Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harsh Words Sink Careers

The sinking of the Titanic left an impact not only upon the iceberg but upon the hundreds of the survivors and one of them in particular Quartermaster Robert Hichens.

The 20 year-old was at the wheel of the liner on April 15, 1912, when she struck the iceberg that destroyed her.

He was also put in charge of a lifeboat number 6 only to be vilified as a coward for refusing to go back for more survivors.

Mr Hichens stood at the wheel of the Titanic and heard the shout 'hard a- starboard, no the other starboard'. Even though he desperately turned the wheel, the order came too late.

When he took command of one of the lifeboats he got into an argument with one of those aboard, the American socialite Molly Brown who urged him to go back for more survivors.

His order was to take people to safety and then come back for any remaining survivors, but being a yank she knew better and demanded that he go back to the Titanic straight away.

Hichens knew they would be sucked down with the Titanic and argued. When she got ashore, she said terrible things about him which were printed and stuck.

Afterwards seamen thought Hichens was jinxed and wouldn't sail with him and so he drank very heavily to try to fit in but he was publicly shamed, humiliated and racked with guilt .

He died in 1940 aboard a ship when a prank went horribly wrong. He was served with a salad and it was 'Iceberg' lettuce. He
died of heart failure aged 58 and was buried at sea .

Three days later in a cruel twist of fate a small fishing boat steaming for home with a full load hit his floating body and sunk drowning the 4 crew, the boat was named 'Tit watcher'.

1 comment:

angela said...

such a
tale ...