herbert pitman

(Left is Herbert John “Bert” Pitman.  Right is Lightoller!)

Herbert Pitman.  Herbert Pitman was the Third Officer on the Titanic and he felt and heard the collision, saying that it was like “coming to an anchor”.  Boxhall told him that they had hit an iceberg and the ship was taking in water and assisted with the lifeboats.

He helped Murdoch, who placed him in Lifeboat 5 and told him “Goodbye; good luck.”   With that statement the man began to worry over whether the ship would really stay afloat or not.  Once he was in the water for an hour he realised it would not stay afloat.  He was the one to report “It’s 2.20,” to the other lifeboat members after looking at his watch when the Titanic sank.

He could not stand the screams of those in the water and wanted to save them, yet when others protested out of fear of being swamped he decided not to go back, a decision that tormented him ever afterward.

Spoke out at various inquiries afterward.


Titanic’s Officers (2/2)  → [Third Officer Herbert John Pitman, Fourth Officer Joseph Groves Boxhall, Fifth Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe, Sixth Officer James Paul Moody]

“I do not pretend that any man can go down on a ship at midnight, in mid-Atlantic, and succeed in eliminating fear, without hard work. It was hard work…” - Charles Herbert Lightoller

DID YOU KNOW: two of Titanic’s surviving officers took wildly different tracks after the sinking? 

Second Officer Charles Lightoller (in bowler hat with pipe to right of center) was the senior-most surviving crew member of the Titanic, and supervised the loading of the port side lifeboats during the sinking. Lightoller would also become one of the most well-regarded surviving crew members due to stories of his stoic heroism as the ship sank. Despite his heroism in the sinking, and his service in the First World War, Lightoller found that White Star was unwilling to give him a vessel to command - something he attributed to Titanic being a “black mark” on his career. He worked several different odd jobs after leaving the sea – innkeeper, chicken farmer, writer, and property speculator. In the early 1930’s, Lightoller wrote his memoirs: Titanic and Other Ships, which was dedicated to his wife, Sylvia, “who made me do it.” The book became a popular seller until it was pulled from shelves when the Marconi Company threatened a lawsuit for libel against its operators. Lightoller commanded his yacht, Sundowner, as one of the Dunkirk “Little Ships” in 1940, before dying in 1952, at the age of 78.

Third Officer Herbert Pitman (with mustache, roughly center) was not a member of the Royal Navy Reserve, and thus avoided being called up in the First World War. continued to work for the White Star Line following the sinking of the Titanic - even serving as an officer aboard Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, in the 1920′s. He retired from White Star in the late 1920′s to work for the Shaw, Saville, & Albion Line, whose vessel, S.S. Mataroa, Pitman served as chief purser aboard during the Second World War due to failing eyesight. Pitman remained a sailor until his diminished eyesight forced his retirement in 1946, after over 60 years at sea. Pitman died at home in 1961 at age 84, the second-to-last surviving officer of Titanic.