobody knew where the "Chief" was," Thayer wrote.
Wilde After Death--Portrayals of the Chief Officer
The James Cameron Titanic most prominently features Wilde, played by Mark Lindsay Chapman.
This Wilde seems to follow his historical model more or less accurately, although he doesn't make an appearance in the film until he shows up behind Murdoch as Smith asks how many souls are aboard. He is also shown following Boxhall, Andrews, and the Captain as Boxhall gives the damage report.
Wilde leads the uncovering of the boats and explains to Andrews that no one will come outside to be loaded because it's too damn cold and noisy. In the actual loading of the boats, Wilde is the officer in charge of the lowering of the boat Rose (Kate Winslet) first gets into (he's the officer waving his arms in slow motion). Wilde is also the officer loading with Murdoch (Ewan Stewart) when the final panic begins, and Murdoch shoots two passengers--and then himself. Wilde shouts, "Don't, Will." But too late. Cal (Billy Zane) then approaches Wilde with the child in his arms, and Wilde lets him through.
As the water rushes up on to the last two boats, Wilde screams for the crew to cut the falls on collapsible A, then grabs a knife to help. He can be seen holding his pistol butt first. In the water, Wilde floats on a deck chair (he appears to not be wearing a life preserver?) and blows his officer's whistle, calling for the others to "Return the boats".
He is unheeded (and most likely unheard) and meets his end in the water, clutching his deck chair. Rose removes the whistle from his mouth and calls Lowe's attention. In this version, even in death, Wilde proves useful. Most versions of the Titanic story choose to ignore Wilde.
Only two other versions mention him--the 1953 20th Century Fox movie, Titanic, had an uncredited Charles Fitzsimmons playing Wilde and the 1979 TV movie, S.O.S. Titanic featured Tony Caunter as Wilde.
Most interpretations don't go to the effort of the 1996 CBS mini-series, where Murdoch wears three stripes, instead of two, marking him as chief officer. They quietly forget Wilde instead, never explaining the jump in stripes from Murdoch's two to Smith's four.
RMS Titanic First Officer William McMaster Murdoch
First Officer William M. Murdoch of the RMS Titanic. nd circa 1910. Sinking of the Titanic, 1912. GGA Image ID # 17029bb566
William Murdoch Fast Facts
- Date of birth: 28th of February, 1873
- Place of birth: Dalbeattie, Scotland
- Married: 2nd of September 1907
- Spouse: Ada Florence Banks
- Children: None
- Address: 94 Belmont Road, Portswood, Southampton
- Crew position: Titanic's First Officer
- Service: Lieutenant, R.N.R.
- Date of death: 15 April, 1912
- Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered; possible suicide
Thirty-nine year-old William McMaster Murdoch, with an "ordinary master's certificate" and a reputation as a "canny and dependable man", had climbed through the ranks of the White Star Line to become one of its foremost senior officers. It was only natural that he was selected to be Titanic's Chief Officer, with sixteen years of maritime experience now behind him.
William McMaster Murdoch Shown Here in His 30s. nd, circa 1910. GGA Image ID # 1702b20867
From Quartermaster R. Hitchins, one of the few living members of the Titanic’s crew and who was on the bridge with First Officer Murdoch when she struck the iceberg, it became known that the vessel was traveling between twenty-one and twenty-two knots an hour. This speed had been maintained from the very start of the voyage, in an attempt to create a maiden record. Posted on Sunday morning in the first cabin was a notice stating that Saturday’s run had totaled 546 knots, and that on the morrow, the fatal fourteenth of April, this run would be exceeded.
It is apparent, therefore, that the engine-room force of the Titanic was acting under orders to crowd the new ship to her limit. This is borne out by the fact that the Titanic was, at the moment of collision, 1,799 miles out from Queenstown and 1,191 miles northeast of New York. Not one of the engineers survived.
Quartermaster Hitchins has followed the sea for fifteen years. He is an experienced Bailor. His narrative of the accident, as told to a reporter for Leslie’s Weekly, follows:
"I went on watch at four bells (eight o'clock) on Sunday night, and I stood by the man at the wheel until four bells (ten o’clock). At that time I took the wheel for my trick of two hours, while the man I had just relieved stood by me. On the bridge at the time I had the wheel were First Officer Murdoch and Fourth Officer Boxhall (who was saved).
Captain Smith was below. Second Officer Lightoller, who was on watch from four bells to four bells, while I stood by the other quartermaster, sent me, a little after eight o’clock, to tell the chief steward that the temperature was getting very low (it was then 31 degrees above zero Fahrenheit) and that he should look carefully after his freshwater supply, as it might freeze. There were icebergs in sight then, as the night was beautifully calm and clear, but quite cold, and the two men in the crow’s-nest (Fleet was the name of one, but I have forgotten the other's) were told to keep a careful lookout for ice.
"At the time I took the wheel (ten o'clock), Second Officer Lightoller was relieved by First Officer Murdoch. A little before eight bells (midnight), by perhaps twenty minutes, the lookouts in the crow’s-nest signaled the bridge there was a large iceberg dead ahead.
“‘Port your helm!’ was the instant command of Mr. Murdoch, and I saw his hand go to the signal lever and swing it to ‘stop. We swung to port, but we were too near the berg to avoid it, and it hit us on our starboard bow, about one hundred feet aft of the bow.
Mr. Murdoch had signaled for the closing of the watertight compartment doors, but the jar of collision threw them out of working order.
“The Titanic did not hit hard. She rose slightly, as her keel scraped on the submerged portion of the iceberg, and listed to port, and the upper portion of the iceberg came crashing over onto the deck and parts of it fell on the bridge.
