Charles Joughin was the last person to leave the Titanic and survive. He is also the person who helped write the best account of what really happened on the Titanic, in a book called Titanic: A Night to Remember.
Most people who know his story say that Joughin made it through the ordeal by getting drunk. He didn’t drink enough to where hypothermia would set in, but he drank enough to stay calm until the nightmare was over and he was rescued.
Joughin was born in England in 1878. At the age of 10 Joughin was sent out to sea to make a living. He worked his way around from ship to ship and was hired by the White Star Line. He was trained to be a baker and was assigned to the Olympic. However, when he was in Ireland, he was assigned to help stock the Titanic for her voyage. Joughin was offered the position of head baker of a staff of 13.
When an iceberg ripped a hole in the Titanic‘s hull, Joughin was in his bunk. When he found out what was happening, he sent his men to get bread and provisions to the lifeboats on deck. He evacuated women and children onto the lifeboats, running back into the ship to find more passengers and forcing them on the lifeboats when necessary (some believed the Titanic was safer than a dinky raft).
When Lifeboat 10 was ready to be lowered Joughin gave up his seat to another passenger and headed below deck. That’s when he began enjoying the Titanic‘s well-stocked bar. The ship left port with 1,500 bottles of wine, 15,000 bottles of champagne, 20,000 bottles of beer, 850 bottles of spirits, 70 cases of cognac and 191 cases of liquor.
Joughin drank a whole bunch of whiskey until he was feeling nice.
He must’ve been swigging for at least an hour while occasionally throwing deck chairs and furniture into the water as life rafts. Joughin finally made his way to the stern of the ship after the boat buckled and Joughin knew it was no longer safe.
As portrayed in the film, Joughin drank until the ship went down and sank. He claims that his head never went under water and that he survived by hanging on to the edge of a lifeboat for 2 to 3 hours. He was eventually rescued by a returning lifeboat.
Joughin continued to work in the shipping industry even after the disaster. He even served on Liberty Ships during WWII.