Third Officer Herbert Pitman


Age: 34
Height: 5'8" (172.72cm)
Complexion: Dark/fair
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Blue/grey
Other: Moustache, deformed finger on right hand

Notes: Pitman seemed to be getting shorter by the year - 5ft 9 (1900), 5ft 8 (1902), 5 ft 7 (1902, 1906). He is listed as having both dark and fair complexion. His May 1900 2nd mate application has "none" under 'Peculiarities', however by his June 1902 1st mate application it mentions a "deformed finger," which was either very minor or maybe he suffered some injury between May 1900 and June 1902. Ellis Island records list him as 5'10" and 185 lbs, however photographs show him to be shorter than Lightoller, so 5'8" seems the most likely.




Biographical Information:


Summary

Often described as the 'quiet' or 'unknown' of Titanic's officers, he steadily rose in ranks until reaching fourth officer of the White Star liner Oceanic, prior to his promotion to third officer aboard the maiden voyage of Titanic. He sat smoking his pipe in his cabin shortly after the collison, before being put in charge of lifeboat no.5. Although instructed by First officer Murdoch to row and be standby near the aft gangway, after seeing it was closed, he actually rowed in the other direction, joining his lifeboat with lifeboat no.7 to even the numbers, before sitting on their oars and watching Titanic sink. Pitman initially wanted to return but countercommanded his order on the urging of the women passengers.

At the US Inquiry, Pitman apparently broke down, according to newspaper reports, when pushed to describe the noise of those drowning after they decided not to return. He then faced his own crisis when he failed new eyesight tests which meant he had to change positions from a deck officer to assistant purser. However he remained at sea for a total of 50 years and was awarded an MBE, attending the premiere of the 1958 film A Night to Remember.

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