To find out more details about my new paperback book on the Titanic and the Californian, including ordering details, please look here.

Charles Joughin, Chief Baker

2nd November

Mr Walter Lord
Dear Sir,
Some secretaries brought to my notice your very splendid article "A Night to Remember" in the current issue of "The Ladies Home Journal."

Most written accounts were hair-raising scenes which did not actually occur, except in the last few moments when those left behind made a mad rush towards what they considered a safer place, the Poop Deck. Fortunately I was all alone, when the big list to port occurred. I was able to straddle the Starboard rail (on A deck) and stepped off as the ship went under. I had expected suction of some kind, but felt none. At no time was my head underwater. just kept moving my arms and legs and kept in an upright position. No trick at all with a left-belt on. Your account of the upturned collapsible with Col.Gracie aboard was very correct. Most of the crew, were familiar with life boat and Fire stations as they had manned the "Olympic" (a sister ship) previously. Some curious things are done at a time like this. Why did I lock the heavy iron door of the Bakery, stuff the heavy keys in my pocket, alongside two cakes of hard tobacco.

My conclusions of cause: Grave error on part of Captain Smith kept course in spite of ice warnings and severe drop in temperature from 5 P.M.
Loss of life: life boat shortage, for the number of passengers and crew, but many more could have been saved, had the women obeyed orders. In those circumstances the crew are helpless.

The remainder of the letter concerned the rest of his ship career, such as the fact that he made first voyage as Cabin Boy SS Melbourne to S.America in 1896; lack of time and problems with his handwriting forced me to curtail the transcription of his latter.

Joughin's file also included a letter from Captain J.H.Anderson, who wrote to the the Ladies Home Journal on 8/1/56. He says that Charles Joughin and he were shipmates and the stories recounted in "Journal" were almost verbatim as told by Joughin 30 years ago. One story that was not recounted in the Journal was Joughin's initial treatment aboard the Carpathia when he was placed in a warm oven to thaw him out, or as he expressed it "they popped me in an oven like one of me own pies!"
Anderson noted that "Joughin still worshipped at the shrine of Bacchus when I knew him" and that he had a small still in an unused locker for his alcoholic habits. Anderson noted that such behaviour would not be tolerated on his ship!


1. Spelling and punctuation have been preserved, where possible.

To go up a level, click here