||Lifeboat from Titanic
||Lifeboat to Carpathia
||C (8 votes)
14 (4 votes)
|C (8 votes)
14 (4 votes)
Daniel Buckley testified in the American Inquiry, page 1020, stating the following about his escape:
Mr. BUCKLEY. .... Then the lifeboats were preparing. There were five lifeboats sent out. I was in the sixth. I was holding the ropes all the time, helping to let down the five lifeboats that went down first, as well as I could.
When the sixth lifeboat was prepared, there was a big crowd of men standing on the deck. And they all jumped in. So I said I would take my chance with them.
Senator SMITH. Who were they?
Mr. BUCKLEY. Passengers and sailors and firemen mixed. There were no ladies there at the same time.
When they jumped, I said I would go too. I went into the boat. Then two officers came along and said all of the men could come out. And they brought a lot of steerage passengers with them; and they were mixed, every way, ladies and gentlemen. And they said all the men could get out and let the ladies in. But six men were left in the boat. I think they were firemen and sailors.
I was crying. There was a woman in the boat, and she had thrown her shawl over me, and she told me to stay in there. I believe she was Mrs. Astor. Then they did not see me, and the boat was lowered down into the water, and we rowed away out from the steamer.
The men that were in the boat at first fought, and would not get out, but the officers drew their revolvers, and fired shots over our heads, and then the men got out. When the boat was ready, we were lowered down into the water and rowed away out from the steamer. We were only about 15 minutes out when she sank.
In a letter to his mother, written on April 17, 1912, Buckley described his escape as follows:
“Our ship struck an iceberg. I went on deck and met a sailor who asked me to help him lower the boats. The sailor said, ‘Take a chance yourself.’ I did, as did my friend, but the officers came along and ordered us off the boat. A woman said, ‘Lay down, lad, you are somebody’s child.’ She put a rug over me and the boat went out, so I was saved.”
In another letter to his mother, written on April 18, 1912, Buckley said the following:
“We were not long on deck when the lifeboats were prepared. There were only sixteen boats, and that amount was only enough to carry a tenth of the passengers. The third boat that was let down I went on it, there were about forty men in it. An officer came along and said half the men should come out of the boat, and let some ladies in. When I heard this I hid in the lower part of the boat. We were only fifteen minutes in the boat when the big ship went down.”
Several details stand out in Buckley’s accounts, which help to narrow down which lifeboat he was rescued in. First, Buckley mentions officers firing shots over the heads of the passengers. Shots are known to have been fired at boat #14 and Collapsible C, as well-established in the inquiries and through survivor accounts. It appears that shots may have been fired at Collapsible D as well, although that incident is far-less documented.
Buckley indicates that the warning shots were fired before his lifeboat lowered away, and that the men got out after this. This incident matches what happened at Collapsible C, where men got into the boat, then exited and/or were hauled out after warning shots were fired and before the boat lowered away, as per Hugh Woolner, Björnström-Steffansson, etc. His description does not appear to match boat #14, where Fifth Officer Lowe fired shots as the lifeboat lowered away past A Deck, fearful that men standing there would jump into the boat. Men were not thrown out as the boat lowered.
Buckley mentions that his lifeboat departed 15 minutes before the ship sank, in both his inquiry testimony and one of the letters to his mother. Again, this is consistent with Collapsible C, which lowered away at 2:00 a.m., 20 minutes before Titanic sank. Collapsible D left around 2:05 a.m., exactly 15 minutes before the ship sank. Boat #14 lowered away around 1:25 a.m., 55 minutes before the ship sank. While it is possible that Daniel mistook how long before the sinking it was, he was consistent in his estimate. It seems like both collapsibles match the time frame he gave, better than boat #14.
Another detail that Buckley gives in one of the letters to his mother is that his lifeboat contained around 40 people in it. Collapsible C had around 43 in it when lowered away, and #14 had around 40 in it, both of which generally match his description. Collapsible D had just 20 aboard when lowered, which does not match.
