Tuesday, February 12, 2008
5th Officer Lowe
Harold Godfrey Lowe was born on November 21, 1882 in Cowny, North Wales, England. His father was a respectable business man and had high hopes for him and his other five brothers and their hoped his two sisters would marry respectable husbands. Instead, Harold went to sea at age 14.
He was cabin boy on a vessel traveling around South Africa and slowly rose in rank. He passed his second mate test in 1906 and first mate test in 1908. Then, in 1911, got his master. He joined the White Star Line in 1911 and was 3rd officer on the Belgic and the Tropic.
He was demoted to 5th officer on the TITANIC. He was asleep when the iceberg struck and when defending himself before the inquiry, he said, "We officers do not have any too much sleep, and therefore when we sleep, we die." He woke up half an hour later. While loading the lifeboats, Mr. Ismay was encouraging others to get into the lifeboats when he got in the way of Lowe and Lowe blessed him out. He took charge of Boat No. 14 when it was being lowered, he fired shots into the air because he saw some men whom looked like they were about to jump. After the great ship went down, Lowe waited until the cries for help died down and then he went towards the people where most of them were dead already.
He picked up 4 survivors and then saw a man on a door that was Japanese. He later said : "A little further on, we saw a floating door that must have been torn loose when the ship went down. Lying upon it, face downward, was a small Japanese. He had lashed himself with a rope to his frail raft, using the broken hinges to make the knots secure. As far as we could see, he was dead. The sea washed over him every time the door bobbed up and down, and he was frozen stiff. He did not answer when he was hailed, and the officer hesitated about trying to save him.
"What's the use?" said Mr Lowe. He's dead, likely, and if he isn't there's others better worth saving than a Jap!"
He had actually turned our boat around; but he changed his mind and went back. The Japanese was hauled on board, and one of the women rubbed his chest, while others chafed his hands and feet. In less time than it takes to tell, he opened his eyes. He spoke to us in his own tongue; then, seeing that we did not understand, he struggled to his feet, stretched his arms above his head, stamped his feet, and in five minutes or so had almost recovered his strength. One of the sailors near to him was so tired that he could hardly pull his oar. The Japanese bustled over, pushed him from his seat, took the oar and worked like a hero until we were finally picked up. I saw Mr Lowe watching him in open-mouthed surprise.
"By Jove!" muttered the officer. "I'm ashamed of what I said about the little blighter. I'd save the likes o' him six times over, if I got the chance." He cried out to the guy but he didn't respond. He hauled him on and after reviving him, the man grabbed an oar and stayed there until they reached the Carpathia. One of the men that he rescued, died of exposure during the boat ride and did not survive the night.
Officer Lowe later married Emily White House and they had two children, Harold and Florence. He served as commander during WW1 and then retired from the sea. He died in 1944.