The Missing Binoculars
Everyone’s heard the tale of how the lookout in the crow’s nest couldn’t find binoculars on the night the Titanic hit the iceberg. This happened because of a last minute change of crew that saved one man’s life but perhaps at the cost of some 1,500 others.
David Blair was a White Star Line worker who was meant to be second officer on the Titanic. At the last minute, however, Blair was transferred to the Olympic; in his rush, Blair accidentally took the key to the locked crow’s nest telephone as well as the binoculars that could have helped prevent the disaster.
In 2012, 100 years after the disaster, pranksters put a pair of binoculars on the grave of Titanic lookout Frederick Fleet with a note that read “Sorry they’re 100 years too late.”
Fleet survived the sinking and went on to be a lookout aboard the Oceanic as well as a soldier in WWII.
Saved by the Drink
Though the water was so cold that most passengers left in it would die in just two to fifteen minutes, the ship’s baker Charles Joughin reportedly survived after treading water for two hours with relatively few injuries. He said that he had drunk so much whiskey, his body didn’t feel the cold.