TITANIC-TITANIC.com | Titanic Deck Crew - Lightoller, Mr. Charles Herbert
- Age: 38
- Date of Birth (D.O.B.): 30th March, 1874
- Place of Residence: Southampton, England ( List )
- Embarked at: Belfast, Ireland
- Occupation: Second Officer
- Department: Titanic Deck Crew
- Survived: Yes ( List )
- Lifeboat Number: Collapsible B
- Location Buried: Mortlake Crematorium, Mortlake, Greater London, England
Charles Herbert Lightoller was born in Chorley, Lancashire, England on 30th March 1874, but his mother, Sarah, died shortly after the birth. His family owned Lightoller Mill in Chorley, but Charles Herbert Lightoller didn't want to end up working in a mill, and so decided to go to sea, at the age of 13.
Charles Herbert Lightoller lived at Nikko Lodge, Netley Abbey, Southampton.
Charles Herbert Lightoller first went to sea as an apprentice on the Primrose Hill, amongst others.
On his second voyage as an apprentice, Charles Herbert Lightoller sailed with the Holt Hill, and during a storm in the South Atlantic, the ship was forced to dock at Rio De Janeiro to undertake repairs to the ship. During another bad storm in 1889, and whilst traveling in the Indian Ocean, the Holt Hill was washed-up on a uninhabited island. Luckily, they were rescued by the Coorong, which returned them to Adelaide, Australia, and Charles Herbert Lightoller worked his back to England aboard the clipper Duke Of Abercorn.
When Charles Herbert Lightoller was serving as third mate aboard the St. Michael, the cargo of coal caught fire, and because of the efficient way he extinguished the fire, and saved the ship, he was promoted to second mate.
At the age of 21, Charles Herbert Lightoller obtained his mate's certificate, and left sailing ships for good, deciding to switch to steamers. He joined the Elder Dempster Line African Royal Mail Service, and after three years, Charles Herbert Lightoller had abandoned the sea after catching malaria.
Charles Herbert Lightoller then went to work in the Yukon, Canada, in search of gold, however, he failed, and then he turned his hand to being cowboy in Alberta. In order to return home, Charles Herbert Lightoller became a hobo, riding trains across Canada in order to get to a port.
Charles Herbert Lightoller then worked as a cattle hand aboard a ship in order to England.
Charles Herbert Lightoller's next move was to obtain his master's certificate, and he then joined Greenshields and Cowie as third mate on the Knight Companion, which was another cattle boat.
Charles Herbert Lightoller found himself in trouble whilst serving aboard Medic, and was probably lucky to keep his job. The Boer War, in which British and Australian troops were fighting side by side, which was the first time these countries had fought together as allies, was still raging in South Africa. Because of this, feelings in Australia were obviously running high, so Charles Herbert Lightoller decided to play a prank on the residents of Sydney, which at that time, was a conservative city.
His plan was to pretend that a Boer raiding party was in Sydney, and attacking Fort Denison, and in order to effect the ruse, he rowed away from the Medic in the company of four midshipmen before sunrise, and climbed the tower of Fort Denison. They loaded a cannon with blasting powder, and then added cotton waste and fine grain powder, attached a fifty foot fuse, which they lit before returning to Medic in order to watch the outcome of their deeds. When the gun exploded, the force from it was enough to blow out windows of nearby buildings, and many residents were shocked to see the Boer flag flying over Fort Denison.
Charles Herbert Lightoller and his cohorts would have probably got away with the prank, however, witnesses on Medic had observed him leaving the ship, and soon after returning, it wasn't before the Police, together with the Sydney port authorities, were questioning Medic's crew. White Star Line had to pay compensation for the damage caused by Charles Herbert Lightoller's prank, and the local press were asking for those responsible to be punished. Many of the crew aboard the Medic believed Charles Herbert Lightoller's career with the White Star Line was as good as over, but the fact that Charles Herbert Lightoller took the blame for the whole incident, and didn't give the names of his cohorts actually worked in his favour. Charles Herbert Lightoller was reprimanded and passed over for promotion as his punishment.
