David Blair had served as Titanic’s Second Officer during her sea trials and the ship’s journey from her Belfast shipyard to Southampton’s docks. He was due to continue in this role for the duration of the liners maiden voyage- until a twist of fate dashed his hopes. Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic was unexpectedly laid up, and so someone in the company had the idea of utilizing her now idle Chief Officer, Henry Wilde, on Titanic instead. So, Wilde was transferred to Titanic, as chief officer, leading to a reorganization of the new liner’s officers. This change resulted in Blair being moved across to the Olympic instead.
The change saved Blair’s life. However, its last-minute nature could also have cost Titanic dearly. Officer Lightoller, who served as Titanic’s Second Officer instead of Blair and survived the sinking, later said that this “doubtful policy’ had the effect of upsetting the dynamics between the officers on Titanic. The original chief officer Murdock had to be demoted to First Officer to accommodate Wilde and Lightoller lost his post as First Officer and became Second Officer instead. Aside from the disappointment, the officers felt at their demotions; the change meant they had to forge a whole new working relationship.
There were other repercussions too. Blair was moved to the Olympic with such haste that he accidentally took the key to Titanic’s crow’s nest telephone. He had also left the crow’s nest binoculars of Titanic in his cabin without telling anyone they were there. This was why on the fateful night of the sinking, there were no binoculars.
Wilde, who was probably transferred to allow him more experience for future promotion, lost much more than his career on Titanic; he also lost his life. Meanwhile, Blair continued his maritime career. He had reunited with Lightoller again during World War One when they both served on the Oceanic. The ship ran aground during an operation and once again Blair was in the spotlight for blame as he was the ship’s navigator. Once again, however, he survived.
Other members of the crew, however, didn’t serve on Titanic because they literally missed the boat.