Boat 5 (starboard) Edit

Murdoch and Lowe were joined by Third Officer Pitman and the White Star Line's chairman J. Bruce Ismay to help them lower Boat 5, which left at 12:43 am.[1] The boat was loaded primarily with women and children.[2] A few husbands also permitted to board with their wives after someone among the crowd of watching passengers shouted, "Put the brides and grooms in first!"[3] Most of those on deck were unaware of the seriousness of their situation and made no attempt to board. John Jacob Astor, who was subsequently among the victims of the disaster, remarked: "We are safer on board the ship than in that little boat."[4] J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman of the White Star Line, disagreed; still wearing slippers and pyjamas, he urged Pitman to begin loading the boat with women and children. Pitman retorted: "I await the Captain's orders,"[3] and went to the captain for the approval. Ismay returned a short time later to urge a stewardess to board, which she did. In the end, only 41 people boarded, including Pitman himself, on Murdoch's orders.[1]

The occupants included:

  • Karl Behr, American tennis star and banker
  • Annie May Stengel, who was knocked unconscious and broke two ribs when overweight First Class passenger H.W. Frauenthal jumped on top of her into the lifeboat as it was being lowered.
  • Third Officer Herbert Pitman, put in charge of the boat by Murdoch.[2]

The boat's progress down the side of the ship was slow and difficult. The pulleys were covered in fresh paint and the lowering ropes were stiff, causing them to stick repeatedly as the boat was lowered in jerks towards the water. One of those watching the boat being lowered, Dr. Washington Dodge, felt "overwhelmed with doubts" that he might be subjecting his wife and son to greater danger aboard the boat than if they had remained on Titanic.[5] Ismay sought to spur those lowering the boat to greater urgency by calling out repeatedly: "Lower away!" This resulted in Lowe losing his temper: "If you'll get the hell out of the way, I'll be able to do something! You want me to lower away quickly? You'll have me drown the lot of them!" The humiliated Ismay retreated up the deck. In the end, the boat was launched safely.[5]

After Titanic sank, several of those aboard lifeboat 5 were transferred to lifeboat 7, leaving about 30 on board by the time she reached the Carpathia.[1] Herbert Pitman wanted to return to the scene of the sinking to pick up swimmers in the water and announced: "Now men, we will pull toward the wreck!" The women on board protested, one begging a steward: "Appeal to the officer not to go back! Why should we lose all our lives in a useless attempt to save others from the ship?" Pitman gave in to the protests, but was haunted by guilt for the rest of his life.[6]

The occupants of the lifeboat endured a freezing night. Mrs. Dodge was particularly badly affected by the cold but was helped by Quartermaster Alfred Olliver, who gave her his socks: "I assure you, ma'am, they are perfectly clean. I just put them on this morning."[7] At about 6:00 am, they were rescued by Carpathia.[8]

Notes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 137.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Eaton & Haas 1994, p. 150.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Butler 1998, p. 92.
  4. Butler 1998, p. 97.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Butler 1998, p. 93.
  6. Butler 1998, p. 143.
  7. Butler 1998, p. 150.
  8. Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 144.