TITANIC Week Day 7: Today we honor the Titanic victims and share some of their stories

TITANIC Week here on “Once Upon a Story.” Day 7: Titanic Victims’ Memorial

On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. and sank at 2:20 a.m.

Today we honor the victims.

Amen.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, no official passenger list for the Titanic exists, but the U.S. Senate Inquiry Report compiled what they considered to be the most comprehensive list of those who survived and those who didn’t. Now that you’ve lived the experience of Titanic, here are some stats to put it in perspective for you.

The numbers speak for themselves.

First cabin ladies and children had the highest survival rate with 11 lost out of 156. First class men didn’t fare well with only 54 saved out of 119; second class men had the lowest survival rate of both passengers and crew percentage-wise: only 15 out of 157 men survived. Second class women and children did better: 24 were lost out of 128 on board.

And what about third class? A total of 710 steerage passengers boarded the Titanic at Southampton, Cherbourg and Queenstown. The women and children numbered 224 and the men 476. Less than half the women and children were saved: 105 survived compared to 119 lost, while the third class men suffered great losses: 69 men saved: 417 lost to the sea.

The male members of the crew suffered the most as far as sheer numbers: only 194 male crew members survived with 682 lost. Nearly all the female crew members (20 stewardesses, 2 cashiers and one “matron”) survived: 20 out of 23 on board.

But the stats don’t tell the whole story. Here are stories of passengers and crew whom we know were lost. Some you’ll recognize because their fame precedes them, while others share the distinction of having been aboard the Titanic when she sailed.

In first class, Colonel John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest man aboard. He was worth more than a hundred million dollars. He went down with the ship after seeing his pregnant young bride into a lifeboat; Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet refused lifebelts and dressed in their formal attire for their final hour. Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Strauss of Macy’s fame stayed together until the end. The artist Francis Millet and Broadway producer Henry B. Harris were lost, along with Walter Porter, who was in charge of sales for his manufacturing company in Massachusetts, Richard Smith, who worked for a British tea firm and was considered a tea expert, and author Jacques Futrelle who had just celebrated his 37th birthday in London.

First cabin ladies lost include Miss Edith Evans, who had been warned by a fortune teller to beware of water, Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, whose father founded a law firm with the son of Abraham Lincoln, and Mrs. H.J. Allison and her young daughter Loraine—Mrs. Allison refused to leave the ship without her husband and little son Trevor (who was saved by his governess).

Second class men who didn’t survive include Jakob Birnbaum, a jeweler carrying diamonds from Antwerp; John and Sarah Chapman, a honeymoon couple from Cornwall, England; Harvey Collyer, who had his life savings on him when he died: $5,000 (his wife and daughter survived), and Reverend Robert James Bateman, father of seven children. And what about J. Dawson? A stone in the Halifax cemetery marks his grave. No, it wasn’t Jack, but Joseph Dawson, a stoker from Dublin who body was identified by his National Sailors and Firemen’s Union card.

Second class ladies lost include Henriette Yrois, traveling with filmmaker William Harbeck (he had five cameras with him)—it was speculated she was his mistress; Mary Corey and Claire Karnes (married ladies returning from India without their husbands); and Mrs. Mary Mack, a recent widow who was wearing her gold wedding ring and a fur boa when her body was recovered.

Third class or steerage male passengers who didn’t survive include James Flynn from County Mayo, Ireland—he was traveling with a group of fourteen from the same parish in the county—eleven perished; Johan Andersson, who was originally from Sweden but he had become a U.S. citizen—he was returning to Connecticut after visiting his parents; and Jovan Dimic, a farmer from Croatia on his way to Montana.

Third class ladies lost include: Cordelia Lobb, traveling with her husband—her body was identified by the initials on her wedding ring before she was buried at sea; Kate Connolly, 35, who boarded in Queenstown—ironically, another Kate Connolly, 23, also boarded in Queenstown but survived in lifeboat no. 13; and Margaret Rice with her five sons. Mrs. Rice, a widow from Ireland, had a photo of her and her boys taken before she left which has only recently resurfaced.

Crew members who lost their lives include many firemen and stokers like Henry Allen, Walter Jarvis and Patrick McGee—men who shoved coal into the Titanic’s 162 coal-burning furnaces with back-breaking work.

Stewards as well died in the sinking, including Harry Bristow and L. Mueller from Germany who was an interpreter for steerage German passengers; and waiters like Signore Angelo Mario Rotta and seamen like Frank Couch from Southampton and Harry Holman from Belfast. And stewardess Mrs. Lucy Violet Snape.

And the brave eight Titanic musicians who played until the end, including their leader, Wallace Henry Hartley. When his body was recovered, it was rumored his violin was found strapped to his body and given to his fiancée, though the authenticity of the instrument which has resurfaced hasn’t been substantiated as of this writing.

Here are stories of survival as recorded by newspaper stories or by their own hand:

First class gentlemen who survived include famous celebrities such as J. Bruce Ismay, chairman and managing director of the White Star Line (he was vilified by the press and the public after the sinking) and Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff-Gordon. He gave five pounds each to the seamen in the lifeboat with him as a good will gesture, but he was haunted by rumors for the rest of his life that he had bribed them to row away quickly from the ship to secure escape for his wife and himself. One seaman called the lifeboat carrying Sir Cosmo the “money boat” when questioned by authorities in New York.