Charles Herbert Lightoller later joined Majestic I, under the command of Captain Edward Smith, and then earned promotion to third officer aboard the Oceanic II, which was at that time the longest vessel in the world, and the flagship of the White Star Line. Charles Herbert Lightoller then returned to the Majestic I, as its first mate, and then returned to the Oceanic II, again as first mate.
Charles Herbert Lightoller joined his next vessel, Titanic, at Belfast, Ireland, just a couple of weeks before she sailed from Southampton, England. Captain Edward Smith gave Henry Tingle Wilde the post of chief officer, due to the fact he had previously served on Olympic, which in turn led William McMaster Murdoch to be demoted to first officer, and Charles Herbert Lightoller as her second officer. David Blair, who was originally rostered to serve on Titanic as the second officer, had to therefore leave Titanic, and join another ship. David Blair's departure in the officer shuffle had caused a problem, which wouldn't become apparent until Titanic had sailed. David Blair still had the key to the binoculars cupboard about his person, Charles Herbert Lightoller was told to get some upon their arrival at New York.
On evening of the 14th April, 1912, Charles Herbert Lightoller was on his normal watch on the bridge, and so far, it had been another ordinary shift. When Charles Herbert Lightoller was relieved by William McMaster Murdoch, who was on duty when Titanic had it's fatal collision with the iceberg. Charles Herbert Lightoller had retired to his cabin, just behind the bridge, and was getting ready for bed when he felt the collision. Still in his pyjamas, Charles Herbert Lightoller dashed out onto the deck to see if he could see what Titanic had collided with, but could see nothing, and decided to return to his cabin, where he could be contacted, if needed. Charles Herbert Lightoller stayed on his bed awake until summoned to the bridge by Joseph Groves Boxhall. He dressed warmly, and reported to the bridge, where he was told what had happened, and then proceeded to assist with the evacuation of the doomed Titanic.
Charles Herbert Lightoller spent the majority of his time loading Titanic's port side lifeboats, however, his interpretation of the command, "women and children only", was carried out in a fairly strict way. His final task was the launching of Collapsible B, one of the four Englehardt folding lifeboats carried by Titanic. Unfortunately, because of a large bow wave caused by the sinking, Collapsible B was washed away, upside down, from Charles Herbert Lightoller, so he dived into the deepening water in an effort to secure it, and made for the crow's nest, which was by now level with the water. Charles Herbert Lightoller, thought better of it, and before he could do anything more, he found himself sucked under water by one of the forward ventilators, which had now flooded, and he was pinned to some grating. Charles Herbert Lightoller was held fast, and must have wondered if his time had come, but luckily, just a few seconds later, he was freed by a blast of hot water, which blew him back to the surface. After surveying his surroundings, he saw lifeboat Collapsible B floating nearby, still upside down, and with several people holding on to it. Then one of the funnels broke free, and as it hit the water, Charles Herbert Lightoller and Collapsible B were washed clear from Titanic. Charles Herbert Lightoller had to organize the 30 or so people aboard it, and calmly set about the night ahead on the overturned Collapsible B. Firstly, he tried to alert any nearby lifeboats, or perhaps persons in the water, by leading those aboard to shout "Boat Ahoy", but without success. The next priority was to try to keep the upturned Collapsible B from being swamped, by instructing those aboard to shift their weight to counter the swells, which they had to do until they were rescued, which they performed admirably, until they were rescued by one of the another lifeboats. Charles Herbert Lightoller had the distinction of being the last person to board the Carpathia, his job safely done.
Similar Pages: Titanic's Officers | Captain Edward John Smith | Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde | First Officer William McMaster Murdoch | Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller | Third Officer Herbert John Pitman | Fourth Officer Joseph Groves Boxhall | Fifth Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe | Sixth Officer James Paul Moody |