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Remembering Titanic’s Second Officer Charles Lightoller today on what would have been his 150th birthday, born in Chorley, Lancashire on the 30th of March, 1874.

He is seen here at the age of 65 (at right) c.1939 along with his eldest son Roger, who would join him shortly thereafter aboard the yacht Sundowner in his heroic and ultimately successful evacuation of 127 of the stranded at Dunkirk on the 1st of June, 1940. Twenty eight years earlier, Lightoller had narrowly escaped the Titanic disaster as her highest ranking officer to survive, pulled down near the vessel’s bridge as the liner went under and eventually finding lucky refuge aboard overturned Collapsible B.

Even had it not been for Titanic, Charles Lightoller’s life story is itself otherwise worthy of more than a couple riveting biographies. At sea from the age of thirteen beginning in 1888 (save for a brief period spent in western Canada as a prospector during the Klondike Gold Rush and later as a cowboy in Alberta), he served specifically with the White Star Line after 1900, sailing aboard vessels Medic, Suevic, Majestic, and Oceanic before transferring as Titanic’s original First Officer in late March of 1912.

He saw service as well during both World Wars, and directed the evacuation of Oceanic after her grounding off Shetland in 1914, seriously damaged German Zeppelin L31 from a torpedo boat under his command in 1915, destroyed German U-Boat UB-110 by ramming it in 1918, and famously rescued personally 127 of the stranded at Dunkirk in 1940, he himself then sixty-six years old. Lightoller would live until the 8th of December, 1952.

Photo via Trinity Mirror/CNEMM