A Titanic Connection

Robert Hichens, the man at the helm of the SS Titanic when it made contact with the iceberg on its way to New York, was a Newlyn boy. In fact, there were five Newlyners aboard in total. They are there, these Cornish men born of salt, in so many of our stories about the sea. Hichens was one of those lucky rescued few, on Lifeboat 6, to be exact. After his near-death experience on the Titanic, Hichen’s life was not easy; other surviving passengers attested that he had refused to help rescue other people in the water, calling them ‘stiffs,’ a fact that he denied during the US inquiry. Despite these accusations and the traumatic nature of his experience, Hichens continued working on the sea for the rest of his life, dying of heart failure aboard the merchant ship English Trader in Scotland, when he was fifty-nine.

Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town, p. 171

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