September 16th Robert Hichens (Birth)

Newlyn – born Robert Hichens (1882 – 1940) was at the wheel of the Titanic when warning of the looming iceberg came from the lookout.

Hichens was ordered by First Officer Murdoch to turn the wheel to starboard to avoid the iceberg and everybody knows that attempt failed.
Placed in charge of the, 65-seat, Lifeboat Number 6, he departed the sinking ship with only twenty eight people in the boat. 

He was later accused of drinking whisky and refusing to return to the Titanic to rescue others, all of which was disproved.

In World War I, he served in the Royal Naval Reserve and, post-war, moved, with his family to Torquay to run a guesthouse and a boat charter company. 

He never, however, came to terms with the disaster and he became a heavy drinker whilst the boat charter company failed. 
His wife and family left him in 1931 and, two years later, he tried to murder the man he blamed for his failed boat charter business.  

Released in 1937 he returned to sea as a merchant seaman.  During the Second World War, Hichens ended up as third mate on a cargo ship transporting coal over to Africa but in 1940 he was found in his bunk, dead from heart failure.



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