“Captain Smith appeared almost instantly on the bridge. His first command was, ‘Close the emergency doors!”
“‘They’re closed, sir,’ Mr. Murdoch replied.
“Instruct the carpenter to sound the ship!” was Captain Smith’s next command. I may say here that the carpenter went below immediately, never to reappear, and he was probably the first man aboard the Titanic to lose his life. When he did not reappear promptly. Captain Smith sent two other men to find him or report conditions below, but these two men likewise failed to show up. The commutator on the bridge showed a five-degree list to port at this time, with the bow slightly lower than the stern, showing she was making water.
“All the steam sirens were blowing. The pumps were started, by Captain Smith’s orders; he told Wireless Operator Phillips to give the C. Q. D. signal or the S. O. S.
Quartermaster Rowe was ordered to send up rockets from the bridge. All hands were ordered on deck, and the crew issued life belts to all the passengers aa they came on deck.
RMS Titanic Second Officer, Charles H. Lightoller
Charles H. Lightoller, DSC & Bar, R.D., R.N.R., Second Officer and Highest Ranking Officer to Survive the Sinking of the RMS Titanic. nd circa 1925. GGA Image ID # 1702ba7faa
Charles Lightoller Fast Facts
- Date of Birth: March 30 1874
- Place of Birth: Chorley, Lancashire, England
- Marital Status: Married
- Spouse: Sylvia Hawley-Wilson
- Children: 5 children: Roger, Trevor, Mavis, Doreen and Brian
- Address (at time of Titanic disaster): Nikko Lodge, 110 Station Road, Netley Abbey village, Hampshire, England
- Crew Position: Titanic's Second Officer
- Service: DSC & Bar, R.D., R.N.R.
- Date of Death: 8 December 1952
- Cause of Death: Chronic heart disease, aged 78
One of the most wonderful escapes from the Titanic was that of the second officer, Mr. Charles Lightoller, whose evidence before the Senatorial Committee in New York was of great importance. On the night of the disaster he was in charge of the ship until 10 p.m., when he was relieved by the first officer, Mr. Murdock.
When the crash came, he supervised the lowering of the boats, and stuck to the ship until the water was up to his ankles. Asked at the inquiry whether he had sent the women first by Captain Smith's orders, or because it was the rule of the sea, he replied, “ It is the rule of human nature."
When the Titanic was actually sinking, Mr. Lightoller dived into the sea. He was sucked down and twice blown to the surface by explosions under water. He came up near a capsized collapsible boat and clung" to it. A funnel fell within a few inches of him and killed many swimmers. Eventually he was picked up by a lifeboat. He said, in his evidence, that the speed of the Titanic when she struck was between 21 and 22 knots. (The Illustrated London News, 11 May 1912, p. 686)
Charles Herbert Lightoller
Charles Herbert Lightoller, second officer of the Titanic, said he understood the maximum speed of the Titanic, as shown by its trial tests, to have been 22 ½ to 28 knots.
Senator Smith asked if the rule requiring lifesaving apparatus to be in each room for each passenger was complied with. “Everything was complete,” said Lightoller. During the tests, he said, Capt. Clark of the British Board of Trade was aboard the Titanic to inspect its life saving equipment.
“How thorough are these captains of the Board of Trade in inspecting ships?” asked Senator Smith.
“Capt. Clark is so thorough that we called him a nuisance.” Lightoller said he was in the sea with a life belt on one hour and a half after the Titanic sank. When it sank he was in the officers’ quarters and all but one of the life boats were gone. This one was caught in the tackle and they were trying to free it.
Lightoller said that on Sunday he saw a message from “some ship” about an iceberg ahead. He did not know the Amerika sent the message, he testified. The ship was making about 21 to 21 ½ knots, the weather was clear and fair, and no anxiety about ice was felt, so no extra lookouts were put on.
“When Capt. Smith came on the bridge at five minutes of 9, what was said?”
“We talked together generally for twenty or twenty five minutes about when we might expect to get to the ice fields. He left the bridge, I think, about twenty five minutes after 9 o'clock, and during our talk he told me to keep the ship on its course, but that if I was the slightest degree doubtful as conditions developed to let him know at once.”
“What time did you leave the bridge?”
“I turned over the watch to First Officer Murdoch at 10 o’clock. We talked about the ice that we had heard was afloat, and I remember we agreed we should reach the reported longitude of the ice floes about 11 o'clock, an hour later. At that time, the weather was calm and clear. I remember we talked about the distance we could see. We could see stars in the horizon. It was very clear.”
Lightoller testified that the Titanic's decks were absolutely intact when it went down. The last order he heard the captain give was to lower the boats. The last boat, a flat collapsible, to put off was the one on top the officers' quarters. Men jumped upon it on deck and waited for the water to float it off. Once at sea it upset. The forward funnel fell into the water, just missing the raft, and overturning it. The funnel probably killed persons in the water.
“This was the boat I eventually got on. No one was on it when I reached it. Later about thirty men clambered out of the water on to it. All had on life preservers.”
“Did any passengers get on?” asked Senator Smith.
“J. B. Thayer, Col. Gracie and the second Marconi operator were among them. All the rest taken out of the water were firemen. Two of these died that night and slipped off into the water. I think the senior Marconi operator was one of the three. We took on board all we could and there were no others in the water near at hand.
When Lightoller left he saw no women or children on board, though there were a number of passengers on the boat deck. The passengers were selected to fill the boats by sex, Lightoller himself putting on all the women he saw, except the stewardesses. He saw some women refuse to go.
