Titanic Lifeboat 1

Lifeboat number 1 was an emergency cutter located on the starboard side of Titanic, near to the bridge. It was permanently swung out and ready to be lowered, so that in an emergency, such as a person in the water, it could be quickly lowered away. The boat is well known for the fact that, despite having room for 40, it was lowered away from Titanic and arrived at Carpathia with just 12 people aboard, ten of which were men, seven of which were crew members.

Lifeboat 1 was the fourth boat to be lowered from the starboard side of the ship. The boat was occupied by Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, his wife, his wife’s secretary, two American male first class passengers, and seven members of Titanic's crew.

Just after the lowering of Lifeboat 3, the starboard side of the boat deck appears to have become rather empty of passengers. After First Officer William Murdoch had moved to Lifeboat 1, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon asked him if he could get into the boat, to which William Murdoch replied with something along the lines of "Yes, I wish you would".

After first asking William Murdoch for permission, to which he replied, “jump in”, first class passenger Charles Stengel jumped on to the railing and rolled into the boat; with a laugh, William Murdoch said: “That is the funniest sight I have seen tonight".

William Murdoch put Lookout George Symons in charge of the boat, as well as ordering in another seaman and five firemen. With no other passengers in sight, the boat was lowered away from the ship probably somewhere around 1.10am.

After the sinking one of the firemen commented to Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon that they had lost all of their kit and that White Star would not compensate them for it; after hearing this, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon kindly said that he would give each of the crew in the boat £5 towards new kit, a promise that he kept. Unfortunately this act of kindness looked suspicious to some, with the idea that it was a bribe to not go back to help those in the water, and resulted in it being questioned at the British Titanic Inquiry.

Also at the British Titanic Inquiry, the survivors from boat 1 had to answer some awkward questions about why it was that there were only 12 of them in the boat, and also why it was that they did not go back to help those in the water. The reasons given seemingly ranged from they heard no one suggesting it, although Charles Hendrickson did say that he suggested going back and that no one listened to him, to it being considered too dangerous to try it.

The lifeboat arrived safely at Carpathia on the morning of 15th April 1912.

Passengers aboard Lifeboat 1:

Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, Lady Lucy Duff Gordon, Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli, Mr Charles Stengel, Mr Abraham Lincoln Salomon.

Crew aboard Lifeboat 1:

Mr Charles Hendrickson, Mr Albert Horswill, Mr Robert Pusey, Mr Frederick Sheath, Mr George Symons, Mr James Taylor, Mr Samuel Collins.

Related pages - Titanic Lifeboats, All Titanic Pages

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