Who Were They Wednesday

Joseph george scarrott

Joseph George Scarrott

Just ten days before his 34th birthday, Joseph George Scarrott would be one of the few lucky survivors of the Titanic disaster, taking charge of lifeboat 14 (until Officer Lowe came along) after watching the iceberg scrape the side of the ship. 

As part of the 8 to 12 watch, Scarrott was on deck when he heard the three bells come from the crow’s nest at around half-past eleven. In the British Inquiry he would describe the Titanic shaking as if the engines had been “suddenly reversed to full speed astern” before seeing the iceberg and the large amount of ice on the starboard side of the fore-well deck. His description of the iceberg would later lend to the theory of Captain W. Wood’s photograph of ‘the iceberg that sank the titanic’- though it’s never been fully proven.The iceberg in Captain W. Wood’s photograph would mirror the drawing of the iceberg that sank the Titanic that Scarrott himself drew. Scarrott’s testimony would vividly describe what he witnessed in detail.

After the crash, after word was given to uncover the boats, Joseph Scarrott assisted with manuvering four boats to be lowered before attending number 14, where he was assigned. He temporarily took charge of boat 14 until Fifth Officer Lowe appeared.

They would load approximately twenty women and children into the boat before it was rushed by what Scarrott described as foreigners. He would testify that he prevented five men from getting in the boat before the fifty-four women and children were fully loaded and ready to be lowered onto the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.

Interestingly, his testimony would also mention Officer Lowe bringing out a revolver and firing two shots between the boat and the ship’s side to keep control of the crowds. Scarrott mentioned to Lowe that he was having trouble maintaining control, and thus the warning shots were fired. According to Scarrott Lowe would later empty the remaining five rounds into the water.

Lifeboat fourteen was lowered from the sinking ship with some difficulty, until the boat was at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. To solve this problem they cut the fall and thankfully the plug, their main concern, remained in place.

After getting clear of the ship Scarrott recalled that Lowe maintained control of approximately four boats. Boat 14, accompanied by the others, watched as the Titanic sank. When Scarrott recalled the instance during the inquiry he would maintain that the ship’s stern was so high up in the water they could see the propellors. Scarrott witnessed four explosions, probably the ship breaking apart, before Titanic sank.

According to his testimony four of the boats were tied together and passengers transferred so that they could make up a full crew to return to the site for survivors. Though they heard hundreds of cries when they got to the wreckage they were merely among hundreds of dead bodies. They would rescue one man who died shortly after they got him into the boat, before rescuing three others. They would continue on to make sail to get to their other boats. On the way they came across the overturned collapsible, where they would rescue several more before towing them to the Carpathia, who had thankfully been sighted at this time.

Content: Elena Vukosa

Joseph George Scarrott titanic iceberg drawing
titanic icerberg photograph

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