When the “unsinkable” Titanic hit an iceberg on April 14th 1912, Chief Steward (2nd Class) Charles Joughin, was working in the great liner’s sumptuous Jacobean style dining room. He was holding this very spoon, poised to stir the tea of Lord Astor’s favourite Bloodhound, Sir Slobberchops.
The spoon was just one tiny part of the thousands of pieces of solid silver cutlery specially commissioned to furnish the Grand Dining Room of the great liner. After the shudder of impact, panic ensued.
As women and children filled up the few lifeboats and the band played “Nearer my God to thee”, Charles fortified himself with big glugs of 12 year old malt whisky he’d had his eye on and, to further calm his nerves he slipped his favourite spoon safely into his tunic pocket.
He threw himself over the side and, after inflating his trousers as he’d been taught in school swimming lessons, he used his trusty spoon to conduct himself and sang patriotic songs until he blacked out.
Two and a half hours later, the Titanic had disappeared into the icy depths. Charles was one of the few who survived in the freezing water. Some say it was the alcohol in his bloodstream that kept him alive until the rescue ship Carpathia arrived. As for Charles, he always swore his survival had more to do with his lucky spoon, which he subsequently carried all through the first world war, serving with distinction as Field Marshall Douglas Haig’s batman.
The next time you use a spoon, let this extraordinary tale remind you what a life-saver a well place spoon can be.