I will start with the story of Father Frank Browne
The Father Browne SJ Photographic Collection contains the most important collection of Titanic photographs taken during the liner’s voyage from Southampton to Cobh (Queenstown] in Ireland.
Frank Browne’s mother died whilst he was young and his father when in his teens. His uncle Robert Browne who was Bishop of Cloyne acted as guardian to Frank and his siblings, four of whom were to enter religious life. By the time Frank was completing his secondary education he had decided to become a Jesuit. Immediately before entering the Order, Uncle Robert sent him on a Grand Tour of Europe and most significantly bought him a camera to record his trip. This visionary act was to reveal a natural aesthetic ability and fostered an interest in photography that was to reach fruition when Frank became the most outstanding Irish photographer of the first half of the Twentieth Century.
The Bishop had another surprise up his sleeve, when in early 1912 he presented Frank with a first class ticket for the Maiden Voyage of the Titanic to bring him as far as Cobh.
So it was that on the morning of the 12th.April 1912 he arrived at Waterloo Station in London to catch the Titanic Special. He immediately started taking photographs, first recording the train journey and then life aboard the Titanic on the initial section of the voyage. Having made friends with a wealthy American family he was offered a ticket for the remaining part of the journey and no doubt excitedly telegraphed a request for permission to go on to New York, to which he received the terse response “Get Off That Ship------Provincial!” That telegram not only saved Frank’s life but also meant that this unique record of the voyage was saved for posterity and guaranteed overnight fame for Frank Browne SJ.
London to Southampton
The letter from the White Star Line that accompanied Frank Browne's First Class ticket. It was sent on 3rd April 1912.
The scene confronting Frank Browne on arrival at Waterloo Station to board the “Titanic Special” for Southampton. Browne captures a quiet platform setting with the subtle inference of wealth amongst the 1st.Class passengers, all well dressed with the men wearing top hats. The London fog obscures the more distant features, thus concentrating attention on passengers and train.
Having stowed his baggage Browne felt free to mingle amongst his fellow passengers, all seemingly preferring chatting on the platform to getting into their carriage. William Waldorf Astor on left with an umbrella appears to have assumed his usual photographic pose whilst the others are quite unconcerned. One man in the centre of the picture is loading his camera, a large Kodak “Autographic”. Perhaps he was encouraged to take pictures by Browne's enthusiastic activity..
This carefully constructed image summarises the train journey to Southampton. The components combine to create a perfectly balanced image, atmospheric elements enhance the concept of depth and the adjoining shiny tracks draw the eye forward to the steaming locomotive as it crosses the viaduct, leaving London behind. This scene could only be captured at one specific instant and Browne, leaning out of the carriage window seized the moment.
Browne took no pictures on arrival at Southampton, presumably luggage transfer had to be organised; however whilst boarding the “Titanic” by the first class gangway he paused to capture the dockside scene with the giant wall of Titanic's steel dwarfing the people on the ground. The second class gangway closes the view. Others on the quayside are boarding at a lower level, presumably the unfortunate third class passengers who were to find no possibility of escape when disaster struck.
Once aboard Frank Browne went to the Purser's office to register his arrival. There he was welcomed by Mr McElroy and given his copy of the deck plan.
In addition to the deck plan Frank Browne was given this postcard as a souvenir.
Frank Browne took two pictures in his stateroom between Southampton and Cherbourg. Lacking a wide angle lens he first photographed his richly decorated dressing table.
In this second picture of his stateroom a ghostly image of the photographer can be seen in the mirror. Close inspection of the dressing table mirror reveals something of his suite of rooms which consisted of bedroom, sitting room and bathroom. A small detail of his sitting room with a view out of what was either the window or open door can be seen and curiously a very clear detail of his clerical collar.
As the “Titanic” departed from the quayside, relatives and sightseers waved goodbye.
She had a Hazardous Start
Once he had photographed the dockside, Browne began making his way toward the bow of the vessel, he photographed three other liners tied up alongside each other, the tug “Neptune” in the corner of the picture is making its way forward to help turn the Titanic as she moves off.
On arrival at the bow end of “A” deck he photographed the tugs “Hector” and “Neptune” as they manoeuvred the “Titanic” around. This image is carefully constructed to convey a sense of activity on the “Titanic”, no doubt enlivened by the fact that no ship of this size had been so manoeuvred before; the power employed by the tugs is emphasised by the smoke belching from “Neptune's” funnel.
Excitement quickly turned to dismay when the “Titanic's” giant propellers went into action; such was the flow of water that the current pulled the adjoining “New York” so fiercely that her moorings snapped (Browne described the snapping of six cables as sounding like pistol shots) and she was drawn into the path of the “Titanic”. An early disaster was narrowly averted by quick action on the part of the tug skippers who used their powerful vessels to push the two ships apart.
This picture shows two tugs pushing the “Titanic” clear of the “New York”, at the same time the tug in the background is moving in to reposition the “New York”.
"Here we see a tug repositioning the “New York” following the near collision."
This postcard picture, purchased later, captures something of the atmosphere at Southampton as the great ship departed.
Heading towards the English Channel Titanic passed one of the giant forts constructed to defend the port.
This image combines human interest with a contrast of technologies: photographed as the “Titanic”, the world's most sophisticated ship slows to permit the pilot to transfer to the sail powered pilot boat. The round object on the horizon is one of the Portsmouth defensive forts. Ironically this like so many of the pictures features the lifeboats that were to prove so inadequate.
Whilst the “Titanic” was making way past Portsmouth Frank Browne captured this poignant image of a lone ship's officer walking along “A” deck with his back to camera.
Second class passengers exploring the deck.
A sailor stands on duty underneath the bridge, whilst some of the passengers take a last view of Portsmouth. The boy to the right is Jack Odell who with his family disembarked at Queenstown, one of the men in the background is Major Archibald Butt, military aide to President William Howard Taft.
Inside the Gymnasium Mr.TW McCawley the physical educator poses at a rowing machine and Mr.William Parr, electrician who was travelling first class, is seated on some form of exercising machine, hold still for the duration of a time exposure . Both men were lost.
The card given to Frank Browne by Mr Mc Cawley
Browne photographed this couple as they took an early morning stroll along “A” deck before the deck chairs were set out.
This man standing on the boat deck close to the gymnasium is believed to be Jacques Futrelle the American short story writer who was lost with the ship.
This must be one of the best known pictures taken on the “Titanic”. The six year old Robert Douglas Spedden whipping his spinning top, watched by his father Frederic, has attracted the attention of other passengers.
This is the only picture taken of the Titanic’s radio room. Perhaps one should say pictures as this is a double exposure and was destined for the bin until hastily recovered. In it we see Harold Bride at work in what was the most advanced radio room in the world.
Second class passengers are shown here gazing down at the photographer on “A” deck. The aft end of the boat deck was available to second class as a promenade area. The morning air must have been chilly, most people are wearing warm coats.
The Luncheon menu prepared for the 14th. April, the last to be served on the “Titanic”.
This photograph of the first class dining room at mealtime must have presented the greatest challenge of the series, although well lit for dining purposes it could not be considered so from a photographic point of view. In fact it is very successful, conveying as it does something of the scale and grandeur of the room enlivened by the diners at their tables.
This interior view of the Titanic's First Class reading and writing room conveys some idea of the opulence of the liner's grand interiors.
Having enjoyed a good night's rest Browne was up early next morning in order to catch this glorious sunrise as the ship passed close to Cornwall, en route between Cherbourg and Queenstown, at about 6-45am. On the 11th. April 1912.
This image of a sinuous wake was described by Browne as “A winding pathway o'er the waters “. He then explains that “on the way from: Lands End to Queenstown the “Titanic” steered a very irregular course in order to test her compasses.”
The bow wave which is central to this picture has been positioned to form a balanced near abstract image in conjunction with the horizon and ship's side. A touch of realism is introduced in the distance by emergency lifeboat No.1 hanging out over the side.
This picture was probably taken from the shore at a position close to Roche's Point Lighthouse and presents a clear impression of the spectacle of the “Titanic” entering the bay.
Titanic photographed off Roche's Point
Obviously Frank Browne could not photograph the arrival of the “Titanic” at Queenstown so subsequently he acquired photographs of the event from photographer friends. In his album he describes this picture as “Dropping Anchor at Queenstown. 12-15 pm. Apr. 11th.”. In fact the ship is still moving and preparing to drop anchor. The picture is drop anchor. The picture is attributed to Mr. McLean and was taken from the tender “America”.
The Tender Ireland towing two rowing boats. Help appreciated by the oarsmen.
Mail being taken aboard from the Tender America.
The Tenders Ireland and America brought passengers, baggage and mail to the Liners anchored in the outer harbour.
A view of the White Star Terminal at Cobh with tenders in waiting.
Close up view of the Tender Ireland from her sister vessel America.
This stern view of the Titanic was taken as the ship came came to a stop having dropped anchor. The head and shoulders of a seaman can be seen above the rear funnel, which was in fact a ventilation shaft, he climbed up to get a grandstand view of Titanic's arrival at Cobh.
This picture of a Tender alongside the Titanic was given to Frank Browne by his friend Tom Barker.
This, one of the most emotive images of the series captures the anchor as it emerges from the water for the last time. The heavy plates protecting the bow are impressive but proved to be sadly inadequate when ripped apart by the ice.
Once on the tender Browne took the opportunity to take pictures of the Titanic and of the liner's departure. This image with a flock of gulls wheeling around “Titanic's” bow conveys something of the impressive scale of the ship, further emphasised by the rowing boat in the foreground.
Browne's last photograph of the “Titanic”, taken as she gathers speed on the fateful final leg of her journey. In the foreground the men in the boat are taking advantage of a tow from the tender “America” which carried press and photographers to the scene.
Eight people disembarked at Queenstown, all but one were first class passengers, the other was a stoker from the engine room and was probably transferring to another liner. The party were brought ashore on the tender “Ireland” captained by Mr. McVeigh. In the centre are L to R. Stanley May and his brother RW May, the author. Both these gentlemen wrote to Frank Browne following the tragedy.
Another family group photographed by Browne on the tender was of .the Odells. The boy wearing a school cap is Jack Odell, his mother is in the centre whilst Captain McVeigh is to be seen to their right.
The tenders disembarked their passengers at the White Star Wharf. In this crowded picture we see people waiting to be taken aboard a liner, the upper gallery of the building appears to have been reserved for first class passengers who are not concerned with the crush below.
Cobh(Queenstown) in mourning with flags at half staff outside both the Cunard and White Star offices. 19th April 1912
Frank Browne put together an album of his Titanic photographs into which he wrote captions and an account of his experiences at the start of the voyage.
Name: also included photographs of other ships at Cobh including those of the Titanic's sister ship Olympic, thus filling in features that were never photographed on the Titanic. He amplified this coverage with pictures of onshore activities related to the maritime activities at Cobh. This is Page three of his album.
Titanic Album page eight
Titanic Album page twelve
Titanic Album page forty-four.
Titanic Album page forty-five.
Titanic Album page fifty-one.
Titanic Album page fifty-two
Titanic Album page fifty-three.
Titanic Album page fifty-four
Titanic Album page fifty-seven
The cover of the Daily Sketch, Thursday 18th. April 1912. This newspaper made extensive use of Frank Browne's pictures, bringing him overnight fame.
Inside double page spread of the Daily Sketch, Thursday 18th April 1912, featuring many of Frank Browne's pictures.
The White Star Line wrote to Frank Browne regarding his illustrated lectures asking him to refrain from mention of the loss of the Titanic with the strong suggestion that they would like the incident to be forgotten...
We we will not forget the Titanic and all the lives lost….
On Board Titanic
· The cost of a first-class ticket on Titanic to New York was $2,500, approximately $57,200 today. The most expensive rooms were more than $103,000 in today's currency.
· A third-class ticket at Titanic cost $40, which is approximately $900 in today's currency. Up to 10 people resided in third-class rooms. The rooms were divided by male and female often times splitting families.
· First-class passengers had the luxury of paying for their leisure while on board: a ticket to the swimming pool cost 25¢, while a ticket for the squash court (as well as the services of a professional player) cost 50¢.
· Sixty chefs and chefs' assistants worked in the Titanic's five kitchens. They ranged from soup and roast cooks to pastry chefs and vegetable cooks. There was a kosher cook, too, to prepare the meals for the Jewish passengers.
