Titanic: The designer, owner, officer and lookout
- 15 April 2012
- From the section England
The designer of the Titanic went down with his ship, whereas the man whose company owned the liner left on the last lifeboat, a decision he almost immediately regretted.
The most senior officer to survive the tragedy later went on to become a hero at Dunkirk in World War II.
The first man to see the iceberg that sank the liner was a reluctant witness at the two inquiries into the sinking, and ended up taking his own life.
J Bruce Ismay
J Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, left the Titanic in one of the last lifeboats to be launched, a decision that was to haunt him for the rest of his life.
Second Officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior crew member to survive, told the United States Senate inquiry that after he was rescued Mr Ismay "was obsessed with the idea that he ought to have gone down with the ship because he found that women had gone down".
Mr Ismay was in his state room asleep when the Titanic hit the iceberg, but soon found out from Captain Smith that the liner was doomed to sink.
He told the Senate inquiry: "I asked [Captain Smith] what had happened, and he said, 'we have struck ice'. I said, 'do you think the ship is seriously damaged'? He said, 'I am afraid she is'."
He helped row one of the collapsible lifeboats away from the sinking liner telling the Senate inquiry: "I did not wish to see her go down - I am glad I did not."
At the inquiries into the sinking he faced tough questioning about whether he had interfered with the course and speed the liner took.
"I have never done so," he told the Senate inquiry, though admitted that Captain Smith did give him one of the telegrams from other ships warning the Titanic there was ice ahead.
The fears he expressed to Second Officer Lightoller about how his decision not to go down with the ship would be received were well founded, as his actions were widely criticised in the American press.
He never overcame the shame of jumping into a lifeboat and retired from the White Star Line in 1913, a broken man.
Like Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic, went down with his ship.
It was he who delivered the shocking news to the captain that it was a mathematical certainty that the Titanic would sink, once he had found out that the ship was holed in five of its watertight compartments.
Mr Andrews was seen urging people to get into the lifeboats, aware of just how little time the liner, thought to be unsinkable by many passengers, had left.
The 39-year-old designer was a nephew of Lord Pirrie, the principal owner of Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard who built the Titanic.
Mr Andrews habitually travelled on the maiden voyages of the ships he had a hand in building, crossing the Atlantic in the Adriatic, Oceanic and Olympic.
J Bruce Ismay told the Senate inquiry said that Mr Andrews had been on board "as a representative of the builders, to see that everything was working satisfactorily and also to see how he could improve the next ship".
He made no attempt to get into a lifeboat, or even to leave the sinking ship.
A steward was the last person to see him, sitting looking at a painting of Plymouth harbour in the first class smoking room, not even wearing his lifebelt.
The Thomas Andrews Jr memorial hall was opened in his home town of Comber, in County Down, Northern Ireland, in January 1914.
Second Officer Charles Lightoller
Second Officer Charles Lightoller played a key role in the evacuation of the Titanic as well as having a remarkable escape from the icy water when it sank.
He was also the most senior officer serving on the Titanic to survive the sinking and was a key witness in the two inquiries into the tragedy.
His watch had finished and he was in his bunk when the collision happened.
"There was a slight jar followed by this grinding sound," he told the British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry .
He put some clothes on over his pyjamas and went to the bridge.
Captain Smith ordered him to put the women and children into the lifeboats and "lower away".
Lightoller supervised the launching of the lifeboats on Titanic's port side and was scrupulous about not allowing men into them.
He was still struggling to launch one of the collapsible lifeboats as the sea swept over the ship and forced him to dive into the water.
He then found himself pinned against a grating and being dragged down with the Titanic, before a blast of air pushed him away.
He told the Senate inquiry that he had been in the water for "between half an hour and an hour" and that the water had been "intensely cold".
He was saved by the lifeboat he had been trying to launch, which was floating upside down with about 30 men balanced precariously on top.
After spending the whole night struggling to keep the lifeboat afloat he was eventually picked up with the other survivors by the liner Carpathia.
In later life he was a decorated officer in the Royal Navy in World War I and was part of the armada of small boats that evacuated solders from Dunkirk in World War II.
Lookout Frederick Fleet
Frederick Fleet, one of the two lookouts in the crow's-nest of the Titanic, was the first man to see the iceberg that sank the liner.
Mr Fleet was an important witness at both the British and American inquiries, but was far from happy about being questioned - "Is there any more likes to have a go at me?" he asked at the end of his evidence to the British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry .
He was very reluctant to speculate about how big the iceberg was, or how far away it was when he first saw it.
He did tell the Senate inquiry that when he had first seen the iceberg ahead it had appeared to be "as large as two tables put together".
After ringing a bell three times to warn of danger ahead, he phoned the ship's bridge, receiving a polite "thank you" from an officer to the news that the ship was heading towards an iceberg at full speed.
From his position in the crow's-nest he had one of the best views of the ice as it slid past the starboard side of the ship, telling his fellow lookout Reginald Lee it had been "a close shave".
Later he was part of the crew of lifeboat six and was picked up by Carpathia.
After the disaster he went back to sea, at one time serving in the Titanic's sister ship the Olympic.
His life ended tragically - he committed suicide after the death of his wife and was buried in a pauper's grave in Southampton.
A headstone was later paid for through donations to the Titanic History Society.