Officers in Charge

Captain Edward J Smith and his senior officers photographed on board Titanic, April 1912. Back row from Left to Right: Herbert McElroy (Purser), Charles Lightoller (Second Officer), Herbert Pitman (Third Officer), Joseph Boxhall (Fourth Officer), Harold Lowe (Fifth Officer); Front row from Left to Right: James Moody (Sixth Officer), Henry Wilde (Chief Officer), Captain Edward Smith, William Murdoch (First Officer).



The Officers in Charge were responsible for loading the lifeboats, following Captain Smith’s orders “Women and children first!”

Many women either did not want to leave their husbands, or were afraid to board the tiny lifeboats.  This created a dilemma for the officers:  did the Captain mean they should launch a lifeboat with only women and children, even if it was not filled to capacity?  Or did he mean to give priority to women and children, and then allow men to board to fill the lifeboat?

Officers on the port side did not allow men to board, and launched partially-filled lifeboats.  Officers on the starboard side would allow men to board to fill to capacity.

Of the eight officers in charge, four lost their lives on April 15, 1912.

What would you have done to save the passengers?

Find out more:

Captain Edward John SmithJanuary 27, 1850 - April 15, 1912
Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde, September 21, 1872 – April 15, 1912
First Officer William  Murdock, February 28, 1873 – April 15, 1912
Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, March 30, 1874 – December 8, 1952
Third Officer Herbert Pitman, November 20, 1877 – December 7, 1961
Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, March 23, 1884 – April 25, 1967
Fifth Officer  Harold Lowe, November 21,  1882 – May 12, 1944
Sixth Officer James Moody, August 21, 1887 – April 15, 1912