· Titanic had its own newspaper, the Atlantic Daily Bulletin, prepared aboard the ship. In addition to news articles and advertisements, it contained a daily menu, the latest stock prices, horse-racing results, and society gossip.
· There were only two bathtubs for the more than 700 third-class passengers aboard the Ship.
· The forward part of the boat deck was promenade space for first-class passengers and the rear part for second-class passengers. People from these classes thus had the best chance of getting into a lifeboat simply because they could get to them quickly and easily.
· Even if all 20 lifeboats had been filled to capacity, there would only have been room in them for 1,178 people.
· At first most of the passengers did not believe Titanic was really sinking, hence the low number of 19 aboard the first lifeboat, even though it could carry 65.
· Titanic was one of the first ships in distress to send out an "SOS" signal; the radio officer used "SOS" after using the traditional code of "CQD" followed by the ship's call letters.
· Dorothy Gibson, a 28-year-old silent screen actress, was the resident movie star for Titanic. She would later star in Saved from the Titanic, a movie made one month after the disaster. Her costume was the dress she wore on the night of the sinking.
· Tennis player R. Norris Williams and his father, Charles D., felt it was too cold to remain out on deck as the ship went down, so they went into the gym to ride the exercise bikes.
· At the time of Titanic's destruction, the temperature of the water was only 28°F (-2°C). Most of those struggling in the water in their life jackets would have succumbed to hypothermia, while others may have had heart attacks.
· Initial headlines of the Titanic disaster claimed all passengers survived and the ship was being towed to land.
· The White Star Line was not blamed for Titanic's sinking because the Board of Trade feared that this would result in lawsuits that would hurt the line's profits, damage the reputation of British shipping, and cause thousands of customers to switch to German or French liners.
· No skeletons remain at the wreck site. Any bodies carried to the seabed with the wreck were eaten by fish and crustaceans.
· In the 1898 novel Futility, 14 years before the sinking of Titanic, Morgan Robertson penned a fictitious tale about a ship named Titan, which collide with an iceberg. Some of the uncanny similarities between the book and the Titanic disaster include the month (April), the length of the ship (Titanic 882.5 feet, Titan 800 feet), and the number of passengers on board (Titanic 2,200; Titan 2000).
Why was Titanic built?
Although Titanic is best known for carrying the rich and famous between Europe and the United States, the Ship actually had several purposes:
1. To carry British and US mail--hence the full name of the ship is Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic.
2. To carry general cargo and frozen meat since at that time Europe could not produce enough livestock to meet its own needs.
3. To carry first-class passengers in great luxury, second-class passengers in great comfort and third-class passengers with great economy.
4. To fly the flag of Great Britain and uphold national honour. Even though Titanic was ultimately owned by American business interests, the Ship was built in a British yard, operated by British subjects, manned by British crews and perceived by the public as a British ship.
How large was Titanic? How many crew were onboard?
Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches long, 92 feet 6 inches in breadth. Titanic weighed 46,329 tons or 103,575,360 pounds.
There were 1,316 passengers on board: 325 in first-class, 285 in second, and 706 in third-class. At the time of the sinking, the Ship's crew consisted of 885 men and women divided between three departments: Deck Department, 66; Engine Department, 325; Victualling (Passenger Care) Department, 431.
Not included in this list are the eight members of the Ship's band who were technically from another company and traveled under second-class tickets.
Who built Titanic?
Titanic was constructed by the shipbuilding firm of Harland & Wolff at their Queen's Island Works in Belfast, Ireland. Edward Harland acquired the yard in 1859. A few years later, G. W. Wolff was taken into the partnership and in 1862 the name changed to Harland and Wolff. By the time of Titanic's construction, both these men had either died or gone into retirement, and the company placed under the management of Lord Pirrie.
Why was Titanic said to be unsinkable and where did the story come from?
Titanic was described in the popular press as "practically unsinkable." This was not unusual – for decades, ships had watertight compartments to limit flooding in case of an accident, and the press used this phrase as a matter of routine for many years.
After Titanic sank, the story of her loss was turned into a modern fable and the original description "practically unsinkable" became just "unsinkable" in order to sharpen the moral of the story. No educated person in 1912 believed that Titanic was truly unsinkable, but it was difficult to imagine an accident severe enough to send her to the bottom.
Was Titanic warned about the icebergs in the area?
Yes, the first ice warning came in by wireless at 9:00 the morning of the collision from the Cunard Liner Caronia. As the day progressed, several additional wireless warnings came in from ships in the region warning of ice ahead.
How long did it take Titanic to sink?
Titanic struck the iceberg at 11.40 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 1912 and sank 2 hours, 40 minutes later at 2.20 a.m. the next day.
Where is the wreck site of Titanic?
Titanic's wreck site is located 963 miles northeast of New York and 453 miles southeast of the Newfoundland coastline. Titanic lies 2.5 miles beneath the ocean surface, where the pressure is 6,000 pounds per square inch.
What ships came to Titanic's rescue and what ships did not?
Titanic's distress call was received by several ships the night of the disaster including the Carpathia, Mount Temple, Virginian, Baltic, Caronia, Prinz Fredrich Wilhelm, Frankfurt and the Titanic's sister ship the Olympic. Initially, several of these ships altered course towards the collision site, but when it became apparent that Carpathia alone would make it to the scene of the accident in reasonable time, they resumed their previous courses. One ship, the Leyland Line's Californian was only a few miles distant from the Titanic. The Californian had stopped for the night in pack ice because her Captain felt it too dangerous to proceed through the ice field in the dark. Although fitted with wireless, the Californian's operator had turned in for the night and missed the distress call. To this day, there is considerable controversy as to whether the Californian's deck officers were negligent in not making a more aggressive investigation into rockets and lights seen in the distance.
Why didn't Titanic carry enough lifeboats?
Titanic's lifeboat capacity was governed by the British Board of Trade's rules, which were drafted in 1894. By 1912, these lifeboat regulations were badly out of date. The Titanic was four times larger than the largest legal classification considered under these rules and by law was not required to carry more than sixteen lifeboats, regardless of the actual number of people onboard. When she left Southampton, Titanic actually carried more than the law required: sixteen lifeboats and four additional collapsible boats. The shipping industry was aware that the lifeboat regulations were going to be changed soon and Titanic's deck space and davits were designed for the anticipated "boats for all" policy, but until the law actually changed, White Star was not going to install them. The decision seems difficult to understand today, but in 1912, the attitude towards accident prevention was much different. At the turn of the century, ship owners were reluctant to exceed the legal minimum because lifeboats took up most of the space on first- and second-class decks. Boats were expensive to purchase, maintain, and affected a ship's stability. Finally, in the years before the Titanic Disaster, it was felt that the very presence of large numbers of lifeboats suggested that somehow the vessel was unsafe. Oddly, the same reluctance showed up as late as the 1950s for automobile seatbelts. Car makers at that time were also reluctant to install seatbelts because the belts seemed to imply there was something unsafe about the car.
Were third-class passengers deliberately kept below decks?
Both the British and American inquiries found that there was no evidence to suggest that third-class passengers were deliberately kept below decks, although it is true that third-class passengers did not make their way to the Boat Deck until very late in the sinking. A reasonable explanation is that the Ship’s officers were overwhelmed by the disaster and simply overlooked sending specific orders to evacuate third-class. White Star had formulated no emergency plans for this type of accident and the Ship’s officers were fully preoccupied with the crisis of damage control and the launch of lifeboats. In an attempt to provide for an orderly evacuation, third-class stewards held passengers below waiting for orders that nobody thought to give.
Were only women and children allowed in the lifeboats?
Traditionally, first seats in lifeboats are given to women and children, with men filling up the late leaving lifeboats; however, given Titanic’s lifeboat shortage, this tradition meant that the casualty list was more heavily male. On the port side of Titanic, the lifeboat launchings were supervised by Officer Lightoller, who took this order literally, preventing any men except the boat crews from embarking. Early in the sinking, women were naturally reluctant to abandon a ship that did not seem at all to be in trouble, and as a result, many of these boats were sent away only partially full. On the starboard side, Officer Murdoch interpreted the order to mean "women and children first on deck" – and only after all the seats had been offered to women, could any men on hand, who wished to evacuate, do so.
How many survivors are alive today?
The last living survivor, Millvina Dean, recently passed away on May 31, 2009 was the oldest survivor of Titanic at age 97.
Can Titanic be raised?
Sadly, even if the technology existed to raise it from the seabed, the wreck is far too fragile to withstand lifting and transportation.
Who discovered the wreck?
The location of the wreck was discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard and Jean Louis Michel in a joint U.S./ French expedition on September 1, 1985 at 1:05 a.m.
Expeditions to recover Titanic artifacts have been a collaborative effort between RMS Titanic, Inc.; The French Oceanographic Institute; and the Moscow-based P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. These expeditions have been conducted at the Titanic's wreck site, located 963 miles northeast of New York and 453 miles southeast of the Newfoundland coastline, during the summers of 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004.
Nautile and MIR submersibles are used for the recovery in Expeditions 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998; these machines are equipped with mechanical arms capable of scooping, grasping, and recovering the artifacts, which are then either collected in sampling baskets, or placed in lifting baskets. The crew compartment of each submersible accommodates three people – a pilot, a co-pilot, and an observer – who each have a one-foot-thick plastic porthole between themselves and the depths. Both submersibles have the capabilities of operating and deploying a Remote-Controlled Vehicle on a 110-foot tether, which is then flown inside the wreck to record images.
In the 2004 Expedition, the Remora 6000 Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) was used for the recovery of objects. This ROV was controlled from the surface via ROV pilots.
It takes over two and a half hours to reach the Titanic wreck site. Each dive lasts about twelve to fifteen hours with an additional two hours to ascend to the surface.
Each recovered artifact must then undergo conservation following carefully designed processes to remove rust and salt deposits from each object.
Once an artifact leaves the water and is exposed to the air, it must undergo an immediate stabilization process to prevent further deterioration. When recovered from salt water, artifacts are cleaned with a soft brush and placed in foam-lined tubs of fresh water. Once received at the conservation laboratory, contaminating surface salts are removed from each artifact. After a period of six months to two years, artifacts can be conserved using treatments that are compatible with each artifact's construction materials.
For instance, metal objects are placed in a desalination bath and undergo the first steps of electrolysis, a process that removes negative ions and salt from the artifact. Electrolysis is now being used to remove salts from paper, leather, and wood as well. These materials also receive treatments of chemical agents and fungicides that remove rust and fungus from them.
Artifacts made of paper are first freeze-dried to remove water and are then cleaned with specialized vacuums and hand tools to remove dirt and debris. Leather artifacts are soaked or injected with a water-soluble wax which replaces voids previously filled by water and debris.
Artifacts are displayed in specially designed cases where temperature, relative humidity and light levels can be controlled, protecting the artifacts from these three agents of deterioration. The artifacts displayed have been conserved and are continuously monitored and maintained so that they can be shown in the Exhibition as well as preserved for the future.
The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Since its rediscovery in 1985, thousands of artefacts have been recovered from the sea bed and put on display at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials.
Victoria -- The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria hosted an exhibit of artifacts recovered from the Titanic.
The exhibit opened April 14, 2007 exactly 95 years after the ship struck an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912.
The exhibit in Victoria was the first time I saw the artifacts from the Titanic…
This is the last exhibition that I visited last year here in Calgary,
this is a fun picture that was taken of us @ the exhibit…
there were things in the second exhibition that we had not seen before.
Then there was a very special piece that I could not forget, I went back to look at it a few times while being at the exhibit that day… I could not forget it after leaving either… I kept thinking I had seen something like it before… I was sure that I had been admiring a bracelet like it at Tiffany’s…
This is the one from Titanic…it is the most amazing piece…imagine they found this beautiful piece on the bottom of the ocean.
This is the one from Tiffany’s, they have many different designs like it, I was wanting one before I found my little sterling silver lock…
Now a few weeks later I was at Calgary’s Heritage Park (a very nice place to visit if your ever in Calgary Alberta) roaming though their antique shop and found a small antique sterling silver lock…I had to have it, I just had to… I found when I got home I had my mothers old silver bracelet from the 1960’s so I took them both to my local fine jewellery shop added a new lobster claw clasp and had them put the two together… check it out !!!
