As the 11 Oscar-winning film Titanic, from 1997, returns to the theaters in 3D, I have an itch to write about this historically significant event. I will however keep this light and not focus on the sad deaths that occurred, but instead focus on two unique survivors.
Titanic Survivor: Charles Joughin
The first was an employee of the RMS Titanic, a chief baker, named Charles Joughin. Joughin has a heroic and somewhat humorous survival story. Within minutes of the impact into the iceberg, Joughin rounded up the entire bakery staff and with their help loaded provisions–over 500 pounds of bread–into the lifeboats. Many eyewitnesses account that Joughin not only gave up his own seat, but forcibly tossed women and children onto lifeboats whom foolishly believed that they were safer on the Titanic. With all of the lifeboats deployed into the icy waters, Joughin made one last-ditch effort to allow a few more to survive. Making a pit-stop on his way to the upper deck, Joughin stopped by his quarters to have “a drop of liqueur”. (Which turned out to be a gross understatement!) Once he made it on the upper deck, he threw fifty-plus deck chairs over the ship’s side into the water so that they could be used as flotation devices. As he was doing this, the luxury boat snapped, flinging the remaining passengers into the water. Only Joughin was left on the boat, and he rode it all the way into the ocean making him officially ‘the last passenger off of the RMS Titanic’. Floating in the frigid water, for more than two hours, Charles Joughin was the only survivor to make it out of the water. Joughin claims that due to the liqueur he has consumed, he barely felt the cold; that the liqueur was certainly a contributing factor in his survival.
The second survivor was the only Japanese passenger on the ship, Masabumi Hosono. He acted in a heroic manner filling boats with women and children. When one of the last boats was about to take off, the officer captaining the lifeboat shouted, “room for two more!” As there were no more women or children around, Hosono took the last seat on the lifeboat. (Coincidentally, this was the lifeboat that earlier mentioned Charles Joughin was assigned to.) Sadly, even though he heroically saw to it that dozens of people were saved, he was seen by Japan as a disgrace. He was fired from his job, condemned as a coward, and found guilty of “betray[ing] the Samurai spirit of self-sacrifice”.
It is good to know that there are a good few individuals that helped and survived as a reward for their efforts. With the condensed versions of the Titanic story in textbooks, it is important that everyone realizes that it wasn’t just the “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” that saved all of the survivors of the RMS Titanic!
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Check out other Titanic-related content on the site: The Grand Staircase of the Titanic.