First class gentlemen saved who were not as famous include Samuel Goldenberg, who was coming to New York to judge a dog show, Frederick Hoyt, who owned three racing yachts, Pierre Marechal, a French aviator known for sporting a monocle, and Algernon Henry Barkworth, a justice of the peace from Yorkshire, who used his fur coat and briefcase to keep himself afloat in the water before finding his way to a lifeboat.

First cabin ladies who survived include the elite society of New York like Mrs. Arthur Ryerson,  Mrs. George Widener and Lucile Polk Carter, a descendent of President James K. Polk; but none as famous Margaret Brown, labeled “unsinkable” in the years to come. Mrs. Brown insisted her friends call her “Maggie” (Molly was invented by the Hollywood press years later in the 1930s). Mrs. Brown founded the Survivors’ Committee aboard the Carpathia and is famous for standing up to the quartermaster in her lifeboat and telling him that she and the other ladies could row as well as any man.

And then there was first cabin film actress Dorothy Gibson, who was in Europe on vacation with her mother when she was called back to the U.S. by her employer to start a new film. She never expected she would later make a film called “Saved by the Titanic,” which was released a month after the sinking. In the film, she’s wearing the same dress she wore on that fateful night.

Second class gentlemen who survived include Lawrence Beesley, who studied at Cambridge and was a science teacher. He wrote the most comprehensive accounting of the sinking. Albert Caldwell was a missionary in Siam who first heard about the Titanic in Naples—he was returning home to the U.S. because of his wife’s health (she also survived along with their little boy) and Sidney Collett, who had already received two cancellations on his travel plans to study at a seminary in Missouri. The Titanic was his third choice.

Second class ladies who survived include Mrs. Jane Quick and her two little girls. She was traveling without her husband—they were reunited in Detroit after leaving the ship in one of the first lifeboats; Kate Buss from Kent, England, who traveled on the Titanic in April with her trousseau (she was to be married in San Diego) because she was superstitious about a May wedding. And Maud Sincock from Cornwall, England, who jumped into a lifeboat wearing only her nightdress and lace-up boots and no stockings.

Third class male passengers who survived had to overcome major obstacles to save their lives: Victor Sunderland, a farmer from London, couldn’t find a lifebelt anywhere and jumped overboard before swimming to overturned collapsible B. Carl Jansson from Sweden only had time to grab his watch, but not his shoes before his cabin filled with water; he jumped overboard and swam to collapsible A. Patrick O’Keefe from Ireland had a premonition about the crossing and jumped into the sea; he also made it to collapsible B.

Steerage women also had to prevail through the worst of circumstances. Those who survived include sisters Kate and Margaret Murphy from Ireland. They secretly bought tickets on the Titanic through the help of their neighbors so they could escape an overbearing brother. Sarah Roth from London, England married one week after arriving in New York on the Carpathia with fellow passenger Emily Badman as her bridesmaid. Anna Katherine Kelly barely got off the ship and suffered from shock and exposure afterward. She was released from the hospital wearing only a nightdress. She believed her rescue was a miracle and became a nun known as Sister Patrick Joseph Kelly, known affectionately as “Sister Pat.”

Crew who survived: stewardesses Mrs. Annie Martin from Guernsey and Miss Mary Gregson, who earned approximately 3 pounds 10 shillings a month (the stewardesses were married as well as single ladies). Half of the ship’s eight officers who didn’t perish either commandeered a lifeboat and found their way to a collapsible.

Seamen who survived include James Anderson from Newcastle; Edward Brown, a first class steward from Wales, who was washed overboard trying to launch collapsible A and found his way to the lifeboat. Fireman John Pearce from Southampton survived in lifeboat 15. The five postal clerks perished, but all six lookouts survived that fateful night.

And finally, we all grieve at the thought of so many lives taken too soon, but perhaps more so the 55 children who died on the Titanic. Nothing has garnered more interest at the cemetery in Halifax than the unknown child, identified in 2011 as Sidney Godwin, nineteen months old. Sidney’s entire family (mother and father and five siblings) all died in the sinking.

The Godwin family was traveling third class from England for a better life in Niagara Falls. Only through the heartfelt intentions of a Halifax police sergeant to give the tiny leather shoes to the child’s family were they saved. No one claimed them and the shoes remained in his drawer for years. When he died, his family donated them to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, part of the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax. With the aid of modern DNA technology, the shoes solved the mystery of the unknown child. Today those shoes sit near the gloves of a millionaire in the Titanic exhibit in the museum.

I pray you have embraced all I wanted to share with you about the Titanic, felt the joy and pain of the passengers and crew, and come away with a better understanding of the tragedy.

I pray also that when someone mentions “Titanic,” what we’ve discussed here will ring in your ears and you’ll be able to tell them the real story of what happened on that starry night, April 15, 1912.

Because you’ve been there.

Jina

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Check out my Titanic novel, Titanic Rhapsody,” about a poor Irish girl who escapes the law for a crime she didn’t commit in a grand house in Ireland and becomes a countess aboard the Titanic…

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon KINDLE & KINDLE UNLIMITED

Titanic Rhapsody is available on Amazon.

My Titanic romance “Titanic Rhapsody” is available in the US and the United Kingdom:

US: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://a.co/1wSE0rb

UK: Amazon Kindle and Amazon KU http://amzn.eu/75Lw9NS

 


Titanic Rhapsody from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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Posted on April 15, 2018, in 1912, Amazon, books, drama, heroine, historical, Ireland, Irish, Kindle, romance, sexy, Titanic, travel, Uncategorized, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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