When I wear it I feel like I am wearing one of the most timeless pieces in the world…
April 2nd, 1912, 8:00 p.m.
The crew of Titanic participates in sea trials before leaving Belfast, where the Ship was built, for Southampton.
April 10th, 1912, 6:00 a.m.
Just after sunrise the first members of the crew began to board Titanic. All of the officers except Captain Smith had already spent the night on board. Captain Smith arrived later that morning around 7:30.
April 10th, 1912, 12:00 p.m.
Titanic starts maiden voyage, leaving Southampton and ventures to Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland (this is the official sailing date for the Ship).
April 11th, 1912, 1:30 p.m.
Titanic raises anchor for the last time and leaves Queenstown.
April 14th, 1912, Morning
Lifeboat drills were neglected after church services, although the crew has to complete the procedure.
April 14th, 1912, 10:55 p.m.
Californian, completely surrounded by ice, stops for the evening and warns the Titanic of the impending danger.
April 14th, 1912, 11:40 p.m.
Frederick Fleet sights an iceberg.
· First Officer Murdoch gives the "hard a-starboard" order while having the engines stopped and reversed; activates lever that closes watertight doors.
· The Ship, traveling at approximately 20 knots (26 mph), turned slightly to the left, avoiding a head-on collision. Below the water the iceberg punctures the hull.
· Five, possibly six of the Titanic's watertight compartments flood.
April 15th, 1912, 12:15 a.m.
Captain Smith assesses the damage. He orders his telegraph operators to send the distress signal, "CDQ," after estimating the ship will remain afloat for two hours.
He gives the order to uncover the lifeboats and evacuate the women and children.
April 15th, 1912, 12:45 a.m.
First lifeboat leaves the Ship with only 19 aboard, although it could carry 65.
April 15th, 1912, 2:05 a.m.
Titanic's bow begins sinking as the last of the lifeboats are lowered into the water. An estimated 1,500 people were left stranded on the sinking boat
April 15th, 1912, 2:20 a.m.
Isidor Straus, 67, and his wife Ida, 63, almost always travelled together; in fact, they were rarely apart during their married life and wrote each other daily during periods of separation.
The son of German immigrants who had settled in Georgia, Isidor met Ida when he and his brother moved to New York City following the Civil War. Isidor arrived penniless in New York because he had paid every one of his debts before he left Talbotton, Georgia, even though standard practice at the time was not to honour the suddenly worthless Confederate scrip. Soon, though, Isidor and his brother Nathan became involved in the firm of R.H. Macy & Co., and eventually acquired it. Isidor also served as a New York congressman from 1895-97.
The Strauses—now wealthy philanthropists who generously supported dozens of causes in New York— had travelled to Europe early in 1912, crossing the Atlantic on the German liner Amerika. It was their custom to travel on German steamers whenever possible, but on their return trip to America they decided to travel on the maiden voyage of Titanic.
Isidor, Ida, and the Night of the Titanic Sinking
On the night of the disaster, as the call to board the lifeboats went out, Isidor escorted Ida to Lifeboat 8 and prepared to say goodbye to her. Ida, however, refused to enter the small boat, saying, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Several other first- class passengers tried to convince Ida to board but she could not be swayed. Instead, she sent her newly employed maid, Ellen Bird, in her place, after first wrapping her in a fur as protection against the cold. The Strauses were last seen seated side by side on Titanic’s Boat Deck.
The Strauses were not far from a member of their family on the night of their deaths. Their eldest son, Jesse Isidor, the US Ambassador to France, was travelling back to Paris on the Amerika, which had sent Titanic an ice warning earlier that day. Jesse Isidor had also sent his parents a personal telegram, mentioning the ice he had seen.
Isidor’s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett. A funeral service for Isidor was delayed for a few days in the hopes that Ida’s body might too be recovered, allowing the two who had lived and died together to also share a funeral—but Ida’s body was never found. Several days later, over twenty thousand people gathered at Carnegie Hall in New York City for a memorial service in the Strauses honour.
A few of the Survivors…..
Mr & Mrs Albert Dick, of Calgary, Alberta Canada
I live in Calgary, Alberta very close to their home, they mentioned him this evening on our local news. I will have to drive by the home this weekend and check it out, I just never new where it was…
Name: Mr Albert Adrian Dick
Born: Thursday 29th July 1880
Age: 31 years
Last Residence: in Calgary Alberta Canada
1st Class passenger
First Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17474 , £57
Cabin No.: B20
Rescued (boat 3)
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Tuesday 2nd June 1970
Cause of Death: Cause Not Disclosed
Albert Adrian Dick
(Courtesy: Alan Hustak, Canada)
Mr Albert Adrian "Bert" Dick, 31, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 29 July 1880, but was raised in Alberta when it was still a Canadian territory. He and a brother started a sawmill in Ponoka, and by 1904 they were so successful they began selling real-estate and commercial properties in Calgary. By the time Bert was 24 the Dick brothers had built the Hotel Alexandra on 9th Ave. S.E., and the Dick business block on 8th St. S.E., which still stand.
On the day Titanic was launched, 31 May 1911, he married Vera Gillespie, who was born in Calgary in 1894. She was still a socially gauche teenager, so Bert took his wife on a belated honeymoon to the Holy Land, and to educate her, they made the Grand Tour of Europe. They had returned through London to pick up solid, serviceable reproduction antiques for their new Tudor-style home at 2111-7th Ave. in Calgary's affluent Mount Royal District.
2111-7th Ave, Mount Royal, Calgary
(Courtesy: Alan Hustak, Canada)
They booked passage home on Titanic as first class passengers. They boarded the ship at Southampton and occupied Cabin B-20 (ticket number 17474, £57).
Aboard ship, one of the younger stewards, a man by the name of Jones, took a shine to Vera, and much to Bert's annoyance, Vera flirted with him. They were also befriended by Thomas Andrews, and on the last night of the voyage the Dicks shared his table at dinner. Vera Dick was to say afterwards that she would always remember the stars that night. "Even in Canada where we have clear nights I have never seen such a clear sky or stars so bright."
The Dicks were getting ready for bed when the ship hit the iceberg, and felt nothing. They were made aware of the accident when the same steward who had taken a shine to Vera knocked on their door and told them to dress. "We would have slept through the whole thing if the steward hadn't knocked on our door shortly after midnight and told us to put on our lifejackets," Mrs Dick told a Calgary newspaper. Both were escorted to lifeboat 3 by Thomas Andrews who saw them off. According to Bert, and his wife were locked in a farewell embrace, when he was pushed into the lifeboat with her. As the boat jerked towards the water, the Dicks wondered whether it might not capsize and whether they might not be safer had they not left the ship.
When they returned to Calgary, Bert was ostracised because he had survived. His name was tarnished by gossip that he had dressed as a woman to get off the ship. His hotel business suffered, so he sold it and continued to make money in real estate. Vera studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and was well known as a vocalist in Calgary. They built an elaborate brick staircase in front of their house that local gossip said was patterned after the Titanic's grand staircase, however it does not look anything like it. They had one daughter, Gilda.
The "Titanic Staircase"
(Courtesy: Alan Hustak, Canada)
Albert Adrian Dick died in Calgary, Alberta on 2 June 1970. His wife died in Banff, Alta. on 7 October 1973. Both are buried in Calgary's Union cemetery. Lot 4, Block 1, Section L.
(Courtesy: Alan Hustak, Canada)
Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon
Sir Cosmos Duff Gordon, was a Scotsman. His ancestor James Duff, was British consul in Cadiz during the Penisular War. Naturally, he was into every enterprise, the Sherry trade being big.
The Gordons both boarded a lifeboat early in the sinking, taking their personal servants with them. Their lifeboat departed the ship with just 12 or so people aboard, although it could have held 30 or so more.
After watching the ship dive beneath the water, amidst the screams of the 1,500 people calling for help that they were ignoring, the tactless Lucy commented to her secretary, "There is your beautiful nightdress gone." Two sailors commented "It's all right for you, you can get more clothes, but we have lost everything." Cosmo then gave the men a "fiver" each ($360.00 today) to help them out, a gesture that would cost him a lot more later when he was accused of bribing the crew to let him escape the liner and then row away without helping any of the victims in the water.
Upon their return to London society, the couple were shunned in some circles, and constantly gossiped about by London society.
Unable to have children, their marriage slowly disintegrated and they drifted apart until 1931, when Cosmo died. Soon after his death, Lucy's business went bankrupt, and she later died in 1935.
Edith Brown Haisman
Mrs. Edith Brown Haisman, the oldest survivor of the Titanic, died at the age of 100 on January 20, 1997. She was 15 years old when placed in Lifeboat #13 as the Titanic sank. Her father, Thomas Brown, a glass of brandy in hand, waved from the deck saying "I will see you in New York."
In 1993 she described her ordeal:
"I was in Lifeboat #13. I always remembered that. My father was waving to us and talking to a clergyman, the Rev. Carter."
"The Titanic went in the ice and I heard three bangs. Before we hit, there had been terrific vibrations from the engines during the night as the ship was really racing over the sea."
"As the lifeboat pulled away we heard cries from people left on the Titanic and in the water and explosions in the ship. There were lots of bodies floating ... We were in the lifeboat nine hours."
"I kept looking in the water for my father and when we reached New York we went to the hospitals to see if he had been picked up."
Edith married the late Frederick Haisman in South Africa. They had 10 children and more than 30 grandchildren.
"I can never understand why God would have spared a poor Finnish girl when all those rich people drowned." ~~ Anna Turja Lundi, Titanic survivor.
Anna Sophia Turja was one of 21 children, born of two mothers and one father, in Oulainen, in northern Finland. John Lundi, the husband of her half-sister, Maria, invited her to come work for him at his store in Ashtabula, Ohio, and he got her a ticket on the Titanic.
She was 18 years old when she boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England, as a Third-Class (Steerage) passenger on her way to America. To her the ship was a floating city. The Main-Deck, with all its shops and attractions, was bigger than the main street in her home town. The atmosphere in Third-Class was quite lively with a lot of talking, singing, and fellowship. Anna shared a room with two other young ladies.
Late on that fateful night, she felt a shudder and a shake. Shortly thereafter, her roommates brother knocked on the door and told them that "something was wrong," that they should wear warm clothing and put on their life jackets. Their little group started heading for the upper decks. A crew member ordered them back, but they refused to obey, and he didn’t argue with them. She clearly remembers, however, that the doors were closed and chained shut behind them to prevent others from coming up.
The others of the group continued up to a higher deck, but she remained on what turned out to be the Boat-Deck. She thought it was too cold to go up further, and she was intrigued by the music being played by Titanic's Band. She also remembers seeing the lights of another ship (the "Mystery Ship") from the deck.
Anna didn’t fully understand what was going on because she did not know the language. Eventually a sailor physically threw her into a lifeboat. Lifeboat #15 was fully loaded when it was launched. They immediately rowed away from the ship, fearing that they would get sucked down with it when it went under. She heard loud explosions as the lights went out.
They were in the lifeboats for eight hours. They had to burn any scraps of paper or anything they had that would burn so that the lifeboats could see each other and stay together. Her most haunting memory was that of the screams and cries of dying people in the water.
Anna remembered the people aboard the Carpathia were wonderful. They gave up their blankets and coats, anything that could help. Anna kept looking for her roommates, but she never saw either of them again.
The survivors did not have to go through Ellis Island, as all other immigrants. They were taken straight to New York Hospital, and then sent on their way. Because of the language problem, Anna was tagged and put on a train to Ashtabula, Ohio.
She was greeted by a crowd in Ashtabula, as she was somewhat of a celebrity by this time. She soon met her future husband, Emil Lundi, John’s brother. They fell in love and got married. She never did go to work for her brother-in-law.
Anna's name turned up on the lost passengers list. Her family in Finland didn’t know that she was alive until 5 or 6 weeks later when they received a letter from her.
In May of 1953, she was a special guest when the movie "Titanic" came to the theatre in Ashtabula. It was the first movie she had ever seen in her life. It was so realistic, all she could say was, "If they were close enough to film it, why didn’t they help?"
Over the years she was interviewed regularly by the local newspapers when the anniversary of the sinking came around, but she turned down appearances on "I’ve Got a Secret" and "The Ed Sullivan Show", partly because of her physical condition and the language problem. She also refused many times to join in any lawsuits over the loss. She had her life, and felt that was compensation enough.