In the first boat to be put off Lightoller said he put twenty to twenty-five. Two seamen were placed in it. The officer said he could spare no more, and that the fact that women rowed did not show the boat was not fully equipped.
At that time he did not believe the danger was great. Two seamen placed in the boat, he said, were selected by him, but he could not recall who they were. He said he named them because they were standing near. The second boat carried thirty passengers, with two men.
“By the time I came to the third boat I began to realize that the situation was serious, and I began to take chances. I filled it up as full as I dared, sir—about thirty-five, I think.”
In loading the fourth lifeboat, Lightoller said he was running short of seamen. “I put two seamen in, and one jumped out. That was the first boat I had to put a man passenger in. He was standing nearby and said he would go if I needed him. “I said, ‘Are you a sailor?’ and he replied that he was a yachtsman.
Then I told him that if he was sailor enough to get out over the bulwarks to the lifeboat, to go ahead. He did, and proved himself afterward to be a brave man. I didn't know him then, but afterward I looked him up. He was Maj. Peuchen of Toronto.”
Of the fifth boat Lightoller had no particular recollection. “The last boat I put out, my sixth boat,” he said, “we had difficulty finding women. I called for women and none were on deck. The men began to get in— and then women appeared. As rapidly as they did, the men passengers got out of the boat again.”
“The boat's deck was only ten feet from the water when I lowered the sixth boat. When we lowered the first the distance to the water was seventy feet.” All told, Lightoller testified, 210 members of the crew were saved.
“If the same course was pursued on the starboard side as you pursued on the port in filling boats, how do you account for so many members of the crew being saved?” asked Chairman Smith.
“I have inquired especially and have found that for every six persons picked up five were either firemen or stewards.”
Some lifeboats, the witness said, went back after the Titanic sank and picked up men from the sea.
Lightoller said he stood on top of the officers’ quarters and as the ship dived he faced forward and dived also. “I was sucked against a blower and held there. A terrific gust came up the blower—the boilers must have exploded—and I was blown clear—barely clear. I was sucked down again, this time on the ‘Fidley' grating.” Col. Gracie's experience was similar.
Lightoller did not know how he got loose, perhaps another explosion. He came up by a boat, on which he clambered.
RMS Titanic Third Officer, Herbert J. Pitman
34-Year Old Third Officer of the RMS Titanic, Mr. Herbert John Pitman. GGA Image ID # 1702ec33a3
Herbert Pitman Fast Facts
- Full Name: Herbert John "Bert" Pitman, MBE
- Date of birth: 20th November 1877
- Place of birth: Sutton Montis, Castle Cary, Somerset, England
- Marital status: Married
- Spouse: Mimi Kalman
- Crew position: Titanic's Third Officer
- Date of death: December 7, 1961
- Cause of death: Subarachnoid hemorrhage, aged 84
The 34-year-old Third Officer Herbert J. Pitman. Pitman, though rather short in stature, was an imposing figure with his pronounced mustache. He was also an extremely capable officer with sixteen years of experience at sea. At the time of the Titanic disaster, his resume included four years with James Nourse (Ltd.), as an apprentice; three years as an officer in the same employ; about twelve months in the Blue Anchor Line, running to Australia; six months in the Shire Line, running to Japan; and five years with the White Star -- Second, third, and fourth officer; second officer for two months on the Dolphin, the Majestic, Oceanic, and the Titanic. He held a master's certificate seven years from the board of trade. His duties on the Titanic comprised of working out celestial observations, finding the deviation of the compass, general supervision around the decks, and looking after the quartermasters; also relieving the bridge if necessary.
Charles Lightower (on right) with RMS Titanic Third Officer Herbert J. Pitman in late April 1912. GGA Image ID # 1702d14210
Herbert J. Pitman, third officer, was the first witness of the day. It had been expected that J. B. Boxhall, fourth officer, would be recalled, but it was announced he was ill.
Pitman said that in the boat drill conducted by the board of trade at Southampton approximately eight men went in each of the two boats used in the drill. The witness maintained that virtually the only way to discover the proximity of icebergs was to see them, asserting that, while science may hold there are numerous ways, they never have been demonstrated.
Pitman was on the bridge of the Titanic from 6 to 8 o'clock the night of the collision. After that he went to his berth. Half asleep at the time of the accident, he said he wondered sleepily where they were anchoring.
It was nearly time for his next watch, so he dressed leisurely and was lighting his pipe when Mr. Boxhall told him the ship had struck an iceberg. He went forward and saw ice, and then walked back, where a number of firemen coming up told him there was water in the hatch.
Going on deck he met a man whom he afterward learned was Mr. Ismay, who said, “Hurry, there's no time for fooling.” Mr. Ismay helped him load the boat in which Pitman embarked on orders from Mr. Murdoch after calling for more women passengers and finding there was none in sight.
The witness said that just before the boat pulled away Mr. Murdoch leaned over, shook his hand, and said, “Good-by and good luck, Old man.”
“When you shook hands with Murdoch did you expect to see him again?”
“Do you think he expected to see you again?”
“Apparently not, but I expected fully to be back on the ship in a few hours.”
Pitman told of the placing on the chart of crosses indicating the presence of icebergs by the fourth officer and said that the speed had been increased from twenty and one-half knots on leaving Southampton to twenty one and one-half knots and that he supposed the ship was going at top speed when it struck. The witness said he had not seen any Morse signals on the Titanic and did not of his personal knowledge know of the presence of another ship, but that he later had heard that one had passed.
