Meet the drunken baker who saved countless lives on the Titanic

SophieL

Charles Joughin survived nearly three hours in the frigid North Atlantic.

Thanks to a strong constitution and alcohol consumption, Charles Joughin survived for hours in the subzero temperatures until he found a lifeboat. 

  • The ship’s head baker was awoken by the collision with the iceberg, and immediately told his workers to bring 50 loaves of bread above deck to ensure the survival of those in lifeboats.
  • Charles Joughin calmly returned to his room, drank liquor, and headed toward his lifeboat. He helped force women and children into the boats, likely saving their lives. Then, he returned to his room to consume more alcohol.
  • Joughin went to the topside and threw deckchairs overboard to give those in the water something to hold onto. He returned below deck for a glass of water, then heard “a crash,” which was the Titanic breaking in two. For him, “there was no great shock or anything.”
  • The baker headed to the stern of the ship and clung to the railing. In the final moments before submergence, Joughin tightened his lifebelt, “wondering what next to do when she went.”
  • Joughin was possibly the last person aboard the Titanic when it sank on April 15, 1912.

Many people drowned within minutes due to the shock of the frigid water (28 degrees Fahrenheit, -2 degrees Celsius), along with the ensuing panic. 

  • Joughin was a strong swimmer and maintained a calm demeanor: “I was just paddling and treading water.” 
  • He stayed afloat for two and a half hours in the freezing darkness, until he spotted an overturned lifeboat. The boat was full, but another lifeboat came by with space for him. He was rescued by Carpathia and arrived in New York on April 16, 1912. 
  • Besides his swollen feet, Joughin experienced no injuries from his immersion in the frigid North Atlantic. 

Charles Joughin proceeded to join the Merchant Navy during the First World War, returning to baking on the high seas.

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