Every year on the April anniversary she would sit her seven children down to tell them the story again. The phrase she would always close with, and repeated throughout her life was, "I can never understand why God would have spared a poor Finnish girl when all those rich people drowned."
Anna Sophia Turja Lundi died in Long Beach, California, in 1982 at the age of 89.
At the age of 19, Margaret Devaney boarded that 'unsinkable' ship, the Titanic, to take her to the Promised land. Instead, she found Brooklyn and Jersey City. But as is often the case, extraordinary events make heroes out of peasants and unfortunately, tragedy makes for good story telling.
Margaret Devaney O'Neill fled her small village in County Sligo in 1912 to escape famine, poverty, and the English, just as thousands of others had done, to seek out a new life in the New World. She carried with her a suitcase, some odds and ends, and the clothes she had on at the time.
Margaret was below decks in Third-Class [Steerage] peeling potatoes on April 14th, 1912 when she decided that she needed some fresh air. With coat in hand she headed up the many flights of stairs to the Main-Deck (Boat-Deck). As she was nearing the top of the final flight she felt a tiny bump that interrupted the constant motion she had grown accustomed to over the last four days. It was, of course, the collision with the iceberg that would cause the Titanic to sink. Unfortunately 2,230 passengers and crew tried to fit into 20 lifeboats. Margaret was literally thrown into Collapsible Lifeboat #C when she was trying to go back to Steerage to find her three traveling companions who boarded with her. She didn't know they were already doomed: Sealed behind bulkheads that were closed to try to prevent the ship from sinking.
On the lifeboat with about 50 other terrified souls it appeared that she would at least survive the sinking, but the officer in charge could not detach the lifeboat from the quickly sinking Titanic. The story goes that Margaret gave him the little knife that she had been using earlier to peel potatoes and with it he was able to cut the boat loose.
After her lifeboat was picked up by the Carpathia the officer returned the knife to Margaret and gave her the ensign, which is the plaque that is attached to the side of each lifeboat bearing the White Star Line symbol. He gave her the ensign to thank her for the knife, but he also knew that people would begin tearing apart the lifeboats as souvenirs and he wanted to make sure that she had something to tell her grandchildren about.
Margaret Devaney died in 1975, but her story lives on.
The Becker Family
Ruth Becker Blanchard (1899-1990):
Ruth Becker was 12 years old in 1912 when she and her family travelled on the Titanic. After the sinking, she survived in Lifeboat #11. Ruth attended high school and college in Ohio, after which she taught high school in Kansas. She married a classmate, Daniel Blanchard, and after her divorce twenty years later, she resumed her teaching career. Like most survivors, she refused to talk about the sinking and her own children, when young, did not know that she had been on the Titanic. It was only after her retirement, when she was living in Santa Barbara, California, that she began speaking about it, granting interviews and attending conventions of the 'Titanic Historical Society'. In March of 1990, she made her first sea voyage since 1912 - a cruise to Mexico. She passed away later that year at the age of ninety.
Richard Becker was Ruth's younger brother and was two years old at the time of the disaster. Richard became a singer and in later life a social welfare worker. Widowed twice, he passed away in 1975.
Nellie Becker was the children's mother. She was married to a missionary stationed in India and her three children were sailing to America for treatment of an illness Richard had contracted in India. Once in America, she and her three children settled in Benton Harbour, Michigan, until her husband's arrival from India the following year. It was apparent to him and the children that her personality had changed since the disaster. She was far more emotional and was given to emotional outbursts. Until her death in 1961, she was never able to discuss the Titanic disaster without dissolving into tears.
Marion contracted tuberculosis at a young age and died in Glendale, California in 1944.
Returning to the South Dakota farm he had first homesteaded in 1908, he raised cattle and sheep for the next 30 years before retiring in North Dakota where he died in 1980.
Colonel Archibald Gracie IV
Archibald Gracie IV, 54, was born January 17th, 1859, in Mobile, Alabama. In 1912 he was a resident of Washington, D.C. and New York City. Gracie was married with four daughters, two died very young (one was killed in an elevator accident), and the only one to reach maturity died shortly after marriage.
A member of the wealthy Gracie family of New York state, one of Gracie's ancestors had built Gracie Mansion which became the official residence of the mayor of New York City in 1942. Gracie was a graduate of St. Paul's Academy in Concord, New Hampshire and of West Point Military Academy. Later becoming a colonel in the Seventh Regiment, United States Army, Gracie was independently wealthy, active in the real estate business and an amateur military historian.
His father served with the Confederate forces as militia captain of the Washington Light Infantry. In 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general and fought through the Battle of Chickamauga, one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. On December 2nd, 1864, General Gracie was killed while observing Union Army movements at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
Although Archibald Gracie IV was only about 5 years old when his father died, he had spent seven years writing a book, "The Truth About Chickamauga". In 1912, following the publication of his book, Colonel Gracie decided he needed to relax, and took a trip to Europe. Leaving his wife and daughter at home, he travelled to Europe on the 'Oceanic'. On this eastward voyage, he made friends with one of the ships officers, Herbert Pittman who was later the Third Officer on the Titanic.
Gracie took return passage on the Titanic, boarding at Cherbourg. He had spent much time with Mr. Isidor Straus who had regaled him with tales of his adventures during the Civil War. He loaned Mr Straus a copy of his new book, "The Truth About Chickamauga".
On Sunday morning following breakfast, Gracie attended Church service in the First-Class Dining Room, where the hymn was No. 418 of the Hymnal, "O God our help in ages past". He then spent some time with Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus and they returned the book he had loaned them.
Sunday night, after dinner, Gracie and his table companions Clinch Smith and Edward Kent, adjourned to the Palm Court where they enjoyed coffee as they listened to the Titanic's band. After circulating and socializing for a while, Gracie retired early to his cabin, C-51. After about three hours sleep, he was awakened by a jolt. He noted the time as 11.45 p.m., then opened the cabin door and looked out. He saw no one and heard no commotion. He could hear steam escaping and there was no sound of machinery running. Realizing that something was wrong, Gracie removed his nightwear and got fully dressed. Wearing a Norfolk coat, he left his cabin and made his way the Boat-Deck.
It was a cold, starlit night with no moon. There was no sign of ice or other ships. He jumped over the barrier dividing First and Second-Class and roamed the entire Boat-Deck. He saw a middle aged couple strolling along arm-in-arm but there was no sign of any officers or any reason for concern. Returning to the A-Deck companionway he encountered Mr. Bruce Ismay - the Managing Director of the White Star Line - with a crew member, they seemed preoccupied and did not notice him.
At the foot of the stairs there were a number of men passengers who had also been disturbed by the jolt, and he learned that the ship had collided with an iceberg. They noticed a tilt in the deck realized that the situation was worsening. The men returned to their staterooms where Gracie hastily packed all his possessions into three large travelling bags ready to transfer to another ship. After putting on a long Newmarket overcoat and returning to the deck, Gracie found that everyone was putting on the life preservers.
Gracie spent most of the remaining time assisting women into the lifeboats. Mrs. Straus almost entered Lifeboat #8, but turned back and rejoined her husband. She had made up her mind: "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." Gracie tried to persuade her, but she refused. Mr. and Mrs. Straus went and sat together on a pair of deck chairs.
Gracie continued to assist in the loading of women and children into Lifeboat #4. One of the ladies Gracie lifted into the boat was the pregnant teenage wife of Colonel John Jacob Astor IV.
At around 2.00 a.m. all of the Titanic's rockets had been fired and all the lifeboats had been lowered except for the four collapsible Englhardt boats with canvas sides.
Collapsible Lifeboat D was lifted, righted and hooked to the tackles where Lifeboat #2 had been. The crew then formed a ring around the lifeboat and allowed only women to pass through. The boat could hold 47, but after 15 women had been loaded, no more women could be found. Men were now allowed to take the vacant seats. This was when Gracie found Mrs. Brown ("The Unsinkable Molly Brown") and Miss Evans were still on board, so he escorted them to the lifeboat. When Gracie arrived with the female passengers, all the men immediately stepped out and made way for them. Thinking there was only room for one more lady, Edith turned to Mrs. Brown and told her, "You go first. You have children waiting at home." Mrs. Brown was helped in and the boat left the Titanic at 2.05 a.m. under Quartermaster Bright. Edith Evans would never find a space in any of the lifeboats and died in the sinking.
As the collapsible was lowered to the ocean, two men were seen to jump into it from the rapidly flooding A-Deck. Ironically these two men were Gracie's friends, Woolner and Bjrnstrm-Steffansson, who had found themselves alone near the open forward end of A-deck. Just above them Collapsible Lifeboat D was slowly descending towards the sea, and as the water rushed up the deck towards them they got onto the railing and leapt into the boat, Bjrnstrm-Steffansson landing in a heap at the bow. Woolner's landing was similarly undignified but they were safe.
Gracie was still working on the Collapsibles when the Titanic's bridge dipped under at 2.15 a.m. As the Titanic foundered, Gracie stayed with the crowd. As the water rushed towards them, Gracie jumped with the wave, caught hold of the bottom rung of the ladder to the roof of the officers mess and pulled himself up. As the ship sank, the resulting undertow pulled Gracie deep into icy waters, he kicked himself free far below the surface and, with the aid of his life preserver, swam clear. Clinging to a floating wooden crate, Gracie was able to swim over to the overturned Collapsible Lifeboat B and, with a little help managed to climb onto it. When Gracie first got to the boat there were about a dozen people on it. All told some thirty men and women managed to climb on the partially submerged boat during the next few minutes.
Just after 3.30 a.m. the survivors heard the sound of a cannon being fired, and as dawn broke around 4 a.m. the Carpathia came into sight. The men on Collapsible Lifeboat B were now desperately trying to stay afloat. The Carpathia was 4 miles away, picking up survivors from the other lifeboats. About 400 yards away, Lifeboats #4, #10, #12 and Collapsible D were strung together in a line. By 8.15 a.m. all Lifeboats were in but for Lifeboat #12. At 8.30 a.m., Lifeboat #12 made fast and Gracie was able step onto the Carpathia's gangway.
Colonel Gracie wrote an account of the tragedy that was published as "The Truth About The Titanic" in 1913. Gracie never finished proofing the manuscript as he died on December 4th, 1912 at his ancestral home in New York, N.Y., having never fully recovered from the trauma of that night. Many survivors were at the graveside for his burial, together with members of his regiment.
Archibald Gracie was the third survivor of Titanic to die, being preceded in death by Maria Nackid on July 30th, 1912 and Eugenie Baclini on August 30th, 1912. Colonel Gracie's final surviving child,
Edith Temple Gracie Adams, died childless in 1918, about a year after her marriage.
" ... there arose to the sky the most horrible sounds ever heard by mortal man except by those of us who survived this terrible tragedy. The agonising cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans of the suffering ... none of us will ever forget to our dying day." ~Quote by Colonel Archibald Gracie IV
The Countess of Rothes
The Countess of Rothes was born Noel Lucy Martha Dyer-Edwards on March 21st, 1879. She boarded the Titanic at the age of thirty-three with her cousin Miss Gladys Cherry, and her maid, Miss Roberta Maioni.
Soon, when Miss Edwards was around her twenties, she met Norman Evelyn Leslie (nineteenth Earl of Rothes), and their relationship became a wedding on the twenty-first of June, 1900. As soon as Miss Edwards said, "I do", she became the Countess of Rothes. She had two sons with his lordship, who (at the time of the Titanic) were eleven and two-and-a-half.
Lady Rothes was heading to America on the Titanic, so that she could join her husband, who wished to settle down for the rest of his life as a fruit-farmer, and spend a summer vacation in Pasadena, California.
When the Titanic sank, her Ladyship boarded Lifeboat #8 with her cousin and her maid. There, she took the tiller, and Able Seaman Tom Jones said, "She had a lot to say, so I put her to steering the boat". He admired the Countess of Rothes greatly, and later represented her with a plaque from the lifeboat, representing the number.
On board the Carpathia, her Ladyship earned the title of "the plucky little Countess", by the crew, for she helped the sick in Steerage and helped make clothes for the babies. A stewardess said, "You have made yourself famous by rowing the boats", and her Ladyship replied, "I hope not; I have done nothing".
At the Ritz Carlton, her Ladyship joined her husband, Lord Rothes, and they left for California. The Countess's husband, Earl Rothes, died in 1927, and she soon met Colonel Claude MacFie that same year and became Mrs. Noel MacFie in December. She lived with the colonel in Sussex and died there on September 21st, 1956.
J. Bruce Ismay
Joseph Bruce Ismay was one of the survivors of the Titanic. He was forty-nine years old when he boarded the Titanic. He was only seven years old when his father acquired White Star. Bruce's professional life would be centered in on the company after that happened.
He was first an apprentice in Liverpool, then an agent in New York and in 1891, upon returning from America with his wife Florence, became a partner in the firm. Although at first resistant to IMM's (International Mercantile & Marine) bid to buy White Star, Ismay agreed to J.P. Morgan's attractive offer in December, 1902. A year later he accepted the position of IMM president.
His wife and four surviving children did not accompany him on the Titanic. Ismay made his escape from the wreck on lifeboat Collapsible C, for which he spent the rest of his life marked as a selfish coward, especially in America.
Bruce Ismay retired as planned from the International Mercantile Marine in June 1913, but the position of managing director of the White Star Line that he had hoped to retain was denied him.
Surviving the Titanic disaster had made him far too unpopular with the public. He spent his remaining years alternating between his homes in London and Ireland. Because Ismay had never had many close friends, and subsequently had few business contacts, it was mistakenly easy to assume that he had become a recluse. He did enjoy being kept informed of shipping news but those around him were forbidden to speak of the Titanic.
Joseph Bruce Ismay died in 1937, at the age of seventy-three
Masabumi Hosono, the only Japanese passenger on the Titanic, stood on the Boat-Deck, torn between the fear of shame and the instinct for survival. Then the 42-year-old Japanese bureaucrat found himself in the right place at the right moment. There were two spots open in Lifeboat #10. Hosono hesitated, but when he saw a man next to him jump in, he swallowed his fear and followed.
Hosono's decision saved his life - yet it brought him decades of shame in Japan. He was branded a coward, fired from his job and spent the rest of his days embittered. He died in 1938, a broken man.
The Laroche Family
Born in Cap Haitian, Haiti, Mr. Laroche, 26, had been living in France since 1901. There he studied engineering and met Juliette Lafargue, whom he married in 1908. The couple had two daughters, Simonne and Louise, who was born prematurely on July 2, 1910 and suffered many subsequent medical problems.
Racial discrimination prevented Joseph Laroche from obtaining a well-paid job in France. Since the family needed more money to cope with Louise's medical bills, they decided to move to America, hoping jobs would be better racially for engineers. Mr. Laroche spoke fluent French and English.
The move was planned for 1913. In March 1912, however, Juliette discovered that she was pregnant, so she and Joseph decided to leave for Haiti before her pregnancy became too far advanced for travel. Joseph's mother in Haiti bought them steamship tickets on the La France as a welcome present, but the line's strict policy regarding children caused them to transfer their booking to the Titanic's second class.
On April 10 the Laroche family took the train from Paris to Cherbourg in order to board the brand-new liner later that evening. There was no mention of a black family aboard the Titanic by any of the press or survivors accounts. This is unusual for the time when prejudice was very existent.
Mr. Laroche, the only black passenger on the Titanic, did not survive the sinking of the Titanic. His wife and two daughters were saved in lifeboat #10.
On August 8, 1973, Simonne, who never married, died at the age of 64.
Mother Juliette, died At age 91 on January 10, 1980. On her grave a plaque is engraved: Juliette Laroche 1889-1980, wife of Joseph Laroche, lost at sea on RMS Titanic, April 15th 1912.
Louise Laroche passed away quietly in Paris, France on January 28, 1998 at the age of 87. She was 21 months old when rescued from the Titanic.
Michel & Edmond Navratil
Wishing to stop his mother-in-law's interference in his marriage, Michel Navratil (a French tailor) kidnapped his two children Michael M. (age 3) and Edmond Roger (age 2) from his estranged wife Marcelle, and sailed aboard Titanic.
The divorce proceedings were in process and the Easter Sunday, April 7th was Michel's day to visit the children. In a well thought out plan he picked up the boys at his mother-in-laws and took them to England to board the Titanic. He had a revolver in his pocket in case of interference.
Marcelle's mother had been caring for the boys while she worked as a seamstress to supplement the family income. The mother-in-law constantly undermined Michel's standing in the family. At the end of the Easter weekend Marcelle went to pick the boys up from their father but they were no where to be found. She never dreamt that her name would be a household word on two continents.
Master Edmond Roger Navratil was 2 years old and Michel Marcell Navratil was 3 years old when they boarded the Titanic at Southampton with their father, Michel. The family was travelling under the assumed name of Hoffman. Julian Pedro, who had the table next to Navratil in the dining saloon aboard the Titanic, described Mr. "Hoffman" as a rather handsome man about 40 (actually 32), 5 ft 6 inches tall with a dark moustache and hair, who looked either English or French.
"Hoffman" isolated himself from the other passengers during the crossing. He rarely let the boys out of his site not trusting anyone. Only at one point when he wanted to participate in a card game, he did. He let a Swiss woman by the name of Bertha Lehmann who spoke only French and German, but not English, look after the children.
Once the disaster occurred, Michel Navratil knew he had to now trust someone else with his precious children. He loved his sons and when handing them to strangers in Collapsible Lifeboat D he kissed them goodbye. The boys were handed into the arms of two different passengers - one to a First-Class and the other to a Third-Class passenger.
Mr. Navratil remained behind after placing his sons in Collapsible D. When the Titanic sank, Michel Navratil was aged 32 years. His last residence was in Nice, France. He had boarded the Titanic as a 2nd Class passenger at Southampton on Wednesday April 10, 1912, Ticket No. 230080, Cabin No. F2. His body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (No. 15) and was buried at the Baron De Hirsch Jewish Cemetery, Halifax Nova Scotia Canada on Wednesday May 15, 1912.
Aboard the Carpathia, Edmond and Michel (unable to speak English) were dubbed "the Orphans of the Titanic" when they turned out to be the only children who remained unclaimed by an adult. First Class survivor, Miss Margaret Hays agreed to care for the boys at her New York home (304 West 83rd Street) until family members could be contacted. They were assumed to be Hoffmans.
It was soon discovered that a man named Hoffman - fitting Michel Navratil's description - representing himself as a German antique dealer, had purchased tickets for himself and the two children in March at the Thomas Cook offices in Monte Carlo. Marcelle Navratil read the story of the "Titanic Orphans" and knowing her husband had a friend by the name of Hoffman, cabled a picture of Michel to Monte Carlo, then gave a description to Miss Hays through the Paris Bureau of the New York Herald. Confirming that she was the mother, the White Star Line gave her a ticket on the Oceanic to New York were she was reunited with her children on May 16. The three sailed back to France on the Oceanic.
In later life Edmond worked as interior decorator and then became an architect and builder. He was married. During World War II he fought with the French Army, was captured and made a prisoner-of-war. He managed to escape from the camp in which he was held, but his health had suffered and he died in the 1954 at the age of 43.
Michel Marcel became a scholar and teacher of philosophy and received his doctorate in 1952. He had two sons (a doctor of Urology and a German translator) and two daughters (a psychoanalyst and a music critic).
The boys mother, Marcelle Navratil, died in 1974.
Michel Navratil lived in France until his death on January 30, 2001. He was the last male Titanic survivor.
Mr. Michel Navratil was buried in the Jewish "Baron de Hirsch Cemetery" in Halifax. The officials offered to move his body to the Catholic section after the error was discovered but his wife was quite happy to leave the body where it was resting. No member of the family had ever visited Mr. Navratil's grave until Michel Marcel did - then 88 years old. Following Jewish tradition many visitors had honoured his memory by leaving stones on his marker to signify their having stopped to pay their respects.
Edmund (left) and Michael (right)
Marian Thayer & her Son, Jack
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, Saturday, April 15, 1944:
Obit For MRS. JOHN B. THAYER
Mrs. John B. Thayer, widow of John B. Thayer, prominent Philadelphian and Pennsylvania Railroad official, died yesterday on the 32nd anniversary of her husband's death in the Titanic disaster. She was 72.
When the Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912, off Newfoundland after striking an iceberg, her husband, 2nd vice president and director of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was carried to his death, but Mrs. Thayer and her son, John B. Thayer, Jr., were rescued in a lifeboat.
Mrs. Thayer was the daughter of the late Frederick Wister Morris, and lived in Cheswold Lane, Haverford. She had been ill a year. Surviving, besides John, are another son, Frederick M., of Newtown Square, and two daughters, Mrs. H. Hoffman Dolan, of Haverford, and Mrs. H. E. Talbott, Jr., of New York. Funeral services will be held at 5 P.M. Monday at the Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr.
Jack would later serve as a captain in the artillery in World War I and marry Lois Cassatt. In 1945, at the age of 50, he committed suicide by cutting his wrists and throat in a car. Jack was then buried in the family plot at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, PA.
From his Obit, September 23, 1945, Philadelphia Inquirer ...
John B. Thayer, 3d, financial vice president of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of an old Philadelphia family, who had been reported missing since Wednesday, was found dead, his wrists and throat cut, in a parked automobile near the P.T.C. loop at 48th St. and Parkside Ave. yesterday morning.
Mr. Bell said that Mr. Thayer had been suffering from a nervous breakdown during the last two weeks. "The breakdown," Mr. Bell explained, "was due, I believe, to worrying about the death of his son, Edward C. Thayer, who was killed in the service."
The P.T.C. employees who found the body on the front seat of the car with the feet under the steering wheel are George E. Wharton, of 2036 N. 54th ST., a supervisor, and Daniel Petetti, a mechanic, of 1247 N. 54th St.
They said they first saw the automobile, a sedan, registered in the name of his wife, Mrs. Lois C. Thayer, parked adjacent to the trolley loop on the south side of Parkside Ave. at noon Thursday. When they saw the same car parked there yesterday, they investigated.
Mr. Thayer's mother, Mrs. Marian Longstreth Morris Thayer, died at her Haverford home April 14, 1944, which was the 32nd anniversary of her husband's death on the liner Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg in the Atlantic.
Robert W. Daniel, Philadelphia Banker
"Not until the last five minutes did the awful realization come that the end was at hand. The lights became dim and went out, but we could see. Slowly, ever so slowly, the surface of the water seemed to come towards us. So gradual was it that even after I had adjusted the life jacket about my body it seemed a dream. Deck after deck was submerged. There was no lurching or grinding or crunching. The Titanic simply settled.
I was far up on one of the top decks when I jumped. About me were others in the water. My bathrobe floated away, and it was icily cold. I struck out at once. I turned my head, and my first glance took in the people swarming on the Titanic’s deck. Hundreds were standing there helpless to ward off approaching death. I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith’s waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero.
The bows of the ship were far beneath the surface, and to me only the four monster funnels and the two masts were now visible. It was all over in an instant. The Titanic’s stern rose completely out of the water and went up 30, 40, 60 feet into the air. Then, with her body slanting at an angle of 45 degrees, slowly the Titanic slipped out of sight."
While aboard the rescue ship Carpathia, he met fellow Titanic survivor Mrs. Lucien P. Smith, whose husband perished during the disaster. The two were married in 1914 in New York City.
Robert W. Daniel died on December 20, 1940, at the age of 56. Eloise Smith Daniel had died on May 3, 1940.
Mrs. Daniel Warner Marvin, on her honeymoon
Daniel Warner Marvin and Mary Graham Carmichael Farquarson were married on January 12, 1912. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton. Travelling as first class passengers, the couple were returning to New York City from their honeymoon in Europe. They occupied cabin D-30.
Mrs Marvin was rescued in lifeboat 10 but Daniel Marvin died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
On October 21, 1912, Mary gave birth to a baby girl, the posthumous daughter of Daniel Warner Marvin. She named the baby Mary Margaret Marvin.
In the spring of 1913, Mary Marvin met Horace DeCamp and fell in love. In 1916, Horace adopted Mary Margaret, the daughter from Mary's first marriage. Horace and Mary had two children of their own ... a daughter born in 1918 and a son in 1920.
Horace DeCamp died in 1954 at the age of 67. Eighty year old Mary died on October 16, 1975.
Master William Rowe Richards
When the Titanic sank William Rowe Richards was aged 3 years. His last residence was in Penzance Cornwall England. He boarded the Titanic as a 2nd Class passenger at Southampton on Wednesday April 10, 1912, Ticket No. 29106. Destination: Akron, Ohio.
William Rowe Richards survived the sinking (lifeboat 4) and was picked up by the Carpathia disembarking at New York City on Thursday April 18, 1912.
He died January 9, 1988 from heart failure brought on by heart disease.
His mother, Mrs. Sidney Richards (Emily Hocking), 24, was born in Penzance, Cornwall, the daughter of confectioner and baker, William Rowe Hocking and wife Mrs Eliza Needs Hocking. She lived with her family at 38 Adelaide Street, Penzance.
Emily married Mr James Sibley Richards and moved to 'The Meadow', Newlyn. They had two sons, William Rowe Richards (named after his maternal grandfather) and George Sibley Richards and a daughter, Emily. Her husband subsequently emigrated to Akron, Ohio and she planned to join him there.
She boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger with her two young sons under ticket number 29106, having been transferred from the Oceanic. She traveled with her mother, Mrs Elizabeth Hocking, her brother George Hocking and sister Nellie Hocking.
Emily Richards and Addie Wells had strolled the deck of the Titanic the night of the 14th, noticing how cold it was. She had just put her children to bed and was about to go to bed herself when the Titanic collided with an iceberg.
After the collision, her mother rushed into her room and shook her. Mrs Hocking said "There is surely danger, something has gone wrong." Mrs Richards and her other family members put on their slippers and outside coats and dressed the children and then went up on deck in their nightgowns. As they went up the stairs a crewmember called out that "Everyone put on life preservers." Mrs Richards returned to her cabin, as family members reassured themselves that nothing was the matter. They returned to deck and were told to pass through the dining room to a rope ladder placed against the side of the cabin that led to an upper deck. Mrs Richards, her two sons, her mother, and her sister were pushed through a window into lifeboat 4. They were told to sit in the bottom of the boat. Some of the women tried to stand after the boat pulled away, however the crewmen pushed them with their feet back into a seated position. The boat was only a short distance away from the Titanic went it went down. The people in the boat pulled seven men out of the water.
The Richards and Hockings hoped that George Hocking had been rescued by another ship, but this had not happened. After leaving the Carpathia, the Richards stayed at Blake's Star Hotel at 57 Clarkson's Street in New York City and she was reunited with her husband Sibley ("Sib") Richards who had travelled from Akron.
She ultimately returned to the UK to live. Her husband died on July 3, 1939 at the age of 51. Emily continued to live in Paul, near Penzance, Cornwall until her death on November 10, 1972. She is interred in the Paul Cemetery, Cornwall.
At the beginning of 1910, Mrs Mahala and Mr. Walter Douglas, an American who co-founded the Quaker Oats Company, were staying in Paris. Mrs Douglas asked Berthe to join her staff and the young lady became her Travelling Companion. Berthe made the first of many trips across the Atlantic ocean along with her new employers.
In April 1912, the Douglas’s were on a trip in Europe; they wanted to buy new pieces of furniture for their Lake Minnetonka house. Mr. Douglas wanted to celebrate his 53rd birthday at home, in America, so the couple decided not to stay too long in Paris. The first liner sailing from France was the Titanic. The Douglas’s had a ticket (number PC 17761) purchased at the Parisian offices of the White Star Line. They boarded in Cherbourg, where a strange thing occurred. According to Mrs Douglas, a man who was speaking broken English told her that the Titanic was cursed, that she had better disembark in Ireland. Mrs Douglas felt uneasy and sent Berthe after the man. Berthe never could find him. Mr. Douglas laughed and told his wife that the ship was unsinkable. The Douglas’s occupied cabin number C-86, on C-Deck, and Berthe was in cabin C-138.
Berthe had vivid memories of a brilliant life on board, of evening parties, gala dinners and special meals held in honour some of the most fortunate passengers. Life was simply beautiful until the shout: Everybody on deck! rang out.
Berthe stated she heard the noise of the collision with the iceberg, which she first thought was nothing but the rumble of a storm. She was sleeping, and did not worry at first. She did not answer the order to leave ship shouted by a sailor who knocked many times at their door. She later admitted, some day in 1966, that she imagined this was a trick from a young man whom, she thought, was rather fond of her and tried to have her open her door. Much later, when she noticed that the ship was tilting forward and because the sailor was insisting at the door, she finally put a dressing gown over her night gown and hurried out of her cabin, with only one slipper on as she could not find the second one, and a lifebelt she found in a cupboard.
The corridors were almost deserted, she remembered. As they were not lighted, she found it difficult to reach the upper deck, finding her path reading the cabin numbers on the brass plaques glinting in the dark. She hoped she would meet her employers up there.
She was one of the last passengers to leave the liner on the next to the last lifeboat, #2. Because of the dark, she did not notice that Mrs Douglas was also in the same boat.
It was ten minutes after 4 a.m. Mrs Douglas was the first survivor to set foot on the rescue ship. She hysterically shouted that the Titanic had gone down with hundreds of passengers, and one crew member had to quiet her down. On the Carpathia, Berthe met Mrs Douglas, and both women were given comfort and warmth.
Mr. Walter Douglas body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett a few weeks after the sinking; his body, N0 62, was described as: Male Estimated age, 55 Hair grey, Clothing : Evening dress, with "W.D.D." on shirt. Effects : Gold watch; chain; sov. case with "W.D.D."; gold cigarette case "W.D.D."; five gold studs; wedding ring on finger engraved "May 19th '84"; pocket letter case with $551.00 and one 5 note; cards. First class Name WALTER D. DOUGLAS, Minneapolis.
Berthe promised Mrs Douglas to stay with her. She would not leave her until Mrs Douglas passed away, aged 81, in 1945.
Just after the First World War, Berthe was in Boston; Mrs Douglas was going to have a party and Berthe was asked to hire musicians. She found someone she had not seen for years: Gaston Bourlard, whom she had known as a boy in the North of France. Later, they began a serious relationship and married in 1928. Gaston became a butler, both employed by Mrs Douglas.
After Mrs Douglas died, Berthe and Gaston retired to Santa Barbara, California, where they bought a small villa at 2206 Modoc Rd.
Gaston died on August 15th, 1955; after a long period of ill health. He rests in America, at Santa Barbara Calvary Cemetery.
Berthe sometimes went back to France, but she became an American citizen on July 14th, 1942. She last sailed across the Atlantic on the France from August 8th to 12th, 1964.
Her life ended quietly. She passed away on July 4th, 1972 after asking for some water she had no time to sip. She gasped twice and her life, which had been at the same time incredibly restless and simple, ended.
Margaret Tobin Brown - "The Unsinkable Molly"
Margaret Brown (also know as Molly Brown) was born on July 18, 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri. Her parents, John Tobin and Laura Collins, were both immigrants from Ireland. She had two brothers and two sisters. She grew up in a cottage not too far from the Mississippi River. Margaret was a hard worker and stripped tobacco leaves as a teenager to get a better job.
After she moved to Leadville, Colorado with her sister Mary and her husband Jack Landrigan, they established a blacksmith shop. Margaret shared a cabin in Colorado with her older brother Daniel, who worked in the mines and successfully became a mine promoter.
In the summer of 1886, Margaret met James Joseph Brown, also known as J.J. Like Margaret, J.J.'s parents had also immigrated from Ireland. They married on September 1, 1886 at the Annunciation Church in Leadville. The Browns had two children, Lawrence Palmer, who was born in 1887 and Catherine Ellen who was born in 1889.
When her children were quite young, Margaret was involved in a feminine association. She belonged to The National American Women's Association, Colorado Chapter. She was also involved in supporting soup kitchens for the needy and to assist families of the Leadville miners.
In 1894 James Joseph Brown struck it moderately rich in a gold find, and the two moved to Denver, where Maggie sought to enter Denver society, with little success. She began visiting New York and Newport, R.I., and then Europe and through persistence and her flamboyant personality was able to join the select group of wealthy Americans whose acceptance she craved.
The Brown's purchased a house on Pennsylvania Street in Denver and later on they built a summer house called Avcca Lodge. Margaret became very fond of the Denver Women’s Club, a network of clubs that discussed suffrage and the human rights throughout the United States. She raised enough funds to build the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph's Hospital and worked as well with Judge Ben Lindsey to help desperate children.
Margaret Brown boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg, France, as a First Class passenger. She occupied Cabin B-4 and Cabin B-6 aboard the Titanic. She and her daughter Helen had been traveling in Europe. Margaret heard that her first grandchild was ill, so she booked a passage on the first ship she could, the "Unsinkable," the "Wonder Ship," the "Ship of Dreams," the Titanic. Margaret's daughter Helen was going to go with Margaret, but then she made a sudden and wise decision not to go on the Titanic. Little did her family know that Margaret was on the Titanic and what would happen to her when she took the trip.
After the ship struck the iceberg, Margaret helped women and children into lifeboats and eventually was shoved into lifeboat six. Margaret told the women on the lifeboat to row together and not let fear take over.
Margaret's greatest work happened on the Carpathia. She established The Titanic's Survivors Committee for the people that needed help and for the poor. Margaret also raised almost $10,000 dollars for desperate survivors of the tragic event.
Shortly after the sinking Margaret wrote to her daughter:
"After being brined, salted and pickled in mid ocean, I am now high and dry. I have had flowers, letters, telegram-people until I am befuddled. They are petitioning Congress to give me a medal. If I must call a specialist to examine my head, it is due to the title of Heroine of the Titanic."
Her humour prevailed as she spoke to the people:
"Thanks for the kind thoughts. Water was fine, swimming, good. Neptune was exceedingly kind to me and I am now high and dry."
Margaret visited Nova Scotia to place wreaths on the victims graves and continued to serve the Survivors Committee. She was fairly unhappy that as a woman she couldn't testify at the Titanic hearings. Because of this Margaret wrote her own version of the event that was published in the newspapers of New York, Denver and Paris.
Sadly, Margaret Tobin Brown died of a brain tumour on October 26, 1932 at the Barbizon Hotel in New York where she was working with actresses. She was sixty-five. She was buried next to J.J. who died September 6th, 1922.
Her remains were not returned to Colorado. After a simple funeral service Maggie was buried, next to James Joseph Brown, in Long Island's Holy Rood Cemetery. It was only after her death, when she became the subject of the hit Broadway musical and film "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", that she gained some of the fame she would have so enjoyed in life.
Their daughter Helen Brown Benziger died in Old Greenwich, Connecticut on October 17th, 1993 at the age of 97.
Molly Brown is a name Hollywood made up for her. Because of this name, Margaret's family stayed away from writers, photographers, reporters etc. after the Titanic's sinking. They eventually withdrew themselves from crowds who wanted to see them.
Rhoda "Rosa" Abbott - Titanic's Woman of Sorrows
Loss ... Perhaps no single survivor of Titanic was to understand the word like Rhoda Abbott. While others lost spouses, parents, children, and friends, the only woman that went into the water and still survived probably wished at times that the frigid North Atlantic had claimed her as well. For the most seriously injured of the disaster's survivors, there would be a lifetime to think about what might have been.
It was in 1893 that former middleweight boxing champion George Stanton Abbott arrived on American soil. He was a 25 year-old Englishman looking forward to making a name for himself in the United States. Rhoda Hunt had been born in Aylesbury, Buckingham, England on January 15, 1873, the daughter of Joseph Hunt, a farm labourer, and his wife Sarah Green Hunt. The two married in England about 1890 and Rhoda followed her husband to America in 1894. They made their home in Providence, Rhode Island and in due course started a family.
Rossmore Edward Abbott would make his debut as firstborn son on February 21, 1896. He would welcome his only sibling, Eugene Joseph (Gene) Abbott, on March 31, 1899. Both boys were born in Providence. For a time the family prospered in Providence and was active in the Salvation Army. But the marriage became shaky after a few years and the couple separated in 1911. Rhoda used her talents as a seamstress to support her young sons but in early 1911 she determined that life would be easier if she returned to her widowed mother in St. Albanshurst, England. She and her sons made the voyage to England on the Olympic.
Once in England, the boys were uncomfortable among strangers and became homesick. They did not adjust to their new home and Rhoda decided to return to Providence. She booked passage to America on the Titanic and the threesome boarded the ship as 3rd Class passengers at Southampton on Wednesday April 10, 1912, Ticket No. CA2673..
In the late hours of April 14, 1912, Rhoda was awakened by the impact with the iceberg. Becoming alarmed she sent Gene to investigate. He returned telling of passengers putting on lifebelts and Rhoda wasted no time getting dressed. She made her way to the after-deck by the time the second boat was lowered and waited with Gene to find a place in a lifeboat. She never found a place in one of the lifeboats although she claimed that a number of men were allowed to escape while she and seven other women stood by until the last.
As the Titanic took her final plunge Mrs Abbott and her two sons jumped from the deck. She surfaced, the boys did not. The two boys were lost. When Rosa had went under a second time, she seemed to have been blown out of the water by the explosion of a boiler, resulting in burns to her thighs. Somehow she scrambled to Collapsible Lifeboat A where she begged the other occupants to pull her in. In an interview given to the Providence Daily Journal, Rhoda described her experience on Collapsible A.
"Soon the raft tilted and all slid off into the water. Many of them managed to get back on it and some did not. I managed somehow to get on it, but I don't know how. Had it not been for Officer Lowe, I would have been drowned. I was nearly exhausted when he lifted me into his lifeboat. It would have been impossible for an officer to show more courtesy and many of the criticisms that have been made against this man are very unjust."
Mrs. Rosa Abbott, was only female survivor pulled out of the water.
When the Titanic sank Eugene Joseph Abbott was 14 years and 15 days old. His body was never recovered .
Rossmore Edward Abbott was 16 years old. His body was recovered (No. 190) - Male, estimated age 22 - very fair. CLOTHING - Brown overcoat; grey pants; green cardigan; blue jersey; black boots. Effects - Watch; chain and fob, with medal marked "Rossmore Abbott"; pocket book empty and two knives. He was was buried at sea on April 24, 1912,
After rescue by the Carpathia, Rhoda remained on a small cot in the smoking room due to the injuries she sustained during her escape from the sinking Titanic. Her legs and feet were badly frostbitten and upon arrival in New York she was hospitalized somewhat longer than most of the other survivors. On May 5 she was described as being critically ill due to shock and fever. But by May 18, things had improved.
From THE WAR CRY, May 18, 1912:
"We found Mrs. Abbott in excellent hands at the New York Hospital on West Sixteenth Street, New York, and she seemed deeply grateful for the considerations shown her by everybody, including our beloved Commander, the remembrance of whose visit she assured us was a very precious one and found embodiment in a beautiful bunch of roses upon the dressing table.
We were glad indeed to find the dear sister rapidly recovering from the physical suffering-which at times has amounted to torture - which she has been called upon to pass through. In fact, she can already sit up a little, and we learned with the greatest pleasure that there is every hope for a complete recovery, without any permanent disability whatever.
This is the more remarkable when we consider what Mrs. Abbott has had to endure. It must be understood that, at the sinking of the ship, she was not fortunate enough to get a place in any of the boats, but was precipitated into the sea in a lifebelt and drifted about. Not knowing how to swim or sustain her balance, she became a play toy of the waves, floundering around, sometimes turning over in the water, until a raft was reached, to which she managed to cling with icy fingers, with the lower limbs completely submerged in the water, until day broke and the Carpathia hove in sight. The physical agony of being submerged in ice-cold water for five and a half hours, linked to the mental pain caused by the knowledge that her loved ones had already perished, almost paralyzes the imagination. Yet God was merciful, she realizes, in sparing her.
A faint and rather doubtful smile played upon the sufferer's face when she spoke of her youngest boy, who was a constant attendant at the junior meetings at our St. Albans corps in England, and who, she stated, from the moment they were in danger, kept to his knees in prayer that, whatever happened to him and his brother, the mother's life should be preserved. The prayer of the dear lad was answered.
Mrs. Abbott is recovering rather more slowly from the mental shock than from the physical. Her boys were very precious to her. Her hopes were built upon them. Yet, as we tried to speak words of hope and cheer, in the endeavour to get the poor, stricken soul to realize that her boys were now in better care than she could give them, far removed from the temptations that beset young fellows of their age, safely harboured in the Homeland, she gave a tearful assent, and tried courageously to resign herself to the Master's will.
We must continue to pray for her."
Finally returning to Providence, she relied on help from church members and friends to rebuild her life. In the summer she traveled to the western United States in an attempt to relieve her mind from the terrible experience which resulted in the loss of her two sons.
On September 1, 1906, a young blonde silversmith who had been living in Montreal crossed the border into the United States. He made his way directly to Providence, Rhode Island and was to live there sporadically. George Charles Williams was a slight, blue-eyed man with a fair complexion. In Providence he found his old friend Rhoda Abbott and her husband and he was to be a source of comfort to Rhoda when her marriage began to fall apart. When she returned to Providence following the Titanic disaster he was quick to befriend her again. Having been unable to ply his trade as he had planned in Rhode Island, he made several trips to Jacksonville, Florida to investigate job opportunities. Rhoda found the cold of Rhode Island unbearable following her experience in Collapsible A and suffered from ongoing asthma afterwards. She accompanied George Williams on several trips to Florida and found the warmer climate to her liking. It was there that the two were married on December 16, 1912. Letters written to fellow survivor Emily Goldsmith indicate that it may have largely been a marriage of convenience, Rhoda commenting, "I thought it the best I could do." The couple located in Jacksonville permanently after their marriage and George Williams found work as a bookbinder.
Rhoda was nearly 40 at the time of her marriage to George Williams and she was to have no other children. On September 2, 1919 she became a citizen of the United States through her husband's naturalization. In February of the following year George made a trip back to London to deal with the estate of his father. Rhoda, still deathly afraid of the water, opted to remain in Florida. But by 1923 her fear had subsided enough to allow her to accompany her husband on a trip back to England and on to Germany. They returned to the United States aboard the President Arthur on September 23, 1923.
In August of 1928 Rhoda Abbott Williams made her last voyage across the Atlantic Ocean when George needed to return to England to finalize the settlement of his father's estate. Rhoda enjoyed spending time with her sister and niece and seeing old friends. But then disaster struck again. In late 1928 George Williams suffered a severe stroke and was partially paralyzed making a return to Florida impossible for the foreseeable future. The couple found a small flat at 47 Cleveland Road in Barnes, Surrey that was to be their final home.
The next few years saw a quiet and mundane existence for Rhoda and Charles and few would have guessed that the plain woman in their midst was among the most tragic figures in an epic drama. George Williams had developed heart problems and the effects of his earlier stroke lingered for years. Mitral stenosis claimed his life on June 5, 1938. Rhoda made plans to return to Jacksonville and take her husband's ashes there for interment but a declaration of war thwarted her before she could depart England. She continued a solitary existence in her little home throughout the World War II years but by the end of hostilities her own health began to fail. Plagued by hypertension she suffered cardiac failure and died at home on February 18, 1946. All the tragedies of life had passed.
There was to be one more ironic twist in the story of the hapless "Lady of Titanic Sorrows." It might be said that of all those survivors of the Titanic tragedy, Rhoda's desperate fight for life in the frigid North Atlantic most closely paralleled that of Second Officer Lightoller, even to the point of being injured by the blast from a boiler. When on February 23, 1946, the mortal remains of Rhoda Abbott were cremated, her ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at Mortlake near Richmond, Surrey, England. Just six years later, Charles Herbert Lightoller's ashes would join her on the same bit of grass.
The Spedden Family
Douglas Spedden, born November 19, 1905, was an American boy, the son of Frederic and Daisy Spedden a wealthy New York couple. Frederic was the heir to a banking fortune. Daisy was also rich. Her father made a fortune in shipping. They liked to travel and go on European tours. They took their son Douglas with them everywhere they went. They travelled by ship to Europe and then travelled to lots of places by train. Douglas was then a boy of 7 years.
The Speddens lived in Tuxedo Park New York. In the summer they had a home at Bar Harbour, Maine.
Douglas had a lovely childhood. His parents adored him and showered him with wonderful play things. Douglas had a nanny, Elizabeth Burns. He called her "Muddy Boons".
In September 1911, the Speddens departed America for Europe. Shortly before leaving on their voyage, Douglas' aunt have him a white polar Steiff bear that she had purchased at FAO Schwartz Toy Store in New York City. "Polar" went with Douglas on the trip.
The family were in Paris during March 1912 and at the end of their tour, they left on the Paris-Cherbourg Boat train. They boarded the Titanic. Four days later the Titanic on its Maiden voyage collided with an iceberg. The Spedden family were fortunate to all be rescued.
An hour after Titanic struck the iceberg, the entire party escaped the ship in lifeboat No. 3. Clutching his stuffed bear, Polar, Douglas slept as Titanic went down. By the time he woke, the rising sun illuminated the icebergs around them. "Look at the beautiful North Pole," the boy cried, "with no Santa Claus on it!"
Back home in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., the family tried to put the disaster behind them. "The daily incidents, which once seemed of such importance," Daisy wrote in her diary, "dwindled into mere trivialities." Yet another tragedy awaited.
We know much about Douglas from a book his mother wrote about him in 1913. The book, Polar the Titanic Bear, was a Christmas gift for Douglas. The "narrator" is the cuddly bear that Douglas loved so much. The book tells the story of Douglas and Polar's journey together on the Titanic.
Douglas may have had a tutor when he was younger. But by age 9, he was attending school. His mother, at the end of the "Polar the Titanic Bear" book (in the bear's words) writes, "Master Douglas goes to school now, and I am left alone much of the time. But I always look forward to the warm greeting he gives me on his return."
Unfortunately Douglas life was so short. On August 6, 1915, only two years after their narrow escape from the Titanic, Douglas was playing football near the faily's Summer house in Maine. He chased after his ball which had gone onto the street. He did not look as he dashed out into the road. He was hit by a car and killed. He was the first road casualty in Maine. The family never recovered from his death.
Daisy and Frederick both died in old age, just a few years apart -- but that's not where their story ends. Several years a go a distant relative discovered the storybook Daisy had written for Douglas in 1913, recounting the Titanic voyage through the eyes of a little boy's toy. Since it was published in 1994, Polar the Titanic Bear has sold 250,000 copies, ensuring that the story of little Douglas Spedden -- like the tale of Titanic itself -- will live on.
Edith Louise Rosenbaum Russell
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 12 June 1879, the fashion writer, consultant, importer, buyer and stylist Edith Louise Rosenbaum began her career abroad as a saleswoman in 1908 for the Maison Cheruit in Paris.
Beginning in 1910, Rosenbaum presided as chief foreign correspondent to "Women's Wear Daily," dispatching weekly fashion marketing reports and seasonal collection news to New York from the publication's Paris branch. By 1912 Rosenbaum was operating a successful buying and consulting service based in Paris and designing her own popular retail line of clothes, called Elrose, for Lord & Taylor in New York.
Apart from her eventful public career, Rosenbaum had a notable private life. In 1911 she was seriously injured in an automobile accident in France while en route with friends to attend the races at Deauville. The crash proved fatal for her fiancé Ludwig Loewe, a wealthy German gun manufacturer.
The following year, she was a survivor of the Titanic disaster, achieving a measure of notoriety owing to the news of her escape in a lifeboat with a musical toy pig.
occupied cabin A-11 on the Promenade Deck (just forward of the first smokestack) and was able to afford an additional first class cabin (E-63, behind the third smoke stack) solely for storage of the clothing she was bringing home from Paris.
When undressing for bed Sunday night, Edith felt a slight jar followed by a much stronger second impact. As she was on the starboard side, she could see the iceberg glide by her window.
She had her steward retrieve one treasured possession from her stateroom ... "Maxixe." Maxixe, the pig, is white-gray coloured and has a curly tail. He also has a cute grin, and his eyes are closed as though he's thinking happy thoughts. When his tail is wound up, the little pig sings the maxixe, the name for a dance. The Titanic pig is a music box.
There's a lot of confusion as women and children are loaded into lifeboats. Miss Edith refuses to get into a lifeboat until the other women and children are in the boats first. But, someone mistakes Maxixe for a baby, grabs the wrapped up pig and tries to save the baby by throwing it into a lifeboat. Miss Edith jumps in after Maxixe.
Miss Rosenbaum spent the freezing night in Lifeboat 11, keeping the spirits of the children up by entertaining them with her musical good luck charm -La Maxixe. The children in the lifeboat are cold and frightened. Miss Edith unwraps Maxixe and winds up his tail. It cheers up the children until they're rescued. Maxixe is a hero.
Her adventures during the next several years included dancing with Mussolini at a dinner party and breeding dogs for Maurice Chevalier. She also made life-long friends with the young British actor Peter Lawford and his parents and spent much time with them at their home in Palm Beach. She was later a godmother to Lawford's children with the former Patricia Kennedy.
In 1953 Edith Russell was invited by Twentieth Century Fox Studios to attend the New York premiere of the film Titanic, starring Barbara Stanwyk, Clifton Webb, and Robert Wagner. She was interviewed by Life magazine during her stay in America and also met with historian Walter Lord who included her story in his best-selling book A Night to Remember, published in 1956.
Russell afterwards served as a technical advisor to producer William MacQuitty on his 1958 film adaptation of Lord's book. She was portrayed in the movie as well and attended the premiere as MacQuitty's guest of honour.
She made the rounds of the press during the latter 1950s and throughout the 60s, telling her account of the Titanic sinking in numerous interviews in newspapers and magazines and on television and radio. The majority of her TV and radio appearances were with the BBC. She generally brought along her legendary musical pig which she played for audiences. She was made an honorary member of the Titanic Historical Society in 1963.
Despite her advanced age and physical frailty, Russell remained active and outspoken in her last years. She attended fund-raisers, gave luncheons and teas for visiting friends, tried unsuccessfully to interest publishers in her memoirs, and continued to be interviewed by reporters about the Titanic.
Edith Russell died on April 4, 1975, at the Mary Abbott Hospital in London, following a ten day illness. She was 98. She left only a couple of scattered cousins as survivors.
Maxixe the pig became the subject of a children's book, "Pig on the Titanic" (written by Gary Crew).
Eva Miriam Hart
Her father, 43 year old Benjamin Hart, was a builder who had decided to start a new life with his family in Winnipeg, Canada and join a friend in a construction company there. The Hart's had been scheduled to sail on the 'Philadelphia' but their plans were changed due to the coal strike. They were transferred instead to the Titanic.
Seven year old Eva was woke up by her father in the middle of the night. He carried her outside in a blanket and told her, "Hold Mummy's hand and be a good girl." It was the last thing he ever said to her, and she never saw him again.
Eva and her mother survived (Lifeboat #14), but her father did not survive the sinking. Eva Hart never forgot what she had seen and heard that night.
After the disaster, she had nightmares for years. She solved the nightmares by going back to sea and locking herself in a cabin for four days.
She later became a magistrate in England and gave a number of interviews on the subject of the Titanic. She is famous for the line: "
If a ship is torpedoed, that's war. If it strikes a rock in a storm, that's nature. But just to die because there weren't enough lifeboats, that's ridiculous."
She vividly remembered the screams of the drowning people in the water as the ship sank. She swore that she heard the band play 'Nearer My God to Thee', despite conflicting evidence that the band may have played upbeat ragtime tunes almost until the sinking.
Even during Mrs. Hart's last years, her memory remained vivid and chilling.
"I saw that ship sink," she said in a 1993 interview. "I never closed my eyes. I didn't sleep at all. I saw it, I heard it, and nobody could possibly forget it."
"The panic seemed to me to start after the boats had gone, we could hear it, but when we were in the boat rowing away, then we could hear the panic, of people rushing about on the deck and screaming and looking for lifeboats. I could only tell you I was terrified! It's quite impossible to use another word for it, I was absolutely terrified as anyone would be. Oh it was dreadful. The bow went down first and the stern stuck up in the ocean for what seemed to me like almost like a long time, of course it wasn't, but it stood out stark against the sky and then heeled over and went down. And you could hear the people screaming and thrashing about in the water and finally the ghastly noise of the people thrashing about and screaming and drowning, that finally ceased. I remember saying to my Mother once how dreadful that noise was and I always remember her reply. She said, yes, but think back about the silence that followed it, because all of a sudden it wasn't there - the ship wasn't there, the lights weren't there and the cries weren't there."
"When the dawn came up and we were being picked up by the Carpathia, I wasn't in the same lifeboat with her. I spent the rest of the night screaming for her, and I found her of course, on the Carpathia. She was looking for me and I was looking for her. That must have been quite dreadful for people, like my Mother, who would look round to see if my Father had, by any chance made it."
She recalled that the children were pulled up onto the Carpathia in a mailbag. "Because the children couldn't climb up rope ladders, we were each one of us, put in a mail sack and that was terrifying swinging about over the ocean."
When salvage of the wreck began in 1987, Eva Hart was an outspoken critic of any salvage attempts of what she considered a gravesite.
She held several jobs, becoming a professional singer in Australia, working as a Conservative Party organizer and serving as a magistrate in England. She described her life in a 1994 autobiography, "In the Shadow of the Titanic."
On April 15th, 1995 - the 83rd anniversary of the disaster, the Titanic survivors Eva Hart and Edith Brown (Haisman), another Second-Class passenger, dedicated a memorial garden plaque in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum, London. It consists of plants in remembrance: roses, purple sage, rosemary and Irish golden yew. The stone is carved Cornish granite similar to that used in ships ballasts. The marker is an engraved bronze plaque which duplicates the typeface used for Titanic's name on her hull. The text on the marker reads:
TO COMMEMORATE THE SINKING
OF R.M.S. TITANIC
ON 15TH APRIL, 1912
AND ALL THOSE
WHO WERE LOST WITH HER
April 15, 1995
Eva Hart, the last survivor with memories of Titanic, died on February 15th, 1996 in a London hospital. Having never married, she left no immediate family.
Bertram & Millvina Dean
Master Bertram Bert Vere Dean, 1-3/4, was born in London on May 21, 1910, the son of Bertram Frank Dean and Eva Georgette Light. He was the elder brother to Millvina Dean.
In 1912 his parents decided to immigrate to Wichita, Kansas, where they hoped to open a tobacconist shop. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers.
It was a freezing night in 1912 when Millvina Dean last saw her father on the deck of the doomed Titanic liner.
Bertram Dean kissed his nine-week-old daughter on the cheek and wrapped her in a sack to keep her warm, ready to be lowered to safety.
"I'll follow in another lifeboat," he cried to wife Georgette, as she cradled Millvina and her two-year-old brother, also called Bertram.
Mr Dean had purchased his family's passage on the maiden voyage of the White Star line flagship. He hoped to sail them from Southampton to a new life in America, only squeezing on at the last minute after transferring tickets from another ship.
But Mr Dean's dream ended in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the night of April 14th, when he woke to the sound of an iceberg ripping a hole in the hull.
His body was never found.
Bertram, his mother and sister survived the sinking. They reached New York and were quartered in hospital for a time before returning to England aboard the Adriatic.
In his later years Bertram was educated at King Edward's school in Southampton, paid for by compensation from the various Titanic relief funds. He went on to work at Husband's Shipyard in Southampton where he met George Beauchamp who, he learned, may have been in the same lifeboat as he. The two became good friends.
Bert Dean was married to Dorothy Sinclair, who had her own Titanic-credentials: her father had purchased the music shop in Southampton previously owned by Titanic victim Henry Price Hodges. Bert was very fervent about Titanic-related activities: he granted many interviews, guessed at several conventions, was a frequent visitor to the Southampton City Heritage's offices during the 1980s; he was secretary for 25 years for the Anchor Darts Club at the Royal Oak pub in Woodlands.
Bertram Vere Dean died April 14, 1992 (the disaster's anniversary), aged 81. His widow Dorothy still lives in Southampton. His mother, Georgette (later remarried), had died in England on September 16, 1975.
Ms Dean, from Woodlands in Southampton, has relived the disaster that claimed her father's life and more than 1,500 others at a new exhibition. The pensioner saw some 200 relics salvaged from the ship, including its huge bell and a three-ton chunk of its hull, at London's Science Museum.
She said: "I think it is fantastic and very, very interesting. Children still ask me all the time about the Titanic. I think it has become a piece of history, particularly because people said it was unsinkable and it was so luxurious. It is still a romantic enigma after all these years, but I still love the sea."
a night to remember,
I am adding a link to a Titanic post on another blog by Slim Paley, I was totally amazed at the interesting letter she gave to her husband as a gift, you must read her blog post !!!
10 Facts about the Titanic that you might not know
You may already know that the Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on the night of April 14, 1912 and sunk just over two-and-a-half hours later, but do you know the following ten facts about the Titanic?
1. Cancelled Lifeboat Drill
Originally, a lifeboat drill was scheduled to take place on board the Titanic on April 14, 1912 - the day the Titanic hit the iceberg. However, for an unknown reason, Captain Smith cancelled the drill. Many believe that had the drill taken place, more lives could have been saved.
2. Only Seconds
From the time the lookouts sounded the alert, the officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to react before the Titanic hit the iceberg. In that time, First Officer Murdoch ordered "hard a-starboard" (which turned the ship to port -- left). He also ordered the engine room to put the engines in reverse. The Titanic did bank left, but it wasn't quite enough.
3. The Titanic's Newspaper
The Titanic seemed to have everything on board, including its own newspaper. The Atlantic Daily Bulletin was printed every day on board the Titanic. The newspaper included news, advertisements, stock prices, horse-racing results, society gossip, and the day's menu.
4. Lifeboats Not Full
Not only were there not enough lifeboats to save everyone on board, most of the lifeboats that were launched off the Titanic were not filled to capacity. For instance, the first lifeboat to launch, Lifeboat 7 from the starboard side) only carried 24 people, despite having a capacity of 65 (two additional people later transferred to Lifeboat 7 from Lifeboat 5). However, it was Lifeboat 1 that carried the fewest people - only seven crew and five passengers (a total of 12 people) despite having a capacity for 40.
5. Only Two Bathtubs
Although most passengers had to share bathrooms (only the two promenade suites in first class had private bathrooms), third class had it rough with only two bathtubs for more than 700 passengers.
6. Another Boat Was Closer for Rescue
When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, the Californian, rather than the Carpathia, was the closest ship; yet the Californian did not respond until it was much too late to help. At 12:45 a.m. on April 15, 1912, crew members on the Californian saw mysterious lights in the sky (the distress flares sent up from the Titanic) and woke up their captain to tell him about it. Unfortunately, the captain issued no orders. Since the ship's wireless operator had already gone to bed, the Californian was unaware of any distress signals from the Titanic until the morning, but by then the Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors. Many people believe that if the Californian had responded to the Titanic's pleas for help, many more lives could have been saved.
7. Two Dogs Rescued
With the order for women and children first into the lifeboats, plus the knowledge that there were not enough lifeboats for everyone on board the Titanic to be saved, it is a bit surprising that two dogs made it into the lifeboats. Of the nine dogs on board the Titanic, the two that were rescued were a Pomeranian and a Pekinese.
8. The Fourth Funnel
In what is now an iconic image, the side view of the Titanic clearly shows four cream and black funnels. While three of these released the steam from the boilers, the fourth was just for show. The designers thought the ship would look more impressive with four funnels rather than three.
9. A Royal Mail Ship
The R.M.S. Titanic was a Royal Mail Ship, a designation which meant the Titanic was officially responsible for delivering mail for the British postal service. On board the Titanic was a Sea Post Office with five mail clerks (two British and three American). These mail clerks were responsible for the 3,423 sacks of mail (seven million individual pieces of mail) on board the Titanic. Interestingly, although no mail has yet been recovered from the wreck of the Titanic, if it were, the U.S. Postal Service would still try to deliver it (the USPS because most of the mail was being sent to the U.S.).
10. Corpses Recovered
On April 17, 1912, the day before survivors of the Titanic disaster reached New York, the Mackay-Bennett was sent off from Halifax, Nova Scotia to search for bodies. On board the Mackay-Bennett were embalming supplies, 40 embalmers, tons of ice, and 100 coffins. Although the Mackay-Bennett found 306 bodies, 116 of these were too badly damaged to take all the way back to shore. Attempts were made to identify each body found. Additional ships were also sent out to look for bodies. In all, 328 bodies were found, but 119 of these were badly damaged and thus were buried at sea.
I hope you learned something you did not know from this blog post,I just know the loss was so great that even 100 years later the very thought of Titanic breaks everyone's heart.