||Lifeboat from Titanic
||Lifeboat to Carpathia
Brown, Mrs Elizabeth Catherine
Brown, Miss Edith Eileen
Elizabeth Brown in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of April 27, 1912:
“After the boat had sunk and we had been drifting about for a time we came upon a life raft covered with men all standing. Our boat and another that was near took the men off the raft into our boats…The officer tied up four or five boats together for safety.”
This appears to describe boats 14 and D encountering swamped collapsible A in the morning, where all the occupants were standing. It apparently was not to be confused with overturned B, which her daughter describes below.
Edith Brown in the Seattle Daily Times of April 27, 1912:
“We then went on the boat deck, where women were already getting into lifeboats. My father helped us into boat number 14 and then turned away. That was the last I ever saw of him. I saw him standing there with his back toward us. He never turned round while we could see him.”
Some men attempted to get into the boat and the officer who was in charge drew his revolver and shot into the air and said that he would kill anyone who jumped in.
However, just as they started to lower our boat a foreigner, whose nationality I could not determine, leaped into it and it was too late to make him get back.
Some of the women refused to leave their husbands or escorts, and it became necessary while loading our boat, in which there were about fifty, to force some of them to get in. With the exception of the man who jumped in and the officer and four firemen who manned the boat, I do not recall that there were other men in the boat. I think that they were all women and children.
We were in the boat for about seven hours, praying that we could be picked up, but when the Carpathia was sighted and it meant life to us, there was too much sorrow among those in our boat to cause much excitement.
Early in the morning we passed an overturned lifeboat, but no one was near it.”
Neither woman makes any mention of being transferred to another boat and, in fact, all her life Edith Brown (later Haisman) claimed specifically that they weren’t, and that they went back with boat 14 to look for survivors. One interview in 1987 included this information:
Q. Did they transfer your lifeboat’s passengers into other lifeboats?
A. Yes, some of them, that’s right. My mother and I stayed in the same lifeboat all the time.
In a 1984 interview she was specifically asked if she went back among the bodies, and she replied that yes, they had. Her youngest daughter, Dorothy Kendle, has also described how in their youth their mother told them of the men in the boat repeatedly picking a voice out in the darkness, rowing toward it, and having it die away before they could reach it.
As it was determined and agreed that Mrs. Brown and her daughter left in 14, the question arose as to whether or not they were moved to another boat. Fifth Officer Lowe stated at the American Inquiry, “So I transferred all my passengers – somewhere about 53 passengers – from my boat, and I equally distributed them between my other four boats.” At the same Inquiry Seaman Frank Evans testified that when 14 returned it had “eight or nine” people in it, yet the crewmen alone account for that number.
At the British Inquiry Bath Steward Frank Morris, when asked, “Did you put any of your passengers into any other lifeboat,” replied, “We put all our passengers in.”
However, it is known that second class passenger Charles Williams did return with boat 14 to look for swimmers. Also, in the Maidenhead Advertiser of April 29, 1912, survivor Nellie Walcroft wrote, “Then Officer Lowe wanted to go back to the rescue, but the women begged him not to go. He got about four boats together and distributed his passengers amongst them as many as he possibly could and then went back to the rescue.” The key phrase here is that he distributed “as many as he possibly could.” This implied that not all the passengers could be taken into other boats.
Those who knew Edith Brown Haisman felt very strongly that she would not lie. It was also felt that she would not have lied to her children about it, particularly so many years ago before the Titanic was a popular topic. It was therefore voted a consensus of 5.00 that they left the ship in boat 14 and did not transfer to any other lifeboat.