On the 15th April 1912, the largest passenger ship at the time sank due to a collision with an iceberg. If you haven’t guessed already it was the Titanic.
If you remember the movie you may recall a baker drinking from a flask and hanging from a rail during the sinking of the Titanic. That man was Charles Joughin, who was the head baker on board the Titanic and the famous survivor who got hammered on whiskey. What the movie fails to mention is that Charles did a lot more than get trashed.
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Charles ordered his fellow bakers to pass out food and supplies to the lifeboats as well as rounding up and loading the passengers in. He states that at one stage he and three other men had to forcibly move women and children into a lifeboat. Charles even gave up a seat on one of the life boats as he believed it would have set a bad example.
Passengers secured, Charles returned to his cabin to do what anyone of us would have done in that situation, hit the bottle. After about an hour, he emerged to throw chairs into the water not because he was wasted but in the hopes that they could be used as floats.
As the ship started to become submerged, stories claim that he stepped off the stern into the water without getting his hair wet. It is said that he spent 2-3 hours treading the water before he found a lifeboat. There was no room on board so he hung onto the boat until he spotted friend and cook John Maynard, who held onto Charles until 2 more lifeboats came to the rescue.
Some say that it was all the alcohol that he consumed that saved him while others have different explanations. In the end he survived, so I guess that’s all that matters. He died on the 9th December 1956 in Paterson, New Jersey.
More on the story of Charles Joughin.
For interesting Titanic facts click here