Harold Godfrey Lowe (21st November 1882 to 12th May 1944)

 

 

On the way to Llandudno for a long weekend I pulled in at a quaint churchyard is in Rhos-On-Sea. I was here to find the grave of Harold Lowe who was an officer on the Titanic – and a survivor. About 2200 were on board and Harold was one of around 700 people who lived to tell the tale. The cemetery was quite sprawling but thankfully I knew the grave was on the perimeter. I had a stroll around and found it within a few minutes.

 

Harold was born here in Rhos-On-Sea in 1882, the forth of eight children. He must have the sea in his blood as he ran away from home at 14, joined the Merchant Navy and sailed around the African coast for five years. On returning to Wales he gained more sailing certificates. Aged 30 he was working for White Star which owned the Titanic and got a job on it. He reported to White Star’s offices in Liverpool then travelled to Belfast to board the gigantic liner. This would be his first Atlantic crossing.

 

Two days after the liner set sail Harold was off duty and asleep. He remained asleep when the liner struck an ice berg at about 11.40pm.  He woke about half an hour later and realised the liner was in trouble. He dressed, grabbed his revolver and went up onto deck to find the bow was tipping about fifteen degrees. He saw groups of passengers in lifejackets and began helping the other crew launch the lifeboats.

 

At about 1:30am he spoke with Officer Moody (I also found his home - see www.johnhalley.uk/BP%20-%20Moody.htm). By now panic was rife among the passengers and both felt the boats needed officers with them. Harold boarded Lifeboat 14 and as it was being lowered he fired three warning shots into the air to stop people trying to jump onto the boat. When the boat reached the water he ordered it to be rowed about 140m away from the liner. When Titanic finally went under at 2.20am he began to gather several lifeboats together. Can you imagine what view he had of the ship going down (if the lights were still on?) And what noises it made as it broke up? I’m sure he never forgot these things.

 

He helped bring the lifeboats together and distribute people more evenly across them (you can get 40-45 people in one.) How much light was available is unknown but he took one lifeboat across to the location where the liner sank shouting, "Is there anyone alive out there?" He picked up only four men, but one died later on. He spotted a man who had lashed himself to a door which must have torn off the liner as it sank. The man was facing down and did not answer to calls. Sensing a breeze Harold had his crew raise the small mast in the lifeboat and rescued more people from Collapsible A which was sinking. The next morning they were picked up by RMS Carpathia. When Harold returned home 1,300 turned out to a reception held to honour him and he was presented with a gold watch.

 

I thought there may be some kind of wreath on the grave but there wasn’t. Harold lies here with his wife (they had two children) with a view of the sea he loved. Not much is known about him. He served in both World Wars and retired at 49. Ill health forced him into a wheelchair and he died of hypertension at 61. Before the liner sailed Harold had posted his fiancé a menu of the first meal ever served. This was sold at an auction for £51,000 in 2004. I did a hearty salute and left.

 

 

Looking looking

 

Found him…down there…

 

 

 

As portrayed in the film…

 

Easy to find as it was on the edge of the graveyard.                          As portrayed in the film…

 

 

His final view out to the sea which he loved…

 

 

 

 

The view up to the church (can you spot me?)

 

In the same graveyard I found a wooden cross under which is buried and unknown unclaimed body (the sign says it all.) I wondered who he was? Sorry but the photo is a little blurred.

 

 

 

A photo taken of the iceberg the day after the sinking…