Charles Lightoller, Second Officer of RMS Titanic was Also a Hero on the Beaches of Dunkirk

Afterdeck of the White Star Line steamer Medic, in Sydney, Australia, in 1899. Wikimedia

3. Lightoller gained experience steaming on the Australian routes

Although Lightoller was an experienced sailor when he began with White Star Line he had little expertise with either steam or dealing with passengers. The period in Medic was a learning experience in both disciplines. Lightoller remained aboard the steamship – which was the largest vessel to have visited Australia to that time – for less than three years. In 1903 he was serving in SS Suevic, a sister of Medic, when he met a passenger aboard who was returning to her home in Sydney. When they arrived at that port Lightoller and the passenger, Sylvia Wilson, were married and she accompanied her new husband on the return voyage to Liverpool.

Lightoller next ventured to sea under the command of Edward J. Smith (who would later command Titanic), aboard Majestic. He left Majestic to accept the post of third officer of Oceanic, a coveted position as Oceanic was the flagship for White Star. He returned to Majestic as first officer (third-in-command after Captain and Chief officer), and from there he later returned to Oceanic as first officer, a prestigious position which allowed him to select his next with confidence of the line approving. In the early spring of 1912 Lightoller left Liverpool for Belfast, where he joined the crew of RMS Titanic as first officer, behind chief officer William Murdoch and Captain Edward Smith.