Titanic Lifeboat 11

Lifeboat 11 was located at the aft end of the starboard side of Titanic. When it was lowered, the sixth to be so from that side of the ship, inside the boat were mostly women, most of which were second class passengers, joined by around as much as nine members of the ship’s crew, mostly made up of stewards, and at least, but not much more , one male passenger.

The Lifeboat was lowed from the Boat Deck down to A Deck with the intension of loading the passengers into the boat from there. First Officer William Murdoch ordered that the women and children be collected and taken down to A Deck, where they were helped into the boat.

Once the boat was considered to be full, William Murdoch asked if there was a sailor in the boat; with there being no sailors in the boat, two sailors, Quartermaster Sidney Humphreys and Able Bodied Seamen Walter Brice, jumped out on to the falls and slid down into the boat (or at least that is how Walter Brice got in). The order was then given for the boat to be lowered away.

It is often said that the boat was lowered away with around 70 people in, which would have made the boat one of the fullest boats lowered from Titanic, if not the fullest. The number given in accounts from the survivors in the boat, however, varies, with around 70 not appearing to be the accurate number. In the 2011 research article Titanic Lifeboat Occupancy Totals, by Bill Wormstedt and Tad Fitch, it is estimated that around 50 people in the boat is probably more of an accurate number.

After the last passengers were put in the boat and the order was given to lower away, second class passenger Nellie Becker, with her two young children already placed inside the boat, screamed out “Please let me in this boat! Those are my children!" She then jumped inside the boat, but then realised that her 12 year old daughter, Ruth Becker, was still standing on the deck. She called out, “Ruth! Get in another boat!” which she did, Lifeboat 13. Lifeboat 11 was lowered from the ship at approximately about 1.35am. Quartermaster Sidney Humphreys was in command of the boat.

Once in the water the boat had two problems. Firstly, it landed very close to the opening for the condenser exhaust, which was by this time just above the waterline and was pouring out a high volume of water, and then secondly, the situation was made worse by the fact that the crew had difficulty in releasing the boat from the falls. Fortunately the crew were able to move the boat away from the pouring water by using oars, without the water causing any lasting problems, and eventually managed to release the boat from the falls, without any further problems. They then rowed the boat a safe distance from the ship.

Inside the boat no light could be found, however, Able Seamen Walter Brice said that he cut the lashing from the oil bottle and cut rope to make torches. Some of the crew aboard the boat said they had a bit of difficulty in rowing because of the amount of people in the boat, with one crew member saying that they kept catching their hands and oars on the passengers. During the night at least one passenger complained about the crew smoking in the boat.

All aboard lifeboat 11 were safely rescued by Carpathia in the morning, and along with the boat itself, were taken to New York.

One of the more notable passengers aboard Lifeboat 11 was Hudson Trevor Allison, an 11 month old first class passenger, who was accompanied in the boat by his nursemaid, Alice Cleaver. He was travelling aboard Titanic, along with their servants, with his mother, father and sister. During the sinking it is said that the rest of his family were unaware that he was safe, and refused to leave the ship without finding him. His mother, father and sister did not survive the disaster. His two year old sister, Helen Loraine Allison, was the only child out of the first and second class passengers not to survive.

Related pages - Titanic Lifeboats, All Titanic Pages

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