It was April 14, 1912. Charles Joughin had finally fallen asleep after a hard day’s work in the ship’s kitchens. Suddenly, he was woken by a tremendous jolt. He felt the vessel shudder violently beneath him. Then, after a momentary pause, it continued moving forward. Assuming that the danger had passed, Joughin tried to return to sleep. But at about 11:35 pm, just a few minutes after the jolt, he was summoned to the bridge. Here, he was given some most unwelcome information.

The End Is Here?

Captain Smith had sent an inspection team below decks to see if anything was wrong. The men had returned with the terrible news that the ship had struck an iceberg and that the force of the blow had seriously buckled the hull. Rivets had been forced out over a length of some ninety meters and seawater was now gushing into the ship at a tremendous rate.

Charles Joughin realized that he, as a member of crew, would not be given a place in a lifeboat. As the ship began listing at an alarming angle, he decided to drink himself into oblivion. He descended into his cabin, downed a huge quantity of whisky (according to one account he finished off two bottles). He then returned to the deck and, with drunken energy, began pushing women into the lifeboats.

 

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