The Titanic Life of Charles Herbert Lightoller

The Titanic Life of Charles Herbert Lightoller

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Post-Titanic Life
Lightoller continued to be a man of action in the years following the Titanic disaster. At the start of World War I, Lightoller commanded torpedo boat HMTB 117. In 1915 he destroyed Zeppelin L31 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Lightoller later commanded torpedo-boat-destroyer Falcon, which sank on the sixth anniversary of the Titanic disaster. He was next awarded command of the destroyer Garry, which rammed and sank the German submarine UB-110.

Charles Herbert Lightoller

Charles Herbert Lightoller standing on the bridge, possibly Oceanic (1899).

Lightoller returned to White Star Line in 1919 to become Celtic’s chief officer. Although he aspired to become Olympic’s captain, he was never offered the post. It soon became apparent to Lightoller that his association with Titanic would prevent him from ever commanding any White Star Line vessel, so he left the company.

In 1929, Lightoller purchased a surplus Admiralty steam launch. Lightoller refitted and lengthened the vessel, converting her into a yacht that he named Sundowner. On 1 June 1940 Lightoller, along with many other small-boat sailors, headed across the English Channel to rescue British soldiers trapped at Dunkirk.  Although Sundowner’s rated capacity was 21, Lightoller somehow squeezed over 130 men onto his yacht.

Commander Lightoller died on 8 December 1952. His life was well lived, despite the best efforts of sea and man to hasten its conclusion.

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