The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner operated by the White Star Line that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. More than 1,500 of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard died, making the sinking one of the deadliest for a single ship up to that point. While it is still considered the deadliest peacetime superliner or cruise ship sinking. The disaster drew widespread public attention, laid the groundwork for the disaster film genre, and inspired numerous artistic works. However, did you know there was a person who survived the sinking in the most unconventional way?
Charles Joughin, the Titanic’s chief baker, drank an entire bottle of whiskey as the ship was sinking and spent about 3 hours in the -2°c waters before he was rescued and brought to safety.
How Did Charles Joughin Survive the Titanic Sinking?
During the Titanic’s sinking, Joughin and the other chefs were tasked with transporting food and supplies to the lifeboats. Joughin, along with stewards and other seamen, assisted women and children in boarding lifeboats. When the women on deck refused to go to the boat, claiming they were safer aboard the Titanic, he forcibly dragged them up and threw them into the lifeboat.
Then he went back to his cabin and drank as much whiskey as he could, preparing to die. Later, he went down to the B Deck promenade and threw about fifty deckchairs overboard so that people in the freezing waters could use them as floatation devices. Joughin was the last person to leave the Titanic, and he did so in style.
Instead of dying instantly from fright and a massive heart attack, he rode the ship down like an elevator. He simply stepped off the Titanic and into the water, and according to his account, he didn’t even get his hair wet.
Joughin was then rescued after three hours in the -2 degrees waters of the Atlantic Ocean. That temperature for that period of time would have normally killed anyone. Joughin’s body, on the other hand, had so much whiskey coursing through it that the alcohol fought the cold and kept him alive.
He swam until daylight when he noticed an upturned collapsible lifeboat with Second Officer Charles Lightoller and about 25 other men standing on the side. He swam slowly towards it, but there was no room. Isaac Maynard, a cook, recognized him and took his hand as the Chief Baker clung to the side of the boat, his feet and legs still in the water. Joughin then swam to another lifeboat and was taken in, where he stayed until he boarded the RMS Carpathia, which rescued him. (Source: History)
What Happens to Charles Joughin After the Sinking of the Titanic?
Joughin returned to England after surviving the Titanic and was one of the crew members who reported to testify at the British Inquiry led by Viscount Mersey. In 1920, he relocated to Paterson, New Jersey, and according to his obituary, he was also onboard the SS Oregon when it sank in Boston Harbor. Before retiring in 1944, he worked on ships operated by American Export Lines as well as on World War II troop transports. (Source: History)