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Chorley man was most senior surviving officer
6:03pm Friday 13th April 2012 in News
THE MOST senior officer to survive the disaster was Second Officer, Charles Lightoller.
Lightoller, the son of mill owners, grew up at Yarrow House, Chorley on the site now occupied Albany Science College He was 38 at the time of the ship’s maiden voyage.
On the night of April 14, 1912, he commanded the last bridge watch before the ship’s collision but had retired to his sleeping quarters at the moment the ship struck the iceberg.
Lightoller was in charge of the lifeboats on the ship’s port side when it sank.
Louise Patten is Charles Lightoller’s granddaughter has the official title of Lady Louise Patten.
She is the wife of former Tory Education minister, Lord (John) Patten.
In the build up to the centenary events Chorley Civic Society commissioned a plaque situation on the gates of Albany school, which was unveiled by Lady Patten, on her first visit to the town last year.
She said: “As a teenager, I was enthralled by Titanic.
“Granny revealed to me exactly what had happened on that night and we would discuss it endlessly.
“It was a great privilege to be invited to honour my grandfather in such a special way.
“He was an brave, kind and inspiring character and I think the plaque looks superb.”
As the ship sank and the remaining lifeboats washed away, Lightoller entered the water, gaining refuge with others on an upturned lifeboat.
After surviving the disaster, Lightoller continued his career at sea.
His remarkable life story had a second brush with the iconic events of the 20th century when at the age of 68 he commanded The Sundowner, one of the small ships which rescued British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk.
He led an active retirement until his death in 1952.