Boat 8 (port) Edit


Isador and Ida Straus, who refused to board a lifeboat while there were younger people still waiting to board

Boat 8 was loaded under the supervision of Second Officer Lightoller and launched at about 1:00 am, with Captain Smith and Chief Officer Wilde also participating. Ida Straus was asked to join a group of people preparing to board but refused, saying: "I will not be separated from my husband [Isador Straus]. As we have lived, so will we die – together." The 67-year-old Isador likewise refused an offer to board on account of his age, saying: "I do not wish any distinction in my favour which is not granted to others." Both went below, presumably back to their cabin, and went down with the ship.[1] Major Archibald Butt, a military aide and friend of US President William Howard Taft, brought to the boat Marie Young, who had been a governess to the children of President Theodore Roosevelt. She later recalled that he "wrapped blankets about me and tucked me in as carefully as if we were going on a motor ride." He wished her farewell and good luck, and asked her, "don't forget to remember me to the folks back home."[2] Other single women were brought to the boats by men who had earlier offered their services to "unprotected ladies", as the conventions of the time dictated.[2]

The occupants of Boat 8 numbered around 25 people[3] and included:

  • Ellen Bird, maid of Ida Straus
  • Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes, who took charge of the lifeboat's tiller
  • Gladys Cherry, cousin of the Countess
  • Thomas Jones, Able-Bodied Seaman, in charge of the boat[1]
  • Emma Bucknell, Philadelphia heiress

After Titanic sank, Jones suggested going back to save some of those in the water. Only three of the passengers agreed; the rest protested that they would be at risk of the boat being capsized by desperate swimmers. Jones had no choice but to acquiesce, but told the complaining passengers: "Ladies, if any of us are saved, remember I wanted to go back. I would rather drown with them than leave them."[2] The passengers' conduct during the subsequent hours presented some striking contrasts. The Countess of Rothes – who had been one of the few passengers to support going back to mount a rescue attempt – took charge of the tiller, putting the women to work on the oars.[4] Her conduct was later complimented by Jones, who called her "more of a man than any we had aboard" and gave her the lifeboat's numeral 8, in a frame, as a keepsake.[5] In contrast, Ella White was so annoyed that the stewards aboard were smoking that she complained about it to the subsequent US Senate inquiry into the disaster;[6] she was particularly indignant that one of the ship's crewmen had told her, "If you don't stop talking through that hole in your face there will be one less in the boat!"[4]

The occupants of Boat 8 spent the night rowing towards what they thought were the lights of a ship on the horizon, but turned round at daybreak when the Carpathia arrived on the scene from the opposite direction. They had travelled further from the scene than any of the other lifeboats and had a long row back;[7] it was not until 7:30 am that they were picked up.[8]

Notes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Eaton & Haas 1994, p. 152.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Butler 1998, p. 100.
  3. Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 137.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bartlett 2011, p. 229.
  5. Butler 1998, p. 151.
  6. Butler 1998, p. 147.
  7. Bartlett 2011, p. 249.
  8. Wormstedt & Fitch 2011, p. 144.