Relato de testigo presencial del superviviente del Titanic

Relato de testigo presencial del superviviente del Titanic

En 1935, un superviviente del Titanic relata su experiencia a bordo del barco condenado. En su viaje inaugural desde Southampton, Inglaterra, a la ciudad de Nueva York, el RMS Titanic chocó contra un iceberg y se hundió frente a la costa de Terranova el 15 de abril de 1912, matando a más de 1.500 pasajeros.


El Titanic, un siglo después

Una M escalofrianteust-Read Acuenta

Jack Thayer era un pasajero de primera clase de 17 años en el RMS Titánico, viajando con sus padres en esa fatídica noche del 15 de abril de 1912. Sobrevivió milagrosamente después de una lucha épica en las gélidas aguas. Su madre pudo abordar uno de los botes salvavidas pero, lamentablemente, su padre, John Thayer, falleció. Jack se graduó de la Universidad de Pensilvania cuatro años después. En 1940, describió sus desgarradoras experiencias en el famoso barco en un libro autoeditado, del cual se imprimieron 500 copias para familiares y amigos. El oceanógrafo Robert Ballard lo utilizó para determinar la ubicación del Titánico y demostró que el barco se partió por la mitad al hundirse, contrariamente a la creencia popular.

Durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, los dos hijos de Jack se alistaron en las fuerzas armadas. Edward, el mayor, murió en 1943 en la Guerra del Pacífico. Cuando la noticia llegó a Thayer, se deprimió mucho y se suicidó el 20 de septiembre de 1945 a la edad de 50 años, la misma edad que su padre cuando murió en el RMS. Titánico.

Thayer & # 8217s dramático relato de primera mano sobre el RMS Titánico había sido olvidado durante décadas hasta hace poco, después de que el editor de la Revisión de París y un pariente lejano de los Thayer.

Un cuento de superviviente & # 8217s, que destaca por su poder puro y su autenticidad desgarradora, será publicado en mayo de 2012 por Thornwillow Press para conmemorar el centenario del hundimiento del famoso barco.

The NY Post publicó el 8 de abril de 2012 un extracto de la inimaginable historia de Thayer & # 8217:

El RMS Titanic de la White Star Line, el barco más grande que el mundo había conocido, zarpó de Southampton en su viaje inaugural a Nueva York, el 10 de abril de 1912. Fue construido por los señores Harland y Wolff, en Belfast. Era una embarcación de acero fabricada de gigantescas dimensiones, registrada en Liverpool, su tonelaje bruto era de 46,328 toneladas, su eslora total era de 882 pies, con una manga de 92 pies y una profundidad de 65 pies. La distancia desde la quilla hasta la parte superior de los embudos era de 175 pies.

Tenía un doble fondo que se extendía a todo lo largo del barco, con un espacio de cinco a seis pies entre las placas interior y exterior, y estaba dividido en 16 compartimentos herméticos, con acceso a cada compartimento a través de puertas herméticas. El timón solo pesaba 100 toneladas. Fue impulsada por tres tornillos enormes, el central pesaba 22 toneladas, los otros dos 38 toneladas cada uno, y era capaz de hacer 23 nudos. La última palabra en lujo, se pensó que era insumergible.

El capitán EJ Smith, su comandante, comodoro de la flota de White Star Line, estaba en su último viaje de ida y vuelta desde Southampton, antes de tener que retirarse por edad. En sus 38 años de servicio nunca había tenido un accidente grave. En este viaje tuvo a sus órdenes una espléndida dotación de oficiales y hombres.

El Titanic tenía un certificado de pasajero para llevar a 3.547 pasajeros y tripulación. Llevaba 16 botes salvavidas y cuatro botes plegables Engelhart, todos los cuales tenían una capacidad de carga total de 1,167 personas, o aproximadamente de 60 a 65 en cada bote. Llevaba 3.560 cinturones salvavidas o su equivalente.

En este viaje inaugural, el barco transportaba un total de 2.208 personas, de las cuales 1.316 eran pasajeros y 892 tripulantes. Había 332 pasajeros de primera clase, 277 pasajeros de segunda clase y 709 pasajeros de tercera clase. Tengo en mi caja de seguridad una lista original de pasajeros de primera clase. Se lo llevó del barco en el bolsillo del abrigo que llevaba mi madre.

Mi padre, John B. Thayer, segundo vicepresidente del ferrocarril de Pensilvania, mi madre, Mirian Longstreth Morris Thayer, la doncella de mi madre, Margaret Fleming, y yo estábamos todos en un grupo que navegaba en primera clase desde Southampton.

Apenas habíamos comenzado a bajar por el estrecho canal, y estábamos comenzando a avanzar por nuestras propias fuerzas, cuando pasamos el transatlántico estadounidense USS St. Paul, amarrado al RMS Oceanic que se encontraba junto al muelle. La succión creada por nuestra hélice de babor, cuando hicimos un giro en el canal estrecho, rompió los fuertes cables que la amarraban al Oceanic, lo que hizo que su popa se balanceara hacia nosotros a un ritmo rápido. Parecía que seguramente habría una colisión. Su popa no podía estar a más de uno o dos metros de nuestro lado. Casi nos golpea. Afortunadamente, el esfuerzo combinado de varios tirones, que rápidamente se habían hecho rápidos hacia ella, hizo retroceder su popa.

Esta colisión evitada por poco fue considerada un mal presagio por todos aquellos acostumbrados al mar.

Llamamos a Cherburgo y desde allí nos dirigimos a Queenstown. Salimos de Queenstown a la 1:30 de la tarde del jueves 11 de abril. El clima era agradable y despejado, el barco era suntuoso y la comida deliciosa. Casi todo el mundo contaba los días que faltan para ver la Estatua de la Libertad.

Ocupé un camarote contiguo al de mi padre y mi madre en el lado de babor de la cubierta “C” y, no hace falta decirlo, con 17 años, estaba en todo el barco.

El domingo 14 de abril amaneció brillante y despejado. Parecía que nos esperaba otro día muy agradable. Pasé la mayor parte de ese día caminando por las cubiertas con mi madre y mi padre. Tuvimos charlas breves con muchos de los otros paseantes, entre los que recuerdo particularmente a J. Bruce Ismay, presidente de la junta y director gerente de Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited, propietarios de White Star Line Thomas Andrews, uno de los barcos diseñadores y Charles M. Hays, quien fue presidente de Grand Trunk Railway de Canadá, con quienes pasamos bastante tiempo.

Se volvió notablemente más frío a medida que avanzaba la tarde. Recuerdo al Sr. Ismay mostrándonos un cable sobre la presencia de hielo y comentando que no llegaríamos a esa posición hasta las 9 pm. Fuimos a nuestros camarotes alrededor de las 6:30 para vestirnos para la cena. Mi padre y mi madre fueron invitados a cenar esa noche, así que cené solo en nuestra mesa habitual.

Después de la cena, estaba disfrutando de una taza de café, cuando se acercó un hombre de unos 28 o 30 años y se presentó como Milton C. Long, hijo del juez Charles M. Long, de Springfield, Massachusetts. Viajaba solo. Hablamos juntos durante una hora más o menos. Después me puse un abrigo y di algunas vueltas por la terraza.

Se había vuelto mucho más frío. Fue una noche brillante y estrellada. No había luna y nunca había visto las estrellas brillar más, parecían sobresalir del cielo, brillando como diamantes tallados. Una neblina muy ligera, apenas perceptible, se cernía sobre el agua. He pasado mucho tiempo en el océano, sin embargo, nunca he visto el mar más suave que esa noche, era como un estanque de molino, y tenía un aspecto tan inocente como el gran barco que lo atravesaba silenciosamente.

Subí a la cubierta del barco, estaba desierta y solitaria. El viento silbaba a través de los tirantes y un humo negruzco salía de los tres embudos de proa. El cuarto embudo era un maniquí para fines de ventilación. Era el tipo de noche que hacía que uno se sintiera feliz de estar vivo.

A eso de las 11 bajé a mi camarote. Después de una breve conversación con mi padre y mi madre, y de decirles buenas noches, entré en mi habitación para ponerme el pijama esperando tener otra noche de descanso placentera como las cuatro anteriores.

El barco era tan grande y extenso que todo lo que puedo decir sobre la tragedia es solo una pequeña parte de todo lo que realmente ocurrió. Trataré de contar todo lo que realmente vi u escuché, o escuché de otros y luego verifiqué.

Íbamos navegando a 22 o 23 nudos, sin reducir la velocidad en absoluto, a pesar de los muchos avisos de presencia de hielo, que habían llegado de otros barcos durante la tarde y la noche.

Estábamos fuera para una carrera récord.

Les había llamado "Buenas noches" a mi padre ya mi madre en la habitación de al lado. Para tomar mucho aire, había entreabierto el puerto y la brisa entraba con un silbido silencioso.

Había la pulsación rítmica constante de los motores y los tornillos, cuya sensación y agitación se convierte en una segunda naturaleza para uno, después de unas pocas horas en el mar. Era una buena noche para dormir, y con el aire y el ejercicio del día, tenía sueño.

Di cuerda a mi reloj - eran las 11:45 pm - y estaba a punto de meterme en la cama cuando pareció balancearme levemente. Inmediatamente me di cuenta de que el barco se había desviado a babor como si la hubieran empujado suavemente. Si hubiera tenido un vaso lleno de agua en la mano, no se hubiera derramado ni una gota, el impacto fue tan leve.

Casi instantáneamente los motores se detuvieron.

El silencio repentino fue alarmante e inquietante. Como el silencio tenue en un coche cama, en una parada, después de una carrera continua. Ni un sonido, excepto el silbido de la brisa a través de la portilla entreabierta. Luego se oyó el ruido distante de pies corriendo y voces apagadas, mientras varias personas se apresuraban por el pasillo. Muy pronto, los motores volvieron a ponerse en marcha, lentamente, no con la vibración brillante a la que estábamos acostumbrados, sino como si estuvieran cansados. Después de muy pocas revoluciones se detuvieron nuevamente.

Me apresuré a ponerme mi pesado abrigo y me puse mis pantuflas. Todo emocionado, pero sin pensar que había ocurrido nada serio, llamé a mi padre y a mi madre para decirles que "iba a subir a cubierta para ver la diversión". Padre dijo que se pondría la ropa y vendría enseguida y se uniría a mí. Hacía mucho frío.

Caminé por la terraza mirando por el costado de vez en cuando. Por lo que pude ver, no había nada que ver, excepto algo esparcido en la cubierta del pozo hacia adelante, que luego supe que era hielo. No había señales de ningún gran iceberg.

Solo había dos o tres personas en cubierta cuando llegué, pero muchas se reunieron rápidamente. Mi padre se unió a mí muy pronto. Él y yo nos movimos por la cubierta tratando de descubrir qué había sucedido y finalmente encontramos a uno de los tripulantes que nos dijo que habíamos chocado con un iceberg, que trató de señalarnos, ya que posiblemente nuestros ojos no estaban acostumbrados a la oscuridad después de llegar. fuera del barco iluminado.

El barco tomó una escora muy leve a estribor. No lo sabíamos por el momento, pero supimos después que el iceberg se había abierto probablemente cuatro de sus compartimentos delanteros más grandes en el lado de estribor y también que si hubiéramos golpeado la cabeza de hielo, en lugar de intentarlo demasiado tarde. para evitarlo, con toda probabilidad el barco habría sobrevivido a la colisión.

Aproximadamente 15 minutos después de la colisión, desarrolló una escora a babor y estaba claramente por la cabeza.

Aquí estábamos a 800 millas de Nueva York, frente a los Grandes Bancos, nuestra posición latitud 41 grados, 46 minutos norte, longitud 50 grados, 14 minutos oeste. Nadie pensó todavía en ningún problema grave. El barco era insumergible.

Ahora era poco después de la medianoche. Mi padre y yo pasamos de la cubierta fría al pasillo o al salón. Había bastantes personas de pie alrededor preguntándose unos a otros de una manera aturdida. Nadie parecía saber qué hacer a continuación.

Al pasar, vimos al señor Ismay, al señor Andrews y a algunos de los oficiales del barco. El Sr. Andrews nos dijo que no le dio al barco más de una hora de vida. Apenas podíamos creerlo y, sin embargo, si él lo decía, debía ser verdad. Nadie estaba mejor calificado para saberlo.

Todavía estaba vestida con pijama y abrigo. Aproximadamente a las 12:15 am. los mayordomos pasaron la voz para que todos se vistieran completamente y se pusieran los salvavidas, que estaban en cada camarote. Bajamos de inmediato y encontramos a mi madre y su doncella completamente vestidas. Me apresuré a ponerme la ropa: un cálido traje de tweed verdoso y un chaleco con otro chaleco de mohair debajo del abrigo. Todos nos pusimos salvavidas, que eran chalecos de corcho muy grandes y gruesos. Encima de estos ponemos nuestros abrigos.

Luego nos apresuramos a subir al salón en la cubierta “A”, que ahora estaba abarrotada de gente, algunos de pie, otros apurados, algunos empujándose hacia la cubierta. Mi amigo Milton Long vino en ese momento y preguntó si podía quedarse con nosotros. Hubo mucho ruido. La banda estaba tocando melodías animadas sin aparentemente recibir mucha atención de la preocupada y conmovedora audiencia.

Todos salimos a la cubierta "A", tratando de encontrar a dónde se suponía que debíamos ir. Luego estaban destapando los botes y haciendo preparativos para sacarlos. Todo estaba bastante ordenado y, al menos, la tripulación parecía saber lo que estaban haciendo.

Ahora eran alrededor de las 12:45 am. El ruido era tremendo. El rugido profundo y vibrante del vapor de escape que sale a través de las válvulas de seguridad era ensordecedor, además de que habían comenzado a lanzar cohetes. Cada vez hubo más acción. Después de estar allí durante unos minutos, hablando por encima del estruendo, tratando de determinar qué deberíamos hacer a continuación, finalmente decidimos volver al pasillo lleno de gente donde hacía calor.

Poco después escuchamos a los comisarios pasar la palabra "todas las mujeres a babor". Luego nos despedimos de mi madre en lo alto de las escaleras en la cubierta "A" y ella y la criada salieron al lado de babor de esa cubierta, supuestamente para subirse a un bote salvavidas. Padre y yo salimos por el lado de estribor, viendo lo que pasaba a nuestro alrededor. Parecía que siempre estábamos esperando órdenes y nunca llegaban órdenes. Nadie sabía la posición de su bote, ya que no se había realizado ningún ejercicio de bote salvavidas. Los hombres aún no habían comenzado a arriar ninguno de los botes salvavidas de proa de estribor, de los cuales había cuatro. El ruido continuó. La cubierta parecía estar bien iluminada.

La gente como nosotros simplemente estábamos parados, fuera del camino. Los fogoneros, los mayordomos del comedor y algunos otros miembros de la tripulación estaban alineados, esperando órdenes. Los pasajeros de segunda y tercera clase estaban llegando a la cubierta desde la popa, aumentando la ya numerosa multitud.

Finalmente pensamos que sería mejor preguntar si mamá había podido conseguir un bote. Salimos al vestíbulo y nos encontramos con el mayordomo jefe del comedor. Nos dijo que acababa de ver a mi madre y que aún no la habían subido a un bote. La encontramos y nos dijeron que estaban cargando los botes de proa en el costado de babor desde la cubierta de abajo. El barco tenía una escora considerable a babor, lo que dejaba un gran espacio entre el costado del barco y los botes salvavidas, balanceándose sobre el agua, por lo que la tripulación estiró sillas de vapor dobladas a lo largo del espacio, sobre las cuales se ayudó a las personas a entrar en el barco. barcos. Procedimos a la cubierta de abajo. Padre, madre y la criada se adelantaron a Long y a mí.

El salón en la cubierta "B" estaba lleno de una multitud, y cuando atravesamos la puerta hacia la cubierta, la gente se interpuso entre mi padre y mi madre y Long y yo. Long y yo no pudimos ponernos al día y estábamos completamente separados de ellos. Nunca volví a ver a mi padre.

Los buscamos y los seguimos hasta donde se estaban cargando los barcos del puerto, pero no pudimos ver nada ni del padre ni de la madre. Creyendo plenamente que ambos habían conseguido subir a un barco, Long y yo volvimos a través del salón al lado de estribor, pensando en lo que deberíamos hacer y sin buscar más a mi padre.

Ahora debe haber sido alrededor de la 1:25 am. El barco estaba hundido por la cabeza con agua cubriendo completamente su proa. Poco a poco salió de su escora a babor y, en todo caso, tenía una ligera escora a estribor. La tripulación había comenzado a cargar y bajar los botes de estribor de proa. Estos podían contener a más de 60 personas, pero los oficiales tenían miedo de cargarlos al máximo de su capacidad, mientras estaban suspendidos por caídas, proa y popa, a 60 pies sobre el agua. Es posible que se hayan doblado o roto por las cataratas.

Los botes salvavidas de popa, cuatro a babor y cuatro a estribor, ya habían abandonado el barco. Uno de los primeros barcos en partir transportaba solo a 12 personas, Sir Cosmo y Lady Duff Gordon, y otras 10. La mayoría de los barcos fueron cargados con alrededor de 40 a 45, con la excepción de los últimos en irse, que se cargaron a plena capacidad.

Se podían ver los botes que ya habían abandonado el barco, a unos quinientos o seiscientos metros.

Aparentemente, solo había una luz, alrededor de la cual la mayoría de ellos se congregaron. Eran claramente visibles y parecían muy seguros en ese mar en calma.

En cubierta, el vapor de escape seguía rugiendo. Las luces seguían siendo fuertes. La banda, con los salvavidas puestos, seguía tocando. La multitud estaba bastante ordenada. Nuestra propia situación era demasiado urgente, la escena demasiado caleidoscópica para que yo pudiera retener una imagen detallada de la conducta individual.

Vi a un hombre entrar por la puerta y salir a la terraza con una botella llena de ginebra de Gordon. Se lo llevó a la boca y prácticamente lo vació. Si alguna vez salgo vivo de esto, pensé, hay un hombre al que nunca volveré a ver.

Al parecer, se abrió camino hasta uno de los dos últimos botes, porque fue uno de los primeros hombres que reconocí al llegar a la cubierta del RMS Carpathia. Alguien me dijo después que era senador estatal o congresista de Virginia o Virginia Occidental.

Hubo algunos disturbios en la carga de los dos últimos botes de estribor de proa. Una gran multitud de hombres se apresuraba a entrar en ellos. Por lo que pude ver, no había mujeres alrededor. Vi a Ismay, que había estado ayudando en la carga del último bote, abrirse camino hacia él. Realmente era cada uno para sí mismo.

Muchos miembros de la tripulación y los hombres de la bodega estaban alineados, aparentemente sin pensar en intentar subir a un bote sin órdenes. Sobrecargo H.W. McElroy, un hombre tan valiente y excelente como siempre, estaba de pie en el penúltimo bote, cargándolo. Dos hombres, creo que eran camareros del comedor, bajaron al barco desde la cubierta superior. Mientras saltaban, disparó dos veces al aire. No creo que los golpearan, pero los echaron rápidamente. McElroy no tomó un bote y no se salvó. Debo decir que todo esto tuvo lugar en la cubierta "A", justo debajo de la cubierta del barco.

Long y yo debatimos si deberíamos o no abrirnos camino en uno de los dos últimos barcos. Casi pudimos ver el barco bajando lentamente por la cabeza. Había tanta confusión que no pensamos que llegarían al agua con el lado correcto hacia arriba y decidimos no intentarlo. No sé qué pensé que podría pasar, pero no habíamos perdido la esperanza.

Nos inclinamos hacia el costado para ver cómo bajaban el penúltimo bote. Fue terrible. Aparentemente, durante algunos segundos, no hubo nadie arriba dirigiendo el descenso de la proa y las caídas de popa para mantenerla nivelada. La proa se bajó tan rápido que la gente casi fue arrojada al agua. Creo que si Long y yo, y otros, no hubiéramos gritado: "Sostenga el arco", todos se habrían derramado. Finalmente, en unos minutos, llegó al agua sin problemas.

Debía de ser alrededor de la 1:50 a. M. Y, por lo que sabíamos, el último barco se había ido. No sabíamos que el segundo oficial Charles Herbert Lightoller y algunos miembros de la tripulación estaban trabajando desesperadamente en la parte superior de una de las casas de cubierta para liberar y lanzar uno de los cuatro botes salvavidas plegables de Engelhart. Estos barcos tenían fuertes fondos de madera con lados que se podían levantar, y alrededor del casco había una defensa de corcho cubierta de lona con una superficie curva.

Discutí con Long sobre nuestras posibilidades. Quería saltar y atrapar las caídas de los botes salvavidas vacíos, que se balanceaban libremente hasta el borde del agua, con la idea de deslizarme hacia abajo y nadar hacia los botes parcialmente llenos que estaban en la distancia, porque podía nadar bien. De esta manera estaríamos lejos de la multitud, y lejos de la succión del barco cuando finalmente se hundiera.

Todavía estábamos 50 o 60 pies por encima del agua. No podíamos simplemente saltar, porque podríamos chocar con los escombros o una silla de vapor y quedar inconscientes. Él argumentó en contra y me disuadió de hacerlo. Gracias al cielo que lo hizo. La temperatura del agua era de 28 grados Fahrenheit. Cuatro grados bajo cero.

Luego subimos por una escalera protegida hacia el lado de estribor de la cubierta del barco. Había multitud de personas allí. Todos parecían mantenerse lo más lejos posible de la borda del barco. Nos quedamos allí hablando desde las 2 am en adelante. Enviamos mensajes a través de los demás a nuestras familias. A veces estábamos pensativos y silenciosos, pero el ruido que nos rodeaba no cesaba.

¡Tantos pensamientos pasaron tan rápido por mi mente! Pensé en todos los buenos momentos que había pasado, y en todos los placeres futuros que nunca disfrutaría de mi padre y madre de mis hermanas y hermano. Me miré como si viniera de un lugar lejano. Sinceramente me compadecí de mí mismo. Parecía tan innecesario, pero aún teníamos una oportunidad, si tan solo pudiéramos mantenernos alejados de la multitud y la succión del barco que se hunde.

Ojalá hubiera seguido buscando a mi padre. Debería haberme dado cuenta de que no habría tomado un barco y me habría dejado atrás. Más tarde escuché de mi amigo, Richard Norris Williams, el tenista, que su padre y el mío estaban parados en un grupo formado por el Sr. George D. Widener y su hijo Harry, junto con algunos otros. Estaban cerca debajo del segundo embudo, que estaba muy cerca de donde Long y yo estábamos.

Ahora eran alrededor de las 2:15 am. Pudimos ver el agua subiendo por la cubierta, mientras el barco bajaba por la cabeza a un ritmo bastante rápido. El agua llegaba hasta el puente. Debe haber más de 60 pies encima de la proa. A medida que el agua avanzaba a lo largo de la cubierta, la multitud se movía gradualmente con ella, siempre empujando hacia la popa flotante y manteniéndose alejada de la borda del barco lo más lejos que podían.

Éramos una masa de humanidad desesperada y aturdida, intentando, como el Todopoderoso y la Naturaleza nos hicieron, mantener nuestro último aliento hasta el último momento posible. El rugido del vapor de escape cesó repentinamente, produciendo un gran silencio, a pesar de muchos ruidos mezclados de apresurados esfuerzos humanos y angustia. Según recuerdo, las luces seguían encendidas, incluso entonces. Parecía haber un resplandor bastante rojizo, pero era una luz turbia, con personas y objetos distantes vagamente delineados.

Las estrellas brillaban y el agua aceitosa. De vez en cuando se había producido un ruido sordo o una explosión amortiguada dentro de la nave. Ahora, sin previo aviso, pareció comenzar a avanzar, moviéndose hacia adelante y hacia el agua en un ángulo de unos 15 grados. Este movimiento, con el agua corriendo hacia nosotros, fue acompañado por un rugido retumbante, mezclado con explosiones más amortiguadas.

Era como estar parado debajo de un puente ferroviario de acero mientras un tren expreso pasa por encima, mezclado con el ruido de una fábrica de acero prensado y la rotura al por mayor de porcelana.

Long y yo estábamos de pie junto a la barandilla de estribor, más o menos a la altura del segundo embudo. Nuestro principal pensamiento era mantenernos alejados de la multitud y la succión. En la barandilla estábamos completamente libres de la multitud. Anteriormente habíamos decidido saltar al agua antes de que ella se hundiera, para poder nadar a cierta distancia y evitar lo que pensamos que sería una succión excelente. Aún así, no queríamos saltar antes de que el lugar donde estábamos parados estuviera solo a unos pocos metros sobre el agua, porque podríamos resultar heridos y no poder nadar.

No teníamos tiempo para pensar ahora, solo para actuar. Nos dimos la mano y nos deseamos suerte. Le dije: "Adelante, estaré contigo". Me quité el abrigo mientras él trepaba por la barandilla y se deslizaba hacia el barco. Diez segundos después me senté en la barandilla. Me enfrenté, y con un empujón de mis brazos y manos, salté al agua tan lejos del barco como pude. Cuando saltamos, estábamos a solo 12 o 15 pies por encima del agua.

Nunca volví a ver a Long. Su cuerpo fue recuperado más tarde. Me temo que los pocos segundos que transcurrieron entre nuestra partida, significaron la diferencia entre ser absorbido por la cubierta de abajo, como creo que fue, o empujado por la lluvia. Me empujaron hacia afuera y luego me succionaron.

El frío era terrible. El impacto del agua me dejó sin aliento. Bajé y bajé, girando en todas direcciones. Nadando tan fuerte como pude en la dirección que pensaba que estaba lejos del barco, finalmente salí con los pulmones a punto de estallar, pero sin haber tomado agua. El barco estaba frente a mí, a 40 metros de distancia. Cuánto tiempo había estado nadando bajo el agua, no lo sé. Quizás un minuto o menos. Por cierto, mi reloj se detuvo a las 2:22 am.

El barco parecía estar rodeado por un resplandor y sobresalía de la noche como si estuviera en llamas. Yo la miré. No sé por qué no seguí nadando. Fascinado, parecía atado al lugar. Ya estaba cansado por el frío y la lucha, aunque el salvavidas me mantuvo la cabeza y los hombros por encima del agua.

Continuó haciendo el mismo progreso que cuando la dejé. El agua estaba sobre la base del primer embudo. La masa de gente a bordo retrocedía, siempre hacia la popa flotante. El estruendo y el rugido continuaron, con roturas y desgarros aún más fuertes de calderas y motores de sus camas.

De repente, toda la superestructura del barco pareció partirse, bastante hacia la mitad del barco, y volar o doblar hacia arriba. El segundo embudo, lo suficientemente grande como para que pasaran dos automóviles uno al lado del otro, pareció despegar, emitiendo una nube de chispas. Parecía como si fuera a caer encima de mí. Me falló por solo 20 o 30 pies. La succión me arrastró hacia abajo y hacia abajo, luchando y nadando, prácticamente agotado.

Cuando finalmente llegué a la superficie, me tapé la cabeza con la mano para apartar cualquier obstáculo. Mi mano chocó contra algo liso y firme con forma redondeada. Miré hacia arriba y me di cuenta de que era el guardabarros de corcho de uno de los botes salvavidas plegables, que flotaba en el agua con el fondo hacia arriba. Unos cuatro o cinco hombres se aferraban a su trasero. Me levanté lo más que pude, casi exhausto, pero no pude levantar las piernas. Les pedí que me ayudaran a levantar la mano, lo que hicieron de buena gana.

Sentado en cuclillas y aferrado a mi vida, estaba de nuevo frente al Titanic.

Parecía que habían pasado horas desde que dejé el barco, pero probablemente no fueron más de cuatro minutos, si es que tanto. Allí estaba la masa gigantesca, a unos 50 o 60 metros de distancia. El movimiento hacia adelante se había detenido. Ella estaba girando sobre un punto justo a popa de la mitad del barco. Su popa se elevaba gradualmente en el aire, aparentemente sin prisa, solo lenta y deliberadamente. El último embudo estaba sobre la superficie del agua. Fue el embudo falso, y no creo que se haya caído.

Su cubierta estaba ligeramente vuelta hacia nosotros. Pudimos ver grupos de las casi 1500 personas que todavía estaban a bordo, aferrándose en racimos o racimos, como enjambres de abejas solo para caer en masas, parejas o individualmente, mientras la gran parte posterior del barco, 250 pies de él, se elevaba hacia el cielo. hasta que alcanzó un ángulo de 65 o 70 grados.

Aquí pareció detenerse, y simplemente colgar, durante lo que parecieron minutos. Poco a poco, apartó la cubierta de nosotros, como para ocultarnos el espantoso espectáculo.

Teníamos un remo en nuestro bote volcado. A pesar de que varios hombres lo trabajaban, en medio de nuestros gritos y oraciones, fuimos absorbidos gradualmente hacia la gran masa pivotante. Miré hacia arriba, estábamos justo debajo de las tres enormes hélices.

Por un instante, pensé que seguramente caerían encima de nosotros. Luego, con el ruido amortiguado del estallido de sus últimos mamparos galantes, se deslizó silenciosamente lejos de nosotros hacia el mar.

No hubo succión final aparente, y prácticamente no pudimos ver restos del naufragio.

No recuerdo todas las conversaciones y llamadas alocadas que se estaban produciendo en nuestro barco, pero hubo un suspiro o sollozo concertado cuando ella desapareció de la vista.

Probablemente pasó un minuto con un silencio y un silencio casi muertos. Luego, una llamada individual para pedir ayuda, desde aquí, desde allí gradualmente se hincha hasta convertirse en un volumen compuesto de un largo y continuo canto de lamentos, de los 1.500 que hay en el agua a nuestro alrededor. Sonaba como langostas en una noche de verano, en los bosques de Pensilvania.

Este terrible llanto continuo duró 20 o 30 minutos, desapareciendo gradualmente, ya que uno tras otro ya no podía soportar el frío y la exposición. Prácticamente nadie se ahogó, ya que no se encontró agua en los pulmones de los recuperados posteriormente. Todos llevaban un salvavidas.

Los botes salvavidas parcialmente llenos que estaban esperando, a solo unos cientos de metros de distancia, nunca regresaron. Por qué diablos no regresaron es un misterio.

¿Cómo podría un ser humano dejar de prestar atención a esos gritos? Temían que los barcos fueran inundados por personas en el agua.

La parte más desgarradora de toda la tragedia fue el fracaso, justo después del hundimiento del Titanic, de esos barcos que estaban parcialmente cargados, para recoger a los pobres en el agua. Allí estaban, a sólo cuatrocientos o quinientos metros de distancia, escuchando los gritos, y todavía no volvían. Si se hubieran dado la vuelta, se habrían salvado varios cientos más. Nadie puede explicarlo. No se explicó satisfactoriamente en ninguna investigación. Fue solo uno de los muchos “actos de Dios” que atravesaron todo el desastre.

Durante este tiempo, más y más intentaban subir a bordo del fondo de nuestro bote volcado. Los ayudamos hasta que estuvimos empacados como sardinas. Luego, por instinto de conservación, tuvimos que rechazar algunos. Finalmente éramos veintiocho en total a bordo. Estábamos muy hundidos en el agua. El agua se había endurecido un poco y ocasionalmente nos bañaba. Las estrellas aún brillaban intensamente.

Estábamos de pie, sentados, arrodillados, acostados, en todas las posiciones imaginables, con el fin de sujetar un poco la superposición de media pulgada de la tabla del barco, que era el único medio de evitar resbalarnos de la superficie resbaladiza hacia esa superficie helada. agua.

Estaba arrodillado. Un hombre estaba arrodillado sobre mis piernas con sus manos sobre mis hombros y, a su vez, alguien estaba sobre él. Una vez que obtuvimos nuestra posición original no pudimos movernos. El asistente del operador inalámbrico, Harold Bride, estaba tendido frente a mí, con las piernas en el agua y los pies atascados contra el guardabarros de corcho, que estaba a unos sesenta centímetros bajo el agua.

Rezamos y cantamos himnos. Muchos de los hombres parecían conocerse íntimamente. Se hicieron preguntas y respuestas: ¿quién estaba a bordo, quién se perdió o qué se les había visto hacer? Una llamada que llegó fue: “¿Está el jefe a bordo? No sé si se referían al señor Wilde, al oficial en jefe, al ingeniero en jefe o al capitán Smith. Sé que uno de los anillos de vida circulares del puente estaba allí cuando bajamos por la mañana. Puede ser que el Capitán Smith estuvo a bordo con nosotros durante un tiempo. Nadie sabía dónde estaba el "Jefe".

Aproximadamente 20 de todo nuestro grupo eran fogoneros. Cómo resistieron la temperatura helada después del calor al que estaban acostumbrados, es extraordinario, pero no hubo ningún caso de enfermedad resultante.

Seguramente eran un grupo mugriento, enjuto, desaliñado y de aspecto duro. Bajo la superficie eran seres humanos valientes, con corazones generosos y caritativos.

El segundo oficial Lightoller, descubrí por la mañana, estaba a bordo. Él y algunos miembros de la tripulación estaban tratando de botar este bote antes de que el Titanic se hundiera. They were unsuccessful, but she floated off the deck covered with people, all of whom were shortly after washed off. Lightoller himself was washed off and sucked up against one of the ventilator grills. He had a terrific struggle but finally again was able to reach the boat.

In August 1914, just as war declared, I sailed on the RMS Oceanic, from New York, to play cricket in and around London, on a Merion Cricket Club team. Lightoller was either chief officer or first officer of the Oceanic, I am not certain which. We again went over our experiences and checked our ideas of just what had happened. We agreed on almost everything, with the exception of the splitting or bending of the ship. He did not think it broke at all.

Only four of us were passengers: Col. Archibald Gracie, Washington, DC A.H. Barkworth, East Riding, Yorkshire, England W.J. Mellers, Chelsea, London, England and myself.

Harold Bride helped greatly to keep our hopes up. He told us repeatedly which ships had answered his “CQD” (at that time the Morse Code for help), and just how soon we might expect to sight them. He said time and time again, in answer to despairing doubters, “The Carpathia is coming up as fast as she can. I gave her our position. There is no mistake. We should see her lights at about 4 or a little after.”

During all this time nobody dared to move, for we did not know at what moment our perilous support might over-turn, throwing us all into the sea. The buoyant air was gradually leaking from under the boat, lowering us further and further into the water.

Sure enough, shortly before 4 o’clock we saw the mast head light of the Carpathia come over the horizon and creep toward us. We gave a thankful cheer. She came up slowly, oh so slowly. Indeed she seemed to wait without getting any nearer. We thought hours and hours dragged by as she stood off in the distance. We had been trying all night to hail our other lifeboats. They did not hear us or would not answer. We knew they had plenty of room to take us aboard, if we could only make them realize our predicament.

The Carpathia, waiting for a little more light, was slowly coming up on the boats and was picking them up. With the dawn breaking, we could see them being hoisted from the water. For us, afraid we might overturn any minute, the suspense was terrible.

The long hoped-for dawn actually broke, and with it a breeze came up, making our raft rock more and more. The air under us escaped at a more rapid rate, lowering us still further into the water. We had visions of sinking before the help so near at hand could reach us.

With daylight we could see what we were doing and took courage to move, stretch and untangle ourselves.

One by one, those on top of the freezing group stood up, until all of us who could stand were on our feet, with the exception of poor Bride, who could not bear his weight on his, but could only pull his feet and legs slightly out of the water. The waves washed over the upturned bottom more and more, as we sank lower and the water became rougher. To keep our buoyancy, we tried to offset the roll by leaning all together first to one side and then to the other.

About 6:30, after continued and desperate calling, we attracted the attention of the other lifeboats. Two of them finally realized the position we were in and drew toward us. Lightoller had found his whistle, and more because of it than our hoarse shouts, their attention was attracted.

It took them ages to cover the three or four hundred yards between us. As they approached, we could see that so few men were in them that some of the oars were being pulled by women. In neither of them was much room for extra passengers, for they were two of the very few boats to be loaded to near capacity. The first took off half of us.

My Mother was in this boat, having rowed most of the night. She says she thought she recognized me. I did not see her. The other boat took aboard the rest of us. We had to lift Harold Bride. He was in a bad way and, I think, would have slipped off the bottom of our overturned boat, if several of us had not held onto him for the last half-hour.

It was just about this time that the edge of the sun came above the horizon. Then, to feel its glowing warmth, which we had never expected to see again, was something never to be forgotten.

Even through my numbness I began to realize that I was saved — that I would live.


Second-Class Passengers: The Collyer Family

Charlotte Collyer and daughter Marjorie. (Photo: United States Library of Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Harvey and Charlotte Collyer and their 8-year-old daughter, Marjorie had left home in England. They were heading to a new life on an Idaho farm to improve Charlotte’s health. Cuando el Titanic stopped briefly in Queenstown to pick up more passengers – and drop off any mail that passengers had written — Harvey sent a cheery postcard to his folks, saying in part:

“My dear Mum and Dad, It don’t seem possible we are out on the briny writing to you. Well dears so far we are having a delightful trip the weather is beautiful and the ship magnificent …We will post again at New York…lots of love don’t worry about us.”

When the ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday night, April 14, Harvey left the cabin to investigate. Upon his return he told a sleepy Charlotte, “‘What do you think…We have struck an iceberg, a big one, but there is no danger, an officer just told me so.’”

Book cover of &aposTitanic: Voices From the Disaster.&apos (Photo: Courtesy of Scholastic)

But, of course, there was danger. Later, Charlotte clung to Harvey’s arm, unwilling to get into a lifeboat. All around her the sailors were shouting, “‘Women and children first!’”

Suddenly a sailor grabbed Marjorie and threw her into a boat. Charlotte had to be physically torn from her husband. Harvey tried to reassure her: “‘Go Lotty, for God’s sake be brave and go! I’ll get a seat in another boat.”

A week later, safe in New York with her young daughter, Charlotte broke the news to her mother-in-law. “My dear Mother, I don’t know how to write to you or what to say. I feel I shall go mad sometimes but dear as much as my heart aches it aches for you too for he is your son and the best that ever lived…Oh mother how can I live without him…he was so calm…The agony of that night can never be told…I haven’t a thing in the world that was his[,] only his rings. Everything we had went down.”

Charlotte died from tuberculosis two years later.


Titanic Survivors – Eyewitnesses to History The Poetic Professor: Lawrence Beesley | Guest Post by Sharyn Kopf

I’m excited that so many are enjoying the characters in my novel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Want to know more about the REAL people on the Titanic? My friend Sharyn has been kind enough to write some profiles for us. They are amazing and interesting…enjoy!

We don’t hear much about second-class passengers. Most accounts focus on the arrogance and heroism of the first class or the struggles and obstacles faced by those in third. Fortunately, Lawrence Beesley, a young science teacher from England, offered a rare second-class perspective. His book, The Loss of the S.S. Titanic, Its Story and Its Lessons*, was published within months of the sinking and was one of the first major eyewitness analyses of the sinking.

Beesley, in fact, was asked to write a “correct history” of the event to counteract the pieced-together accounts being planned by media outlets eager to get the details to the public, even if their descriptions were “erroneous, full of highly colored details, and generally calculated to disturb public thought on the matter.” In writing his story, Beesley hoped it would “calm public opinion by stating the truth of what happened as nearly as I could recollect it.” But then he shared an even stronger motive: “Another matter aided me in coming to a decision, the duty that we, as survivors of the disaster, owe to those who went down with the ship, to see that the reforms so urgently needed are not allowed to be forgotten.”

The poetry and candor of Beesley’s account flows from a different place than most authors. Rather than follow a story line based on where his imagination led him, he presented his experiences from an all-too-real place. He realized only those who were there felt the tilting of the boat deck, saw the stars lit against the black sky, smelled the ocean and the cold, and sensed the quiet panic of the souls surrounding them. It was this perspective he offered when he described his impression of the sinking Titanic from his lifeboat:
As the oarsmen pulled slowly away we all turned and took a long look at the mighty vessel towering high above our midget boat, and I know it must have been the most extraordinary sight I shall ever be called upon to witness I realize now how totally inadequate language is to convey to some other person who was not there any real impression of what we saw.

Nevertheless, Beesley tried to put the reader in his shoes, believing that to be the only way anyone could truly understand the often confusing decisions made that night. He asked his audience to set aside the knowledge they have and the images that had been created for them, and invited them to come stand on the deck and watch the great ship’s demise with him. In doing so, he let his readers see the tragedy through the eyes of other people who were there, even those who didn’t make it.

In this way, Lawrence Beesley—and other survivors who shared their account of the disaster—could, in a small way, bring back to life those whose voices were silenced on April 15, 1912.


Titanic Eyewitness My Story

Frank Goldsmith was a nine-year-old boy emigrating from England to Detroit with his father and mother. Also traveling with the family was 16-year-old Alfred Rush and Thomas Theobald, a fellow worker with Mr. Goldsmith. Booking third class passage on the new Titanic, they all were looking forward to starting over in the United States. Cuando Titanic struck an iceberg, the order of women and children first into the lifeboats meant Frank’s father, Tom Theobald, and even Alfred Rush stayed behind and lost their lives in the sinking leaving Frank with only his mother to pick up the pieces and start over.

The loss of his dad, his friend and his dad’s friend was seared in the little boy’s memory and Frank wrote about his experiences in the 1960s. He tried to sell his story to publishers who turned him down, there wasn’t interest in the Titanic story at the time. Through Walter Lord, Frank was introduced to the Titanic Historical Society (THS) that welcomed Frank as they welcomed many other Titanic survivors into the organization. The THS publicized Frank to its worldwide membership through its journal, The Titanic Commutator. Frank died in 1982. His widow, Victoria gave his story to the Titanic Historical Society to publish and Karen Kamuda brought Frank’s story to life by editing, annotating and naming the book, “Titanic Eyewitness, My Story.”

Not only does this book contain Frank’s experiences but it also is greatly enhanced with period photos and vintage postcards from Frank and his mother’s collection purchased by the THS survivor biographies––other Titanic widows whom Mrs. Goldsmith networked with as she and they worked hard to get established in the United States the Samson story, the “mystery ship” connected with Titanic and SS Californian that Frank researched and closing the chapter on Frank’s life when the International Ice Patrol scattered his ashes over Titanic’s wreck so that he could rejoin with his father.

The Foreword was written by Walter Lord Preface by Donald Lynch, THS Historian and Introduction by Edward Kamuda, THS President

1. Chapters: Strood
2. “At last we are on the ‘lantic”
3. Boys on Board
4. 4. Sunday Night
5. “So long, Frankie, I’ll see you later”
6. The Last Lifeboat
7. “Oh, it’s going to float!”
8. Carpathia and Sam
9. A Bombay Oyster
10. Starting Over
11. Mother’s Network of Titanic Survivors
12. The Salvation Army and Titanic Relief Funds
13. The Red Cross
14. Thomas Leonard Theobald
15. New York American Titanic Relief Fund
16. Financial Assistance for Survivors
17. Survivors and Friends Network
18. Hands Across the Sea
19. S.S. Californian
20. Samson and Henrik Naess
21. Walter Lord and the Titanic Historical Society
22. U.S. Coast Guard International Ice Patrol
Epilogue: Frank Goldsmith, Emily Goldsmith Illman, Emily’s Album

Hardcover with dust jacket. Lavishly illustrated with color illustrations and original photos, this book will appeal to children and adults. Hardcover, large format 8.5 X 12 inches, 144 pages.


Titanic Survivors

The Titanic passenger list included some of the most prestigious figures of its time. The RMS Titanic first-class passenger list was a who’s who of the time and many businessmen, industrialists, and manufacturers of the Titanic were aboard during that fateful day of April 14, 1912. The majority of first class passengers were well known in their countries of origin and some were even known worldwide. Tickets for the Titanic capped out at $4,350 (which is more than $95,860 in 2008 dollars). Here is a full Titanic Passenger list as well as a good article on the Demographics of the Titanic Passengers.

Titanic Survivors

Be sure to check out our newest section where we hope to feature a healthy collection of Titanic Survivor Stories.

Do you know who Charles Joughin is? Well you should. His story of surviving the Titanic is most extraordinary. After fortifying his body with two bottles of whiskey, Joughin rode the Titanic into the ocean similar to Jack and Rose in the movie and simply stepped off the bow without even getting his head wet, then spent 3 hours in the frigid waters before being rescued. He was one of only a few survivors to weather the icy wet conditions. Many attribute this to the whiskey. Read the full story about Titanic survivor Charles Joughin.

Of the total 2,223 passengers aboard the Titanic only 706 survived the disaster. Most of those lost succumbed to hypothermia due to the freezing water of the Atlantic. Temperatures of the surrounding water during the Titanic sinking were around 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Humans exposed to this freezing water temperature would last only about 15 minutes before death. First class passengers and women were more likely to survive then men, second, and third class passengers. When the lifeboats were deployed, there was a women and children first policy that created these staggering survival rates. Of male passengers in second class, 92 percent perished. Less than half of third-class passengers survived. Another disparity is that a greater percentage of British passengers died than American passengers some sources claim this could be because many Britons of the time were too polite and queued, rather than to force and elbow their way onto the lifeboats as some Americans did. The captain, Edward John Smith, shouted out: “Be British, boys, be British!” as the ocean liner went down, according to witnesses. It also turns out that the legend of the band continuing to play as the Titanic sank is true.

RMS Titanic First Class Passenger List

Here is a full list of Titanic passengers, including the passengers by class.

Category Number aboard Number of survivors Percentage survived Number lost Percentage lost
First class 329 199 60.5 % 130 39.5 %
Second class 285 119 41.7 % 166 58.3 %
Third class 710 174 24.5 % 536 75.5 %
Crew 899 214 23.8 % 685 76.2 %
Total 2,223 706 31.8 % 1,517 68.2 %

Survivors of the Titanic

The Titanic met her unfortunate fate in April of 1912 and while there were over 1,500 lost to the sea, there were a total of seven hundred and six survivors that survived the sinking of this ship. This was one the saddest tragedies that there ever was and here is a brief account of some of the individuals that survived the sinking of the Titanic.

Miss Elizabeth Gladys Dean, also known as Millvina, was only a few months old when she, her parents, and a brother, boarded the Titanic at Southampton. They were immigrating to Kansas where her father had high hopes of opening a tobacconist shop. Her mother, brother, and Millvina were the only ones of her family to survive and be rescued. Millvina was the last remaining survivor of the Titanic, and passed away on May 31, 2009 at the age of 97.

Violet Jessop, an ocean liner stewardess and a nurse was one of the survivors of the Titanic. She is also well known for surviving the Britannic in 1916, the sister ship to Titanic. Violet also survived an earlier fiasco in 1911, when she was aboard the RMS Olympic, when it collided with another ship, HMS Hawke. She passed away on May 5, 1971 of congestive heart failure.

Lillian Asplund was the last Swedish/American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic. She was five years old at the time and she had actual memories of the sinking. Her family were third class passengers when they boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912. She remembered that the Titanic was very big and it had been freshly painted. She reportedly said that she did not like the smell of the paint. She passed away on May 6, 2006, at the age of 99.

Barbara Joyce Dainton West was the second to last remaining living survivor of the sinking of the Titanic. Her parents, Barbara, a sister, and one on the way, were immigrating to the United States to begin a new life when the Titanic hit the iceberg. Barbara was only ten months old when she was on board the ship. Her mother, sister, and Barbara were the only ones to survive in the family. Her father’s body was never identified, if it had been found. Barbara died October 16, 2007 at the age of ninety-six years old.


Titanic anniversary: Rescue crews reveal the grisly aftermath of the Titanic tragedy

AS THE Titanic became legend 105 years ago today, the reality for the rescuers after the tragedy was anything but romantic.

The body of an RMS Titanic victim being picked up at sea by CS Minia. Crews described their horror at the disaster scene in later accounts. Source:Supplied

FOR those leading the recovery efforts, the task at hand was grim.

As rescue ships approached the ghostly sea where the Titanic plunged into the ocean in the dead of the cold night on April 15, 1912, white specks began to appear in the distance.

To onlookers aboard, they looked like 𠇌lustering and moving along the waves like a flock of seagulls”. Hundreds of them. All grouped together.

But as the SS Bremen pushed closer towards the site on Saturday, April 20, passengers began to scream.

The Bremen, heading to America from Germany, had steamed into the pathway of the Titanic disaster.

The ship joined the Carpathia in the recovery mission, along with four White Star Line ships ordered to rush to the scene. Ice, coffins, canvas bags and embalming equipment were packed onto the ships — this was not a rescue, this was a recovery.

The white specks were frozen bodies of the dead, wrapped in the ill-fated steamer’s life belts. For days, great quantities of these bodies, along with doors, pillows, chairs, tables, and scattered remains, floated along the North Atlantic.

“The sea became littered with bodies,” noted one survivor, Mary Davis Wilburn.

“The dead came up holding children in their arms. The poor people never had a chance.”

Two icebergs crashed against the sea, one a hundred feet high at its tallest peak. Red and black paint etched into at least one them, a reminder of the horrors that befell the bodies below them.

“The first one was a lady with a baby. We ran downstairs and told them [the crew], every body came up,” Leoni Hermann, who was aboard the S.S. Bremen as an 11-year-old at the time, recalled in an interview.

𠇎verybody was crying. As we went further, there was another body. They picked one up, a man. They brought him up on the ship and examined him, they really looked at him and saw him.”

The doomed liner, the S.S. Titanic. April 15, 2017 is the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, just five days after it left Southampton on its maiden voyage to New York. Source:AP

A map shows the location & route taken by luxury liner Titanic before sinking after hitting iceberg in 1912. Copyright: Dorling Kindersley Publishing Historical Shipping Source:News Corp Australia

It was 11:40pm on April 14, 1912, when Titanic made contact with an iceberg during her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, sealing her fate. She sank to her watery grave the following morning, at 2:20am, killing 1,526 passengers. This Saturday marks its 105th anniversary.

But the reality for the rescuers in the days after the tragedy was anything but romantic. While many talk of the days leading up to the disaster, fewer talk about the days in the North Atlantic after it. Of the open-sea graveyard that surrounded the ships. Of the fog that rolled around the wreckage. Of the bodies that 𠇋obbed in the swells”. Of the funeral services held on board rescue ships. Of sounds of the weighted bodies of victims plunging into the sea.

𠇏or nearly an hour the words ‘we therefore commit this body to the deep’ are repeated and at each interval comes, splash! as the weighted body plunges into the sea, to sink to a depth of about two miles,” Frederick Hamilton, a cable engineer aboard the White Star Liner ship, the Mackay-Bennett, described in his diary.

Crewmen from the RMS Oceanic aboard a Titanic lifeboat found among the debris. Picture: HAldridge/BNP Source:Supplied

The Mackay-Bennett spent nearly two weeks at sea. Hamilton recorded picking up a total number of three hundred and five bodies, one hundred and sixteen of which were buried at sea. It was this ship that recoverd most of the bodies of the victims.

Bodies were stacked onto mounds of ice for those to be claimed by relatives.

𠇊 large amount of money and jewels has been recovered, the identification of most of the bodies has been established, and details set out for publication,” he wrote in his diary on April 26, after five days of recovery.

“It has been an arduous task for those who have had to overhaul and attend to the remains, the searching, numbering, and identifying of each body, depositing the property found on each in a bag marked with a number corresponding to that attached to the corpse, the sewing up in canvas and securing of weights, entailed prolonged and patient labour.

“The Embalmer is the only man to whom the work is pleasant, I might add without undue exaggeration, enjoyable, for to him it is a labour of love, and the pride of doing a job well.”

A victim of Titanic in the process of being embalmed. Source:Supplied

Titanic - bodies recovered. Picture: HAldridge/BNPS Source:Supplied

For those aboard the Bremen, it was a distressing sight to behold.

“I saw a man and a woman clasped in each other’s arms, two men clinging together and the body of a woman with a child in her arms lashed to a chair,” Beatrice Stenke told the New York Times.

“We saw one woman in a nightdress with a baby clasped closely to her breast,” Johanna Stunke, a passenger aboard the SS Bremen, later detailed.

“There was another woman fully dressed, with her arms tightly clutching the body of a shaggy dog that looked like a St. Bernard.”

Some were dressed in full evening wear, others in night gowns and pyjamas. One woman was found with a life belt around her waist and a child in each arm.

Despite being cut off from mainstream media at the time (this was 1912 and they were at sea, remember), passengers on the Bremen were aware, if not prepared, of what they were about to see. Wireless messages from the Titanic had been running across the airwaves since the disaster, and ships across the Atlantic were answering their calls for help.

𠇌ome as quickly as possible, old man the engine room is filling up to the boilers,” the Titanic’s last wireless pleaded at 1:50am, 20 minutes before the Titanic’s final plunge.

“Steaming full speed for you … hope you are safe,” a liner responded at 3 a.m. Tragically, the last of the surviving victims would have been succumbing to hypothermia by that time.

RMS Titanic victims are transferred from the CS Minia. Source:Supplied

In fact, victims looked truly battered by the disaster.

“The cruelty of the disaster is most evident with the bodies,” writes Encyclopedia Titanica.

Witnesses described bruised and battered bodies, crushed skulls, broken arms, some even 𠇌ut up from the event of the sinking”.

“They were frozen in the treacherously cold north Atlantic, at night, and were bleached by the sunlight, during the day. As if an amusement for a cruel sea, they bobbed, had their faces repeatedly dunked in the water, and became wrinkled and discolored as they decomposed.”

Some were found with gunshot wounds, some by the hand of humankind in the panic that prevailed in those few terrifying hours before the ship sank, with its sloping decks and tilting body.

Crews described the scene as 𠇌old, wet, miserable and comfortless” — a stark reminder of the fragility of human kind, in an age where the unsinkable Titanic became a ship of legend.

𠇊nother burial service held, and seventy seven bodies follow the other,” Hamilton wrote on April 24.

“The hoarse tone of the steam whistle reverberating through the mist, the dripping rigging, and the ghostly sea, the heaps of dead, and the hard weather-beaten faces of the crew, whose harsh voices join sympathetically in the hymn tunefully rendered by Canon Hind, all combine to make a strange task stranger.

𠇌old, wet, miserable and comfortless, all hands balance themselves against the heavy rolling of the ship as she lurches to the Atlantic swell, and even the most hardened must reflect on the hopes and fears, the dismay and despair, of those whose nearest and dearest, support and pride, have been wrenched from them by this tragedy.”

A photograph of horse-drawn hearses carrying the bodies of those who lost their lives on the Titanic dated May 9th 1912. Picture: Adam Gasson/Alamy Source:Alamy

By the end of April, the harsh combination of salt and sun on victims’ lifebelts began to cause them to break, and bodies started to disappear underneath the ocean floor. In June that year, reports of sightings of bodies continued a steward and a kitchen worker.

“We’ve seen shoes. We’ve seen pairs of shoes, which would strongly suggest there was a body there at one point.”

But on this night, not only do we remember the horror that unfolded, we remember the aftermath.

This dramatic picture was taken from the deck of the rescue vessel Carpathia at daybreak as Titanic survivors prepare to board. Source:News Limited

Shocked survivers of the Titanic sinking in hospital, New York. Picture: AP Source:News Limited


By Daily Mail Reporter
Updated: 16:13 BST, 1 October 2010

An astonishing eye-witness account of the sinking of the Titanic has been published for the first time - nearly 100 years after the disaster.

First-class passenger Laura Francatelli wrote of hearing an ‘awful rumbling’ after the world-famous liner hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912 - then the 'screams and cries’ of the 1,500 drowning passengers.

Miss Francatelli worked as a secretary for wealthy baronet Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana and travelled with them on the ill-fated ship, which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Laura Francatelli (circled right) stands next to her employers Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lady Lucy Christiana (to her right) after they were rescued

She told how the three of them boarded one of the last lifeboats - containing just five passengers and seven crew - and admitted they didn’t consider going back to try to rescue more survivors.

'I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense"'

The account adds to a lingering controversy among Titanic historians as it describes how Sir Cosmo later paid the crew members £5 each, about £300 in today’s money, a gesture interpreted by some as blood money for giving the aristocrat a place on a lifeboat.

There were rumours that the Duff-Gordons has bribed the crew not to rescue people in the water, but the British Board of Trade's Inquiry into the disaster cleared them of any wrongdoing.

Miss Francatelli wrote her account in a signed affidavit presented to the official British enquiry into the 1912 disaster, which claimed 1,517 lives in total.

The historic document has now been made public for the first time and is being tipped to sell for £15,000.

The secretary, who was aged 31 at the time, told how she woke her employers when water seeped into her cabin after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

She wrote: 'A man came to me and put a life preserver on me, assuring me it was only taking precautions and not to be alarmed.

'When we got on the top deck. I noticed the sea seemed nearer to us than during the day, and I said to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon: "We are sinking" and he said: "Nonsense".'

Miss Francatelli wrote her account in a signed affidavit presented to the official British inquiry into the 1912 disaster

The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

The party initially refused to go into a lifeboat because Sir Cosmo was not allowed on as only women and children were permitted, but they were then offered places on a smaller rowing boat.

Miss Francatelli said: 'The officer saw us and ordered us in, and we said we would go if Sir Cosmo could come also.

'The officer said to Sir Cosmo: "I should be pleased if you would go." We were dropped into this boat and lowered into the sea.

'The officers gave orders to us to row away from the ship.

'We kept on rowing and stopping and rowing again. I heard some talk going on about the suction if the ship went down.

'We were a long way off when we saw the Titanic go right up at the back and plunge down. There was an awful rumbling when she went. Then came screams and cries. I do not know how long they lasted.

'When the ship had gone all was darkness. I did not hear any discussion or proposal about going back nor did I say anything about it.

'We had hardly any talk. The men spoke about God and prayers and wives.'

She recalled how Lady Duff-Gordon was 'deadly sick' but was unable to reach the side of the boat due to some oars that were in the way.

She also told how a crewmember kept putting his hand on her knee while he was rowing for her to rub to keep it warm.

She wrote how the survivors huddled in the bottom of the boat to keep warm until they were rescued by the ship Carpathia two hours after the sinking.

Miss Francatelli said: 'Later on I heard the men speaking about losing their kits. Sir C Duff-Gordon said he would make it all right for them. he would give them £5 each.

'A day or two after we had got on board Carpathia Sir Cosmo told me to write out cheques for £5 each for the seven men in the boat.'

Andrew Aldridge, of auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son of Devizes, Wiltshire, which is selling the document, said: 'So many books and articles have been written about Titanic but this is an original firsthand eye-witness account written shortly after the disaster.

'In hindsight the lifeboat the party boarded was rather controversial.

As she confirms in her own words, there were more crew on board than passengers and room for potentially 40 or 50 more people who could have been saved.

'There was also great controversy surrounding Sir Cosmo because when they arrived in New York he gave the seven crew members £5 each.

'There was one train of thought that he was being very kind and generous and was compensating the men for the items they lost in the sinking. Certainly that is what Miss Francatelli thought.

'But the payment was also interpreted as blood money at the time. Was he paying the men for a place in the lifeboat and his own life?'

Miss Francatelli, from London, died in 1967. The document remained in her family until after her death and has been since been owned by two private collectors.


Titanic Survivor's Eyewitness Account - HISTORY

NEW YORK, April 19.—Dr. Washington Dodge of San Francisco, at the Hotel Wolcott here, gave the following account of the wreck:

“We had retired to our stateroom, and the noise of the collision was not at all alarming. We had just fallen asleep. My wife awakened me and said that something had happened to the ship. We went on deck and everything seemed quiet and orderly.

“The orchestra was playing a lively tune. They started to lower the lifeboats after a lapse of some minutes. There was little excitement.

“As the lifeboats were being launched, many of the first-cabin passengers expressed their preference of staying on the ship. The passengers were constantly being assured that there was no danger, but that as a matter of extra precaution the women and children should be placed in the lifeboats.

“Everything was still quiet and orderly when I placed Mrs. Dodge and the boy in the fourth or fifth boat. I believe there were 20 boats lowered away altogether. I did what I could to help in keeping order, as after the sixth or seventh boat was launched the excitement began.

“Some of the passengers fought with such desperation to get into the lifeboats that the officers shot them, and their bodies fell into the ocean.

“It was 10:30 when the collision occurred, and 1:55 o’clock when the ship went down,” he said. “Major Archibald Butt stood with John Jacob Astor as the water rolled over the Titanic.

“I saw Colonel Astor, Major Butt and Captain Smith standing together about 11:30 o’clock. There was absolutely no excitement among them. Captain Smith said there was no danger.

“The starboard side of the Titanic struck the big berg and the ice was piled up on the deck. None of us had the slightest realization that the ship had received its death wound.

“Mrs. [Isidor] Straus showed most admirable heroism. She refused in a very determined manner to leave her husband, although she was twice entreated to get into the boats. Straus declined with great force to get in the boat while any women were left.

“I wish you would say for me that Colonel Astor, Major Butt, Captain Smith and every man in the cabins acted the part of a hero in that awful night.

“As the excitement began I saw an officer of the Titanic shoot down two steerage passengers who were endeavoring to rush the lifeboats. I have learned since that twelve of the steerage passengers were shot altogether, one officer shooting down six. The first-cabin men and women behaved with great heroism.”

One of the stewards of the Titanic, with whom Mrs. and Mrs. Dodge had crossed the Atlantic before on the Olympic, knew them well. He recognized Dodge as the thirteenth boat was being filled. The steerage passengers were being shot down and some of the steerage passengers were stabbing right and left in an endeavor to reach the boat.

The thirteenth boat was filled on one side with children, fully 20 or 30 of them, and a few women. All in the boat were panic- stricken and screaming. The steward had been ordered to take charge of the thirteenth, and, seizing Dodge, pushed him into the boat, exclaiming that he needed his help in caring for his helpless charges.

Dodge said that when the boats were drawing away from the ship they could hear the orchestra playing “Lead, Kindly Light,” and rockets were going up from the Titanic in the wonderfully clear night. “We could see from the distance that two boats were being made ready to be lowered. The panic was in the steerage, and it was that portion of the ship that the shooting was made necessary.

“I will never forget,” Mrs. Dodge said, “the awful scene of the great steamer as we drew away. From the upper rails heroic husbands and fathers were waving and throwing kisses to their womenfolk in the receding lifeboats.” The Bulletin
San Francisco, April 19, 1912 Return to the top of the page.


Titanic survivor was an eyewitness to history

Take a walk through St. John’s Norway Cemetery at Kingston Road and Woodbine Avenue and you will pass the grave sites of prominent Beach citizens like Ted Reeve, R.C. Harris, Dr. William Young and the Ashbridge family.

There are no buildings or memorials named after Victor Francis Sunderland, who lived quietly in the Beach for more than 50 years before his death in 1973. Sunderland survived two of the great tragedies of the early 20th century: the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic and the First World War.

Sunderland’s first-hand account of the great ocean liner’s last moments became part of the narrative of James Cameron’s 1997 hit movie Titanic. Like the fictional Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), Sunderland was a young lad sailing as a third-class passenger on the maiden voyage of the ill-fated ship.

April is a time of hope and new beginnings. At 20 years old, Sunderland was leaving England for a fresh start in North America. As fate would have it, he became one of the few men among the third-class passengers to survive in the early hours of April 15, 1912. There were no places in the lifeboats that night for third-class men and chances of survival were slim.

Some of the incidents in Cameron’s film were taken from the accounts of survivors like Sunderland. In a 1912 newspaper story Sunderland described the scene:

“The boat deck was crowded on the starboard side. The crew was filling the boats with women and children and lowering them away. An old lady and an old man with a white beard stood together. An officer told the woman to get in the boat. She put her arm around her husband’s shoulder and said, ‘Let me have my husband.’ When she was told she must go alone, she said, ‘Then I will die with him.’ That was the last I saw of them.”

This couple was Isador and Ida Straus, last seen sitting on deck chairs, not lying in bed as in the movie, which took liberties with the truth. British critics were especially upset at the unfair depiction of officers. Sunderland believed that an officer did shoot a man in a lifeboat and then shot himself, but there is no proof it was First Officer William Murdoch.

Second Officer Lightoller and Sunderland were two of the last men off the doomed ship. While trying to launch collapsible lifeboat “B” they were swamped by water rushing on the deck. Lightoller shouted, “Here she goes” and jumped over the port side. Sunderland followed into the cold Atlantic seas.

The two men were among the 29 lucky souls able to climb onto the overturned lifeboat B which had washed overboard. Sunderland saw the forward funnel come crashing down into the ocean, then the great ship broke in two “and the stern stood straight in the air” – two events that were only confirmed by the wreck’s discovery in 1985.

The survivors on the upside-down lifeboat stood for six hours balancing in waist-deep freezing water until they were rescued in the early morning daylight. Sunderland arrived penniless in New York City, made his way to Cleveland and then to Ontario. He served in the Canadian Army in the First World War and never fully recovered from the effects of being gassed.

After the war Sunderland settled in the Beach area near St. John’s Norway, first on Kingston Road, then on Duvernet Avenue and Kippendavie Avenue. He worked as a plumber and lived the rest of his life on Waverley Road backing onto Kew Gardens.

Over a century later we are still fascinated by the mystery of what happened in those last desperate hours when the Titanic sank. Countless books have described the tragic events.

Victor Francis Sunderland is not forgotten. He survived and his son became a doctor, saving others in the circle of life. His memories live on in the epic film Titanic.

Back at St. John’s Norway Cemetery, stone angels watch over the departed and April showers bring flowers up through the cold ground. Spring is here at last!

This post has been updated.

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11 comments

Wow, and not too far away was the home of Madelline Mann, Audrey Ave., