Were there any survivors of the Titanic who never got into one of the Titanic's lifeboats?

Dec 2013
389
Arkansas
I might recall hearing or reading somewhere that Smith had never had a serious accident with a ship in his previous career, thus he was unprepared (had no experience) when Titanic hit the berg. I'm not saying that most captains had previously survived a sinking, but most captains had seen serious problems at sea - severe weather, man overboard, etc - and were better prepared psychologically to deal with crises.
I thought that too. But then I saw that when he commanded the RMS Olympic (Titanic's sister ship) there was an accident where Olympic collided with a warship while in harbor. Two of Olympics forward compartments flooded and the crew of the ship was held responsible for the accident.

I think that Smith simply had a very common view from that time that large liners like Titanic were basically immune to collisions with icebergs. When the enormity of the disaster began to sink in to Smith he apparently became staggeringly indecisive. Not only were the orders he gave uninspired and largely of little consequence, he didn't bother supervising his crew in carrying out those orders. As a result there was a staggeringly huge "leadership gap" aboard Titanic when it was needed most of all
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,384
Kansas
I thought that too. But then I saw that when he commanded the RMS Olympic (Titanic's sister ship) there was an accident where Olympic collided with a warship while in harbor. Two of Olympics forward compartments flooded and the crew of the ship was held responsible for the accident.
The incident was with HMS Hawke. Olympic was still under pilot control when the incident occurred. The actual fault of the incident has been argued over the years, and one could argue the Royal Navy found in favor of the Royal Navy because it was the Royal Navy.

And terms of damage, it was a real case of you should have seen the other guy lol

 
Jun 2017
3,027
Connecticut
I thought that too. But then I saw that when he commanded the RMS Olympic (Titanic's sister ship) there was an accident where Olympic collided with a warship while in harbor. Two of Olympics forward compartments flooded and the crew of the ship was held responsible for the accident.

I think that Smith simply had a very common view from that time that large liners like Titanic were basically immune to collisions with icebergs. When the enormity of the disaster began to sink in to Smith he apparently became staggeringly indecisive. Not only were the orders he gave uninspired and largely of little consequence, he didn't bother supervising his crew in carrying out those orders. As a result there was a staggeringly huge "leadership gap" aboard Titanic when it was needed most of all
He didn't just command the Olympic he had commanded at least the last two of the "Big Four" class as well if not all of them. Besides the masters of the Lusitania and Mauretania he was the only captain who had experience commanding a ship of even half the size of the Olympic class(though CGT came out with a 20,000 ton ship around the time Titanic sank and of course several other lines such as HAPAG, NDL and Holland Amerika had ordered ships of that size when war broke out, in addition to the biggest battleships in the British and German navys). He had been commanding the largest ships on earth and just those for about a decade at this point.

Interestingly enough when Captain Smith said "i cannot picture a condition that would cause this ship to founder, modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that" he was referring to the Adriatic which was about half the Titanic's size(and about 150 feet shorter). That was 1907.

Per Smith's handling of the Hawke incident, he was not in command the harbor pilot was. The Hawke incident also only furthered the idea the ships were unsinkable and would have made the Captain more not less confident if anything. Unlike Titanic Olympic might have been the most durable non military ship of all time, and sank at least two other ships with minimal damage despite not having guns. Olympic ran over a UBoat.
 
Jun 2017
3,027
Connecticut
Note I was looking at Wikipedia entries on the Titanic and one about a young man who survived said he was "one of 40" passengers who went into the water and were later rescued.
Likely referring to the collapsible situation. But there had to have been more than the commonly cited 5-6 people pulled out of the water(those situations like the cook add up and the total while low is something higher than 5-6) overall. Going through night to remember the anecdotal accounts pile up well beyond that(several people jumped into the water and were picked up by lifeboats)I think that's referring to the specific efforts of the boats Lowe organized to pull people out of the water/ and after the sinking(many people were in the water at least a minutes before). But even with this narrow definition I don't think the cook is being counted.

At the end of the day there really is no way to conclusively say exactly how many people were launched in the lifeboats(especially the later ones which would have been the ones picking up additional passengers despite being full/almost full) and how many people got into a lifeboat another way later. But just by counting the anecdotal stories of people who claim to have been in the water/people who were reportedly rescued by the group that went back the 5-6 number simply can not be correct. That being said 40 is a pretty high guesstimate and I don't think the guy who said that literally counted every person and more likely he was guessing.
 
Dec 2013
389
Arkansas
Likely referring to the collapsible situation.
I do think you are correct. Because everyone I look up their story goes like this "they jumped or were thrown overboard into the water and eventually made their way to cling to the top of Collapsible "A" (or whichever letter it was).

Obviously the number varies greatly when you try to identify how long someone was actually in the water versus how long they managed to cling to a collapsible or lifeboat and keep themselves all or at least partially out of the water until the Carpathia arrived.