Faces of the Titanic: Daniel Buckley survived, hidden in a lifeboat

Woman hid Irishman, Daniel Buckley, as officers fired shots and threatened men who had rushed a boat.

We had every type of instrument on board to amuse us, but all the amusement sank in
the deep. I will write a note when I get to New York. Good-bye at present.


Dannie was paid $100 in relief assistance by the American Red Cross. On 4 May 1912, he sent home a postcard of the Carpathia, telling his brother John: ‘I am sending you the picture of the ship that saved my life. Tell my mother to keep it and frame it. I hope she got better alright. I am getting on fine. Hoping ye are all well. Love to all. Dannie.’

Buckley testified before the Senate inquiry into the disaster, the only Irish passenger
to do so. Senator Smith, chairman of the subcommittee, took his evidence separately and the questions posed emanate from this source:

This night of the wreck I was sleeping in my room on the Titanic, in the steerage. There were three other boys from the same place sleeping in the same room with me. I heard some terrible noise and I jumped out on the floor, and the first thing I knew my feet were getting wet; the water was just coming in slightly. I told the other fellows to get up, that there was something wrong and that the water was coming in. They only laughed at me. One of them says: ‘Get back into bed. You are not in Ireland now.’

I got my clothes on as quick as I could, and the three other fellows got out. The room
was very small, so I got out, to give them room to dress themselves. Two sailors came along, and they were shouting: ‘All up on deck! Unless you want to get drowned.’

When I heard this, I went for the deck as quick as I could. When I got up on the
deck I saw everyone having those lifebelts on only myself; so I got sorry, and said I would go back again where I was sleeping and get one of those life preservers; because there was one there for each person.

I went back again, and just as I was going down the last flight of stairs the water was
up four steps, and dashing up. I did not go back into the room, because I could not. When I went back toward the room the water was coming up three steps up the stairs, or four steps; so I did not go any farther. I went back on the deck again, and just as I got there, I was looking around to see if I could get any of those lifebelts, and I met a First-Class passenger, and he had two. He gave me one, and fixed it on me.

Then the lifeboats were preparing. There were five lifeboats sent out. I was in the sixth. I was holding the ropes all the time, helping to let down the five lifeboats that went down first, as well as I could.

When the sixth lifeboat was prepared, there was a big crowd of men standing on the
deck. And they all jumped in. So I said I would take my chance with them.

Who were they?

Passengers and sailors and firemen, mixed. There were no ladies there at the same time. When they jumped, I said I would go too. I went into the boat. Then two officers came along and said all of the men could come out. And they brought a lot of steerage passengers with them; and they were mixed, in every way, ladies and gentlemen. And they said all the men could get out and let the ladies in. But six men were left in the boat. I think they were firemen and sailors.

I was crying. There was a woman in the boat and she had thrown her shawl over me,
and she told me to stay in there. I believe she was Mrs Astor. Then they did not see me, and the boat was lowered down into the water, and we rowed away from the steamer.

The men that were in the boat at first fought, and would not get out, but the officers
drew their revolvers, and fired shots over our heads, and then the men got out. When the boat was ready, we were lowered down into the water and rowed away from the steamer. We were only about 15 minutes out when she sank.

What else happened?

One of the firemen that was working on the Titanic told me, when I got on board the
Carpathia and he was speaking to me, that he did not think it was any iceberg; that it was only that they wanted to make a record, and they ran too much steam and the boilers bursted. That is what he said.

We sighted the lights of the big steamer, the Carpathia. All the women got into a
terrible commotion and jumped around. They were hallooing and the sailors were trying to keep them sitting down, and they would not do it. They were standing up all the time.

When we got into the Carpathia we were treated very good. We got all kinds of

Did you feel a shock from the collision when the ship struck?

Yes, I did.

And did that wake you up?

It did. I did not feel any shock in the steamer; only just heard a noise. I heard a kind of a grating noise.

Did you get right out of bed?

Yes, I did.

When you got out, you got into the water? There was water in your compartment in the steerage?

Yes; water was there slightly. There was not very much.

How much?

The floor was only just getting wet. It was only coming in under the door very slightly.

You had two or three boys with you?

Yes; three boys that came from the same place in Ireland.