Senator Smith referred to Third Officer Pitman’s testimony in which he said there were thirty-five persons in lifeboat No. 5. That being the case, he asked why Pitman could not have gone to the rescue of the drowning, whose cries he heard plainly, but did not heed.
“Had he attempted to rescue those in the water he would have endangered the lives of those with him,” Lowe asserted.
Third Officer Herbert John Pitman of the Titanic appeared for a minute on the stand just before adjournment was taken, but he answered one question only, as to the fate of the log. So far as he knew, that important document today is at the bottom of the sea.
Blown-up Section Showing Herbert John Pitman Taken From a Photo of the Four Surviving Senior Officers of the RMS Titanic Circa 1913. GGA Image ID # 17033f4a3b
THIRD OFFICER'S TESTIMONY
Mr. Pitman, tho third officer, was oxamined first. Mr- Pitman had been in bed at the time of the shock. On dressing and going on deck he was rnet by Mr. Lenay, who told him in a low voice that the thing was serious and that the women and children must be put into the boats.
Mr. Pitman went to tho captain for his orders before setting to work. Mr. Ismay holpod him and Murdock and tho other officers, and when Murdock ordered Pitman into a boat Mr. Ismay was still on the deck.
It was a collapsible boat in which Mr. Ismay eventually found a place after no more women could be found. Mr. Pitman testified that 'there had been no boat drill since tho ship left Southampton, though both boat and fire drills were, he said, usually held on Sundays.
He further said that the canvas bucket for taking the temperature of tbe water was wanting and an ordinary tin bucket was used instead. The boats were not filled to their limit bocause there wore not enough womon on deck. It was not made cloar why, in default of women, men were not taken. - 22 April 1912, Senate Inquiry.
DIGEST OF TESTIMONY
COLLISION, EFFECT OF:"A sound like the ship coining to anchor * * * just a little vibration," Officer Pitman
DISTRESS SIGNALS FIRED: "About a dozen rockets were fired," Officer Pitman
ICE: "The chart showed icebergs away to the north of the track," Pitman
"The iceberg was to the northward of the southerly track, between the northern and southern track," Pitman
"We were keeping a special lookout for ice * * from 10 o'clock on," Officer Pitman
SEARCHLIGHTS: "Might have revealed ice," Officer Pitman
SHIP LIGHT IN DISTANCE: "We waited until we were certain it waa a steamer, and then pulled toward her," Pitman
SHIP SINKING: "Turned right on end and went down perpendicularly," Pitman
"Did not break in two," Pitman
SHIP SINKING, EXPLOSIONS: "Four. Assumed it was bulkheads going," Pitman
SPEED: "About 21 1/2 knots—20 1/4, 20 1/2, 21, 21 1/2," Officer Pitman
WATER ADMITTED TO SHIP: " I saw the water flowing over the hatch No. 1 in firemen's quarters," Officer Pitman
No. 5 boat: Loaded by Officer Pitman, assisted by Mr. Ismay
Pitman ordered in by Murdock
No. 7 boat (first starboard boat): Between 30 and 40, Pitman
RMS Titanic Fourth Officer, Joseph G. Boxhall
RMS RMS Titanic's Fourth Officer, Joseph Grove Boxhall in Dress Uniform. Shown Here Aboard the RMS Oceanic Where He Was the Fifth Officer, 6 June 1909. GGA Image ID # 1703754711
Joseph Boxhall, Jr. Fast Facts
- Full Name: Joseph Grove Boxhall, Jr., R.D., R.N.R.
- Date of birth: 23rd March 1884
- Place of birth: Kingston-upon-Hull (Hull), Yorkshire, England
- Marital status: Married
- Spouse: Marjory Beddells
- Crew position: Titanic's Fourth Officer
- Service: Lt. Cmdr., R.N.R. (1923-05-27)
- Date of death: 25 April 1967
- Cause of death: Cerebral thrombosis, aged 83
Joseph G. Boxhall, although selected as the fourth officer on the Titanic, actually held the highest maritime certificate of extra Master since 1904. He later served as a naval officer in World War I aboard the battleship HMS Commonwealth and later in command of a torpedo boat.
Mr. Boxhall returned to White Star Line after the war in May 1919, serving on the Olympic, and Aquitania until he retired in 1940. He was a technical advisor for the film adaptation of Walter Lord's motion picture A Night to Remember in 1958.
At the time of the Titanic Disaster, Mr. Boxhall at Thirteen years' experience at sea. The first four years as an apprentice and the remainder of the time as an officer. He served in William Thomas's in Liverpool, and was then an officer on the Wilson Line of Hull; and after that on the White Star Lane.
He had been with White Star Line almost 4 ½ years. As a junior officer, ranking as fifth. and. sixth officer, and third officer; and then as fourth officer on the last ship. He had 12 months training in a navigation school in Hull, England.
Board of Trade Extra Master Certificate of Competency Awarded to Joseph Groves Boxhall, the Fourth Officer on the Titanic, 16 September 1904. An EXTRA MASTER’S EXAMINATION is intended for such persons as are desirous of obtaining command of ships and steamers of the first class. Before being examined for an Extra Master’s Certificate an applicant must have served one year as a Master with an ordinary Certificate of Competency, or as a Master having a First Class Certificate granted by one of the former Boards of Examiners. GGA Image ID # 17035fa708
Testimony Excerpts from Joseph Boxhall
Boxhall testified to the sobriety and good habits of his superior and brother officers.
“Lightoller was on the bridge when I came on at 8 o'clock. He was relieved at 10 o'clock by Mr. Murdoch, who remained until the accident happened. Moody, the sixth officer, was on deck also. Fleland Leigh and the bridge officer, Mr. Murdoch, were on the lookout,” said Boxhall.
