A Man Who Survived Both Titanic and Lusitania
Articles,  Blog

A Man Who Survived Both Titanic and Lusitania


Before people were able to take their overseas
vacays by plane, they had to take the long way around; that meant boarding a ship. And – let’s face it, a magnificent ocean
voyage was as luxurious as it could get. But you see, a lot of things can go wrong
when large ships did transatlantic crossings – especially during the early 1900s. The passengers weren’t aware of the dangers
at the time; at least not as much as the sailors and crew members. And luckily enough, some of them survived
to share their harrowing stories. But, I’ll get back to that……. George William Beauchamp was the legendary
sailor who survived two major ship disasters at the beginning of the 20th century. He was unlucky enough to experience these
disasters firsthand, both on board the Titanic and Lusitania. Yet, he was lucky enough to survive both. Or maybe he was a jinx, who knows? We’ll let the conspiracy theorists do that
one. Here, we’ll assume that he was just in the
wrong places at the wrong times… George Beauchamp was born in Hampshire, England
in 1888, and he was the middle child among 4 other siblings. His dad was working as a sawyer in the railway
works when George, who was still a teenager, finished school and embarked on a journey
at sea. It seems like he was fascinated by the sea
so much that he was determined to turn it into a career. It proved to be a career choice that would
change his life forever. For a while, he worked at the Union Castle
Line, which was a British shipping line that operated a fleet of cargo ships and passenger
liners between Europe and Africa. After that, he worked for the Royal Mail Ship,
and get this: before that time, RMS stood for Royal Mail Steamer, which indicated that
the Titanic was also constructed to carry mail. That’s probably why it also had a huge mail
room and a post office in the decks. Fascinating, right? – Now, back to our story. This later position was the one that would
change his life, and it was at the White Star Line. George was really looking forward to working
on board the “unsinkable” ship that we all know as Titanic. So, he did everything in his power to get
the position. You see, he applied for a job as a fireman,
and he listed all his credentials in the application as well. But get this: at the time, George was 42 years
old, and he needed to be younger to work in such a position because it required a lot
of physical strength, so he lied about his age and claimed that he was 32. He must’ve looked the part, because he got
the job! He would be earning about $7.50 a month. If you’re wondering how much that would
be today, it’s close to 850 bucks. On April 14th, 1912, at the time of the famous
collision, George was on Duty. He was working the 8pm to 12pm shift and was
down in the Number 10 stokehold. He said that he heard a loud BANG, that sounded
like a “roar of Thunder”. Not even a minute passed, and he and his colleagues
were given orders to STOP. When the engines stopped, the next orders
they were given were to immediately shut the dampers. At the same time, the watertight doors shut
completely to prevent any of the water from getting in. A few minutes later, the commander told the
firemen to draw fires; but as they were doing that, water started coming in from underneath
the floor. At that point, the commander told them all
to move to the escape ladder. George started climbing up and didn’t look
back until he made it to the boat deck. They had life-boats available for all the
crew members, and each crew member was assigned to a different boat. However, the list wasn’t created until that
morning, and not all the crew members had a chance to look at it. So, when George got there, he was lost. And, there was another problem with the lifeboats. It seems like they had so much confidence
that the Titanic was unsinkable, they never even did a boat drill, so almost no-one knew
what to do in this situation. His mission was to try and save as many women
and children as he could, and he did that successfully on boat number 13. When he finally managed to fill the boat with
70 people, he was given orders to lower it. That was when a few men helped themselves
in as well. Originally, George was going to be the only
man in the lifeboat, and he was going to use his strength as fireman to guide the boat
away from Titanic using the oars provided. But that wasn’t going to be as easy as they
thought. Unlike many other lifeboats who went out first,
George’s boat was too full, and even though it landed slowly and steadily in the waters,
he still struggled to guide it away from the ship without getting any water in it. The men who boarded the lifeboat right before
it was lowered to the sea found more oars and helped in distancing the lifeboat away
from the Titanic to stop it from taking them down with it. They managed to get away from the sinking
ship, but not by far. George recalled that they stopped rowing once
they felt they were at a secure distance. George and the passengers on the lifeboat
looked to see if there was a compass on the lifeboat, and there wasn’t, so they didn’t
know where they were or in which direction to head. Now, we all know that Titanic sunk at 2:20
in the morning, but the Carpathia – which was the ship who came to their rescue, didn’t
pick up Georges’ boat until 9:50 the next morning. That means they were floating in the water
for more than 7 hours. His boat was amongst the last ones to be picked
up out of a total of 13 lifeboats filled with people. George had had working experience at sea for
more than 10 years when he boarded the Titanic, and when the unfortunate event happened, he
thought that it’d be the last time he’d have to deal with such a tragedy. But boy, was he mistaken. The next ship that George was a crew member
on was the Lusitania. And it would also soon face a catastrophe. It was built in 1906, and by 1915 it’d made
202 trips across the Atlantic. On May 7th, 1915, the ship was close to completing
its 202nd journey from New York to Liverpool and was about to receive its first and last
hit. There were 1266 passengers and 696 crew members
on board. The Lusitania was travelling parallel to the
south coast of Ireland when it was spotted by a German U-boat at 2:10 in the afternoon. Walther Schwieger, who was the commanding
officer of the U-boat, gave the order to fire a torpedo at the large ship, because they
believed that it was carrying military hardware to Europe. Even though the ship was going fast, it wasn’t
travelling at full speed, and was easily struck by the torpedo on the starboard bow. This caused an explosion at the point of contact,
and the ship began to take in water at an alarming speed. Even though there were enough lifeboats on
the ship to save everyone, the situation became chaotic due to the large list of people and
how fast the ship was sinking. Less than half of the people on board survived,
and among those was George. The Carpathia rescue ship of this story was
a British cruiser called June, who heard about the sinking a short time after the ship was
struck, and left the Harbor in Cork to offer help. Now, after that, you can imagine that George
began to question his decisions about his career path. However, his love for the sea and being a
crew member on ships remained. So, he found the middle ground. Right after he experienced the second major
sinking disaster in his life, he told his family that he was officially done with working
on large ships. His announcement was way overdue. George managed to save hundreds of lives during
both disasters, but it’s still unclear what his position was on the Lusitania, and where
he worked later. After he retired, he moved to Southampton
in the UK, where he spent the rest of his days close to the sea. Now it’s your turn: Do you know about any
more legendary people who had such extraordinary experiences? Let me know in the comments below. If you learned something new today, then give
this video a like and share it with a friend. But – hey! – don’t cruise away just
yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right
video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *