Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Titanic: Not always women and children first

Titanic. In this photograph of the cabinet shop, taken in 1899, a small army of cabinet-makers are at work. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Titanic workers
The Titanic Building will immortalise one of history's most enduring tales

Although the women and children first rule was followed by Captain Charles Lightoller on the Titanic's starboard deck when the extent of the damage to the ship became clear, at the start it was a question of the chaps joining their women in the row to safety.

And there was a class divide. Karl Behr, a 26-year-old lawn tennis champion and lawyer, who was pursuing Helen, daughter of Mrs Beckwith who was also accompanied by her second husband, remembers J Bruce Ismay suggesting they get into a lifeboat pronto.

Everybody declined, thinking the risk was slight but at the second request, they acted. About to get into lifeboat no 5, Mrs Beckwith asked the crew if the men of the party could get in. They said yes, and although three husbands and fathers of women on boat no 5 stayed behind, and perished, the Beckwith party was saved. At the last minute, Dr Henry William Frauenthal, determined to join his wife Clara, jumped into the boat with his brother Isaac.

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