2. Lightoller became a cowboy while in Canada
Lightoller arrived in the Yukon in 1898, while the gold rush was at its height, though for the seaman prospecting was disappointing. In the absence of gold Lightoller was forced to find other work, and for a time he worked driving cattle to the boom towns which emerged as a result of the influx of miners. Along with the miners came the con men, gamblers, prostitutes, thieves, and all of the detritus of the western boom towns. Lightoller worked to raise enough money for his passage to England, but the distractions of the towns made saving money a challenge. He finally left Alberta, virtually penniless, and hopped trains across Canada to Halifax.
Of his adventures in Canada Lightoller later wrote, “the bubble in this district had already burst” before he arrived. In order to get passage to England he fell back on his brief experience as a cowboy and took a position on a cattle boat, caring for the animals as a wrangler. After arrival in England he made for Liverpool, where another voyage on a cattle boat provided him with some funds. He then, armed with his officer’s certificate, approached White Star Line, then one of England’s most prestigious shipping lines, and was hired as fourth officer of the steamer SS Medic, a new ship on the Liverpool – Cape Town – Sydney route.