Charles Lightoller

British sailor

Commander Charles Lightoller (30 March 18748 December 1952) was the second officer on board the Titanic and the most senior officer to survive the disaster. He later distinguished himself commanding one of the "Little Ships" during the Dunkirk evacuation.

Charles Lightoller


  • As I watched, I could see her bow getting deeper and deeper in the water with the foremast sticking up above the surface whilst her stern lifted higher and higher, till it was right out of the water.
    • Interview with the BBC, 1936
  • When she got to an angle of about 60 degrees, there was a sullen sort of rumbling roar as her massive boilers all left their beds and went crashing down through the bulkheads and everything that stood in their way.

    Up to that moment, she had stood out as clear as clear with her rows of electric lights all burning. When the boilers broke away, she was, of course, plunged into absolute darkness though her huge black outline was still perfectly distinct up against the stars and sky.

    Slowly she reared up on end till, at last, she was absolutely perpendicular. Then quite quietly, but quicker and quicker, she seemed just to slide away under the surface and disappear.

    As she vanished, everyone around me on the upturned boat, as though they could hardly believe it, just said, "She's gone."

    • Interview with the BBC, 1936

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