||Lifeboat from Titanic
||Lifeboat to Carpathia
Mr Walter Henry
Brooklyn Daily Eagle April 19, 1912, also On Board RMS Titanic by George Behe, pages 364-369:
“No. 15, my boat, was the after boat on the starboard side. All the odd numbered boats are on one side of the ship and the even numbered boats on the other. There were ten of us to man the boat, which is a big one, holding about seventy to eighty persons. When I got on deck it was still dark, but I could hear the wireless machine sputter. I didn’t see any icebergs or anything. Up on deck A, which is the boat deck, there were only the boat crews. At least that is all I could see. I saw them working away at Boat No. 11 and Boat No. 13. When I looked down I saw that several of the boats were already in the water.
The ship was brightly lit and I could see the boats, with people in them, floating about in the reflection of the light from the ship. The officer in charge of the boats on that part of the deck had a revolver in his hand. He gave his orders quietly and we didn’t realize even then that anything serious was the matter. The ship was down in the water a little forward but you couldn’t notice it much from where I was.
We stood in line waiting for orders while boats 11 and 13 were swung out on the davits and lowered. The crews would make them ready and get into them. Then they would lower them to deck B, where the passengers were. The boats are held by three ropes, one on either end and one in the middle. They are cut loose by knocking out a block in the center after she is in the water.
I guess we waited for some minutes while they were getting the two other boats away. They were mighty careful not to let one boat go before the other had got clear. It’s a drop of some ninety or a hundred feet from the boat deck to the water, and they had to look sharp to keep one boat from fouling the other.
Altogether it took us about twenty minutes to fill our lifeboat and get away. There was no confusion and no rush. On deck B, where we loaded the passengers, First Officer Murdoch was in charge. He saw to the giving of the orders to the men that handled the boats. The order was to take women only, and the officers kept saying, “We can only take women. No man is allowed to get in.”
But no one seemed particularly anxious to get in. The officer kept on talking to the women, sort of urging them. “Come, now,” he’d say. “Get in or we’ll have to leave you behind. The boat’s going to leave and we can’t wait for you.” Several women stepped back as they saw the boat and refused to leave their men folks when they saw that they would have to go alone. One woman stepped up to the rail against which we were holding the boat, looked into it and then stepped back as though she didn’t like it. I saw Colonel Astor kiss his wife good-bye. I knew him because he had been pointed out to me in the saloon. I didn’t know any of the rest.
All the time we were there the officer kept talking quiet like, urging women to get in. He didn’t say anything about danger. I guess he didn’t want to have any rush and he just talked, quiet like, and kept sort of joking them along, telling them to hurry or they’d be left, and things like that. But they all seemed to think that the ship was a better place to be than in a lifeboat. Many of the boats weren’t full. We only had about fifty people in ours.
Some of the men passengers had to urge the women to go, and some of the women whose men folks didn’t happen to be close to them refused to go.
Our boat was one of the last to get away. We held on until we were sure No. 13 was clear. Then we dropped to the water. None of us was excited and some of the men seemed to take it as a sort of little excursion in the boat. None of us had any idea that the Titanic would sink. We knew that the Olympic was on the way to us and we expected that she would come in the morning to pick up the boats and to take off the people that were left on the Titanic.”