Under questioning Boxhall said Captain Smith had told him of the position of certain icebergs which he marked on the chart.
Senator Smith then asked the witness: “Do you know whether the temperature of the water taken from the sea was tested?”
“Yes, sir; I saw the quartermaster doing it. He reported to the junior officer, Mr. Moody.”
“Did you see the captain frequently Sunday night?” asked Senator Smith.
“Yes, sir; sometimes on the upper deck, sometimes in the chart room; sometimes on the bridge, and sometimes in the wheelhouse.”
“Was the captain on the bridge or at any of the other places when you went on watch at 8 o'clock?”
“No, I first saw the captain about 9 o'clock.”
“Did you see Mr. Ismay with the captain on the bridge or in the wheelhouse?”
“No, sir; not until after the accident.”
Boxhall said he did not believe the captain had been away from the vicinity of the bridge at any time during the watch. “When did you see the captain last?” asked Senator Smith. “When he ordered me to go away in the boat.”
“Where were you at the time of the collision?”
“Just approaching the bridge.”
“Did you see what occurred?”
“No, I could not see.”
“Did you hear?”
“Yes; the senior officer said. “We have struck an iceberg.’”
“Was there any ice on the deck?”
“Just a little on the lower deck. I heard the report of the crash.”
“Did you see the iceberg?”
Boxhall then went to the bridge, where he found the first officer, Mr. Murdoch; the sixth officer, Mr. Moody, and Captain Smith. Boxhall said the captain asked what was the trouble and the first-officer replied they had struck an iceberg, and added that he had borne to starboard and reversed his engines full speed after ordering the closing of the water tight doors.
“Did you see the iceberg then?”
“Yes, sir. I could see it dimly. It lay low in the water and was about as high as the lower rail of the ship, or about thirty feet out of the water.” Boxhall said he went down to the steerage, inspected all the decks in the vicinity of where the ship had struck, found no traces of any damage, and went directly to the bridge and so reported.
“The captain ordered me to send a carpenter to sound the ship,” he said, “but I found a carpenter coming up with the announcement that the ship was taking water. In the mail room I found mail sacks floating about while the clerks were at work. I went to the bridge and reported, and the captain ordered the lifeboats to be made ready. Boxhall testified that at Capt. Smith's orders he took word of the ship's position to the wireless operators.
“What position was that?”
“41:46 north, 50.14 west.”
“Was that the last position taken?”
“Yes, the Titanic stood not far from there when it sank.” After that Boxhall went back to the lifeboats, where there were many men and women. He said they had life belts. “After that I was on the bridge most of the time, sending out distress signals, trying to attract the attention of boats ahead,” he said.
“I sent up distress rockets until I left the ship, to try to attract the attention of a ship directly ahead. I had seen its lights. It seemed to be meeting us and was not far away. It got close enough, it seemed to me, to read our electric Morse signals. I told the captain. He stood with me much of the time trying to signal this vessel. He told me to tell it in Morse rocket signals, ‘Come at once—we are sinking.’”
“Did any answer come?” asked the senator.
“I did not see them, but two men say they saw signals from that ship.”
“How far away do you think that ship was?”
“Approximately five miles.” Boxhall said he did not know what ship it was.
“What did you see on the ship?”
“First, we saw its mast head lights, and a few minutes later its red side lights. It was standing closer.”
“Suppose you had had a powerful searchlight on the Titanic, could you not have thrown a beam on the vessel and have compelled its attention?”
Boxhall said he had rowed in the sea boat three quarters of a mile when the Titanic went down. Before that he had rowed around the ship's stern to see if he could not take off three more persons for whom there was room. He abandoned that attempt, however, because he had with him only one man who knew how to handle an oar and he feared an accident.
His boat, he said, was the first picked up by the Carpathia. That was about 4:10 in the morning. “Did you have any conversation with Mr. Ismay that night?”
“Yes, sir, before I left the ship. On the bridge just before the captain ordered me below to take an emergency boat.”
“When you boarded the Carpathia, did you see any lights on any other lifeboats?”
“No. It was nearly daylight. It was daylight by the time I got my passengers aboard the Carpathia.”
“Could you say any other lifeboats had lights besides yours?”
“I saw several with lanterns. These lanterns were beside the helmsman in each case and on the bottom of the boats. I would not say all the boats had lights.”
Boxhall said he knew none of the American passengers personally, but he knew the identity of Col. John Jacob Astor. “Did you see Ismay when you got into the lifeboat?”
“When did you next see Ismay after you left the ship?”
“I saw him in a collapsible boat afterward.”
“Any women in it?”
“Yes, it was full of them—well, not exactly full, but there were many women—most of them foreigners.”
“How long after you reached the Carpathia did Ismay’s boat arrive?”
“I cannot say exactly, but it was before daylight.”
Boxhall heard persons on the Titanic say some people refused to enter the lifeboats, but he saw no one ejected from the boats, nor prevented from entering.
“Did you see any who got in from the water or see any in the water?”
“No, sir,” said Boxhall. “If I had seen any in the water, I should have taken them in the boat.”
Boxhall said the sea was calm and that in his opinion each of the lifeboats could have taken its full capacity. How many he had in his small sea boat he never knew, Senator Newlands returned to the subject of the icebergs.
“You say you could not see these great icebergs when in the sea boat, but you could hear the water lap ping against them?”
“Yes, sir. It was an oily calm, and we could see nothing in the small boats.”
“If the sea is smooth, then, it is difficult to discern these icebergs?”
“Yes, sir. I believe if there had been a little ripple on the water the Titanic would have seen it in time to avoid it.”
Means Taken to Procure Assistance
As soon as the dangerous condition of the ship was realized, messages were sent by the Master's orders to all steamers within reach. At 12:15 a.m. the distress signal C.Q.D. was sent. This was heard by several steamships and by Cape Race.
By 12:25, Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer, had worked out the correct position of the "Titanic," and then another message was sent: "Come at once, we have struck a berg."
This was heard by the Cunard steamer "Carpathia," which was at this time bound from New York to Liverpool and 58 miles away. The "Carpathia" answered, saying that she was coming to the assistance of the "Titanic."
This was reported to Captain Smith on the Boat deck. At 12:26 a message was sent out, "Sinking; cannot hear for noise of steam."
Many other messages were also sent, but as they were only heard by steamers which were too far away to render help it is not necessary to refer to them.
At 1:45 a message was heard by the "Carpathia," "Engine room full up to boilers." The last message sent out was "C.Q.," which was faintly heard by the steamer " Virginian."
This message was sent at 2:17. It thus appears that the Marconi apparatus was at work until within a few minutes of the foundering of the "Titanic.”
Meanwhile Mr. Boxhall was sending up distress signals from the deck. These signals (rockets) were sent off at intervals from a socket by No. 1 emergency boat on the Boat deck.
They were the ordinary distress signals, exploding in the air and throwing off white stars. The firing pi these signals began about the time that No. 7 boat was lowered (12:45 a.m.), ana it continued until Mr. Boxhall left the ship at about 1:45.
Mr. Boxhall was also using a Morse light from the bridge in the direction of a ship whose lights he saw about half a point on the port bow of the "Titanic" at a distance, as he thought, of about five or six miles.
He got no answer. In all, Mr. Boxhall fired about eight rockets. There appears to be no doubt that the vessel whose lights he saw was the "Californian." The evidence from the "Californian" speaks of eight rockets having been seen between 12:30 and 1:40. The "Californian” heard none of the "Titanic's" messages; she had only one Marconi operator on board and he was asleep.
Excerpt from the Senate Inquiry
In his evidence last evening Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer, caused a sensation by an assertion that he had seen A ship within five miles of the Titanic as the Titanic was sinking. Her lights, he said, indicated that she was coming towards the liner, but nothing Mr. Boxhall could do with rockets or other signaling apparatus could attract the notice of the stranger.
He stated that stewards and others had told him that who answered his signals, but he did not notice any, answers. Naturally, the "mysterious ship" was the feature of this morning's papers.
It is even quite gratuitously insinuated that it may by the Gorman ship Frankfurt, which has boon accused on rather, slender evidence of having ignored the Titanic's calk. Mr. Pitman, however, did not ace the ship. All ho saw was one white light upon the horizon, which might have been a star.
Summary from the British Enquiry
I do think on this occasion, as appears from the evidence of Boxhall and Bride that the passengers on the “Titanic” could have been informed by the officers that the “Carpathia” was coming to their assistance.
There is no doubt that that was known to those on board of the “Titanic,” because if your Lordship refers to the evidence of the Fourth Officer, Boxhall, on page 341, Question 15610, I asked him, (Q.) “Did you hear the Captain say anything to anybody about the ship being doomed ?” and he says, “The Captain did remark something to me in the earlier part of the evening after the order had been given to clear the boats.
I encountered him when reporting something to him and he was enquiring about the men going on with the work, and I said, ‘Yes, they are carrying on all right.’ I said. ‘Is it really serious?’
He said, ‘Mr. Andrews tells me he gives her from an hour to an hour and a half to live.’ That must have been some little time afterwards. Evidently Mr. Andrews had been down.”
Therefore, my Lord, the Captain a very short time after the collision, at any rate sometime after the collision knew that the “Titanic” was not going to survive.
Digest of Testimony
COLLISION, EFFECT OF: "Slight impact," Officer Boxhall
COLLISION, POINT OF: "Bluff of the bow," Officer Boxhall
DISTRESS SIGNALS FIRED: "Slight impact," Officer Boxhall
"Fired by Howe and I, and Mr. Boxhall, the fourth officer," Quartermaster Bright
" Just white stars or balls," Boxhall
DRILL: "There were inspections and drills the morning of sailing." "The crew were mustered, and when the names were called the boats were lowered in the presence of the board of trade surveyors," Officer Boxhall
"Two boats were lowered, I believe," Boxhall
ICE: "Icebergs reported from Touraine several days before," Boxhall
"Later more positions came * * *, evidently those of the Amerika," Boxhall
"The captain gave me some positions of icebergs, which I put on the chart, ‘Boxhall
" Mr. Boxhall said ice was marked on the chart,'' Lightoller
ON DUTY AT TIME OF COLLISION: Fourth Officer Boxhall, survived, and testified before committee
SHIP LIGHT IN DISTANCE: "Endeavoring to signal to a ship that was ahead," Boxhall
" Mr. Boxhall said ice was marked on the chart,'' Lightoller
"Capt. Smith was standing by my side, and we both came to the conclusion that she was dose enough to be signaled by the Morse lamp, etc.," Boxhall
WATER ADMITTED TO SHIP: No. 3 hold— "Beneath me was the mail hold, and the water seemed to be then within 2 feet of the deck we were standing on and bags of mail floating about," Officer Boxhall.
RMS Titanic Fifth Officer, Harold G. Lowe
Fifth Officer on the RMS Titanic, Harold Godfrey Lowe. nd, circa 1910. GGA Image ID # 1703fe152c
Harold Lowe Fast Facts
- Full Name: Harold Godfrey Lowe
- Date of birth: 21 November 1882
- Place of birth: Llanrhos, Wales, England
- Marital status: Married
- Spouse: Ellen Whitehouse
- Crew position: Titanic's Fifth Officer
- Date of death: 12 May 1944
- Cause of death: Hypertension, aged 61
Harold Lowe ran away from home at age 14, going on schooners and eventually working on square-rigged sailing ships. From there, he went to steamships while earning his certificates.
For five years, Mr. Lowe had worked the West African coast routes before joining White Star Line about 15 months before the Titanic disaster. While with the White Star Line, he was the third officer on the SS Tropic, third on the Belgic, before becoming the fifth officer on the Titanic.
Certificate of Competency Master of a Foreign-Going Ship Awarded to Harold Lowe on 12 November 1910. GGA Image ID # 17040859c6
Excerpts from the Senate Hearings
Harold G. Lowe, fifth officer of the Titanic, told his story of the wreck before the investigating committee. His testimony revealed the fact that, with a volunteer crew, he rescued four men from the water, saved a sinking collapsible lifeboat by towing it and took off twenty men and one woman from the bottom of an overturned boat, all of whom he landed safely on the Carpathia.
Lowe testified that he looked over the lifeboats in Belfast Harbor and found everything in them, except a dipper which was missing from one. He was not sure whether a fire drill had been held or not. He did not know whether the officers were at their right places on the side of the ship where he was or not.
He was not on duty Sunday night and could not be induced to make a positive statement of the ship's position, though he had a memorandum of the speed on that day as a fraction below 21 knots an hour. He asserted that he was a temperate man.
The witness said he did not know when he was awakened. He said he dressed hurriedly and went on deck and found people with life belts on the boats being prepared. He began working at the lifeboats.
“I was working the boats under First Officer Murdock,” he said. “Boat No. 5 was the first one lowered. “There were about ten officers helping, two at each end, two in the boat, and others at the ropes.”
This is to testify that I, Harold Godfrey Lowe, of Penrallt Barmouth, fifth officer of the late steamship Titanic, in my testimony at the Senate of the United States stated that I fired shots to prevent Italian immigrants from jumping into my lifeboat.
I do thereby cancel the word "Italian" and substitute the words "immigrants belonging to latin races. In fact, I did not mean to infer that they were especially Italians, because I could only judge from their general appearance and complexion, and therefore I only meant to imply that they were of the types of the Latin races. In any case, I did not intend to cast any reflection on the Italian nation.
This is the real truth, and therefore I feel honored to give out the present statement.
H. G. LOWE,
Fifth Officer late "Titanic."
WASHINGTON D. C., April 15, 1912.
[On the reverse.]
The declaration on the other side was made and confirmed this day by Harold Godfrey Lowe, fifth officer of the late Steamship Titanic, in my presence and in the presence of Signor Guido di Vincenzo, secretary of the legal office of the royal embassy.
Washington, this 30th day of April, 1912.
The Royal Ambassador of Italy,
THE SECRETARY OF THE LEGAL OFFICE OF THE ROYAL EMBASSY,
G. D. VINCENZO.
RMS Titanic Sixth Officer, James P. Moody
James Paul Moody, Sixth Officer on the RMS Titanic circa 1910. Mr. Moody Did Not Survive the Tragedy and Was Only 24 at the Time of His Death. GGA Image ID # 17046f0308
James Moody Fast Facts
- Full Name: James Paul Moody
- Date of birth: 21 August 1887
- Place of birth: Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England
- Marital status: Single
- Crew position: Titanic's Sixth Officer
- Date of death: 15 April 1912
- Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered
Excerpt from WRECK OF THE TITANIC – p. 45-46
Not only was the Titanic tearing through the April night to its doom with every ounce of steam crowded on, but it was under orders from the general officers of the line to make all the speed of which she was capable.
This was the statement made by J. P. Moody, a quartermaster of the vessel and helmsman on the night of the disaster. He said the ship was making twenty one knots an hour, and the officers were striving to live up to the orders to smash the record.
“It was close to midnight,” said Moody, “and I was on the bridge with the second officer, who was in command. Suddenly he shouted, ‘Port your helm!' I did so, but it was too late. We struck the submerged portion of the berg.”
As nearly as most of the passengers could remember, the Titanic, sliding through the water at no more speed than had been consistently maintained during all of the trip, gracefully slid a few feet out of the water with just the slightest tremble. It rolled slightly; then it pitched.
The shock, scarcely noticeable to those on board, drew a few loungers over to the railings. Officers and petty officers were hurrying about. There was no destruction within the ship, at least not in the sight of the passengers.
There was no panic. Everything that could be seen tended to alleviate what little fear had crept into the minds of the passengers, who were more apprehensive than the regular travelers who cross the ocean at this season of the year and who were more used to experiencing those small quivers.
Not one person aboard the Titanic, unless possibly it was the men of the crew, who were working far below, knew the extent of the injuries it had sustained. Many of the passengers had taken time to dress, so sure were they that there was no danger.
They came on deck, looked the situation over and were unable to see the slightest sign that the Titanic had been torn open beneath the water line. When the passengers' fear had been partly calmed and most of them had returned to their staterooms or to the card games in which they were engaged before the quiver was felt, there came surging through the first cabin quarters a report, that seemed to have drifted in from nowhere, that the ship was sinking.
How this word crept in from outside no one seems now to know. Immediately the crew began to man the boats. Then came the shudder of the riven hulk of the once magnificent steamship as it receded from the shelving ice upon which it had driven, and its bow settled deeply into the water.
James Paul Moody Shown Wearing the Junior Officer's Uniform of the White Star Line circa 1911. GGA Image ID # 170478f17d
Excerpt from LOSS OF THE STEAMSHIP " TITANIC.", p.88-89
The foregoing evidence establishes quite clearly that Capt. Smith, the master; Mr. Murdoch, the first officer; Mr. Lightoller, the second officer; and Mr. Moody, the sixth officer, all knew on the Sunday evening that the vessel was entering a region where ice might be expected; and this being so, it seems to me to be of little importance to consider whether the master had by design or otherwise succeeded in avoiding the particular ice indicated in the three messages received by him.
At 6 p. m. Mr. Lightoller came on the bridge again to take over the ship from Mr. Wilde. the chief officer (dead). He does not remember being told anything about the Baltic message, which had been received at 1.42 p. m. Mr. Lightoller then requested Mr. Moody, the sixth officer (dead), to let him know "at what time we should reach the vicinity of ice," and says that he thinks Mr. Moody reported "about 11 o'clock."
Mr. Lightoller says that 11 o'clock did not agree with a mental calculation he himself had made and which showed 9.30 as the time. This mental calculation he at first said he had made before Mr. Moody gave him 11 o'clock as the time, but later on he corrected this, and said his mental calculation was made between 7 and 8 o'clock, and alter Mr. Moody had mentioned 11.
He did not point out the difference to him and thought that perhaps Mr. Moody had made his calculations on the basis of some "other" message. Mr. Lightoller excuses himself for not pointing out the difference by saying that Mr. Moody was busy at the time, probably with stellar observations.
It is, however. an odd circumstance that Mr. Lightoller. who believed that the vicinity of ice would be reached before his watch ended at 10 p. m., should not have mentioned the fact to Mr. Moody, and it is also odd that if he thought that Mr. Moody was working on the basis of some "other" message, he did not ask what the other message was or where it came from.
The point, however. of Mr. Lightoller's evidence is that they both thought that the vicinity of ice would be reached before midnight. When he was examined as to whether he did not fear that on entering the indicated ice region he might run afoul of a growler (a low-lying berg) lie answers: "No, I judged I should see it with "sufficient distinct ness" and at a distance of a "mile and a half, more probably 2 miles."
Listing of the Deck Officers of the RMS Titanic
The Career of Captain E. J. Smith of the Titanic
Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) Wednesday, 17 April 1912, p. 12.
RMS Titanic Chief Officer, Henry F. Wilde
Henry Tingle Wilde was not considered a man given to flights of fancy. A tall, powerfully built man, just thirty-eight, he too had worked his ranks from a ship's apprentice in the old square-rigged ships, through the ranks until his appointment as chief officer of the Olympic in May 1911. The White Star Line's management held him in high regard, and Captain Smith valued his skill and experience.
Christine Ehren, "Chief Officer Wilde," in Titanic-Lore.info. Additional information courtesy of Dan Parkes, Brighton, UK. View his website: https://www.titanicofficers.com/ for comprehensive information and photographs on the Titanic Officers.
RMS Titanic First Officer William McMaster Murdoch
Thirty-nine year-old William McMaster Murdoch, with an "ordinary master's certificate" and a reputation as a "canny and dependable man", had climbed through the ranks of the White Star Line to become one of its foremost senior officers.
Excerpt from "Sixteen Hundred Lives Lost on the Titanic: Terrors and Herosim of the Greatest of Sea Disasters-Many Distinguished Men Drowned-Sufferings of the Survivors-Tragic Details," in Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, New York: Leslie-Judge Company, Publishers, Vol. CXIV, No. 2956, 2 May 1912, p. 524.
RMS Titanic Second Officer, Charles H. Lightoller
Thomas Herbert Russell, A.M., LL.D., Editor, "Chapter XXIX U.S. Senators Obtain Facts of Wreck: Testimony of Second Officer," in Wreck of the Titanic: World's Greatest Sea Disaster, Chicago: L. H. Walter, 1912, pp. 257-262.
RMS Titanic Third Officer, Herbert J. Pitman
The 34-year-old Third Officer Herbert J. Pitman. Pitman, though rather short in stature, was an imposing figure with his pronounced mustache. He was also an extremely capable officer with sixteen years of experience at sea.
RMS Titanic Fourth Officer, Joseph G. Boxhall
Joseph G. Boxhall, although selected as the fourth officer on the Titanic, actually held the highest maritime certificate of extra Master since 1904.
RMS Titanic Fifth Officer, Harold G. Lowe
Harold Lowe ran away from home at age 14, going on schooners and eventually working on square-rigged sailing ships. From there, he went to steamships while earning his certificates. For five years, Mr. Lowe had worked the West African coast routes before joining White Star Line about 15 months before the Titanic disaster. While with the White Star Line, he was the third officer on the SS Tropic, third on the Belgic, before becoming the fifth officer on the Titanic.
RMS Titanic Sixth Officer, James P. Moody
The foregoing evidence establishes quite clearly that Capt. Smith, the master; Mr. Murdoch, the first officer; Mr. Lightoller, the second officer; and Mr. Moody, the sixth officer, all knew on the Sunday evening that the vessel was entering a region where ice might be expected.
The Loss of the Steamship Titanic, Report of a Formal Investigation into the Circumstances Attending the Foundering on April 15. 1912. Of the British Steamship "Titanic." of Liverpool. After Striking Ice in or near Latitude 41° 46' N, Longitude 50° 14' W, North Atlantic Ocean, as Conducted by the British Government. Presented by Mr. Smith of Michigan, 20 August 1912.