107 #95: One of Titanic’s lifeboats was found drifting in the Atlantic a month after the sinking with the bodies of three victims still in it

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Titanic's lifeboats

TRUE. This was collapsible A, found by the Oceanic on 13th May, 1912, several hundred miles south-east of Titanic’s wreck site. One of the bodies was that of First Class passenger Thomson Beattie; the other two were never identified, although it is possible that one was that of Third Class passenger Arthur Keefe. Sir Shane Leslie, a passenger on board the Oceanic, described the scene:

‘The sea was calm at noon when the watch called out that something could be seen floating ahead. The ship slowed down and it was apparent that the object was an open ship’s lifeboat floating in mid Atlantic. What was horrifying is that it contained three prostrate figures. Orders from the bridge dispatched a lifeboat with an officer and a medical officer. What followed was ghastly. Two sailors could be seen, their hair bleached by exposure to sun and salt, and a third figure, wearing evening dress, flat on the benches. All three were dead and the bodies had been tossing on the Atlantic swell under the open sky ever since it had seen the greatest of ocean liners sink. The three bodies were sewn into canvas bags with a steel bar at the end of each. Then one after the other the bodies were draped in the Union Jack, the burial service was read, and they splashed into the sea.’

Fifth Officer Lowe had left these bodies in Collapsible A after transferring all those who were still alive into his own boat, No. 14. At the US enquiry, he said that he had left the bodies of the three men only after he was absolutely sure that they were dead, as he was concentrating on saving only those who were still alive:

HGL686: (Senator SMITH) ‘What became of the other three that you left on it?’
(Mr. LOWE): ‘As to the three people that I left on her—of course, I may have been a bit hard hearted, I can not say—but I thought to myself, “I am not here to worry about bodies; I am here for life, to save life, and not to bother about bodies,” and I left them.’

If you’d like to read the full book of101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic…But Didn’t!, or any of my other books on Titanic, please visit my Author Page on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/tim-maltin/e/B005LNHYEQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

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