As stated previously, at the American Inquiry, page 1022, Buckley mentions Bridget Bradley by name, and in such a way that it sounds as if she was in the lifeboat with him:
“There was a girl from my place, and just when she got down into the lifeboat she thought that the boat was sinking into the water. Her name was Bridget Bradley. She climbed one of the ropes as far as she could and tried to get back into the Titanic again, as she thought she would be safer in it than in the lifeboat. She was just getting up when one of the sailors went out to her and pulled her down again."
We concluded that Bradley was rescued in either Collapsible C or D. Buckley’s description making it sound as if she was in his boat, Bradley describing her boat as “the last lifeboat,” and claiming to be in the same boat as Bruce Ismay, also support Collapsible C as a possibility.
Additionally, Buckley does not mention tying up to any other lifeboats, in either his inquiry testimony or either letter to his mother. This is also suggestive of Collapsible C, and does not match either Collapsible D or boat #14, which were both tied up in Fifth Officer Lowe’s flotilla.
With all of this evidence pointing towards Collapsible C, is there anything that is suggestive of another boat? The one counterpoint revolves around Buckley’s admission to having escaped because a woman put what was described alternately as a “shawl” or a “rug” over him after he was in the boat, and he remained hidden. Despite Buckley’s thoughts that this was Mrs. Astor, that is unlikely, since none of the details of his escape match boat #4.
Fifth Officer Lowe testified at the American Inquiry, pages 407 and 409, that when he was transferring occupants out of #14 into other boats in his flotilla, he saw the following:
“So I transferred all my passengers - somewhere about 53 passengers - from my boat, and I equally distributed them between my other four boats. Then I asked for volunteers to go with me to the wreck, and it was at this time that I found this Italian. He came aft, and he had a shawl over his head and I suppose he had skirts. Anyhow, I pulled this shawl off his face and saw he was a man. He was in a great hurry to get into the other boat, and I caught hold of him and pitched him in.”
The detail about the shawl generally matches what Buckley admitted to being covered with, although he did not mention being discovered, and did not wear skirts, as Lowe speculated. He was also not Italian, although many survivors described passengers doing misdeeds as “Italians,” “dagoes,” etc., due to prejudice of the day.
With that being said, is there any evidence of male passengers sneaking into other lifeboats with shawls or dressed as a woman? The answer is yes. Third Class Helga Hirvonen stated that she saw a boy dressed as a girl in her lifeboat. While we ultimately leaned towards her being rescued in Collapsible D, the account in question suggests that Hirvonen was in the same lifeboat as Bruce Ismay, leaving Collapsible C as another possibility.
Similarly, Third Class passenger Shawneene Whabee gave an account in 1937, where she described the following:
“They shot into the air to frighten the men. Many passengers were overcome with fright. Banoura [Ayoub] and I were placed into the next to the last lifeboat to be lowered from the ship. A scared young man leaped over the side of the liner and landed in the bottom of the lifeboat. Women shielded him with their night clothing so the sailors wouldn’t see him. They would have shot him.”
This incident sounds strikingly similar to how Buckley admitted that he escaped. We originally concluded that Whabee was saved in Collapsible C, before reconsidering other evidence and leaning towards boat #12.
Several eyewitnesses indicate that there was a man with a towel over his head in boat #13. We were split on whether Third Class passenger Edward Ryan was the passenger seen in boat #14 or #13, but by his own admission, he wore a towel on his head and a waterproof raincoat and walked stiffly past the crew, into the boat.
The question our group debated was who the man dressed as a woman in #14 was, if Ryan was the man in #13 (which we weren’t certain of), and if Buckley was in Collapsible C. As can be seen above, there were multiple lifeboats where men allegedly dressed as woman, so further incidents of this do not appear impossible or even unlikely.
In the end, we were split over whether Buckley was rescued in boat #14 or Collapsible C, with a slightly higher confidence rating for the latter.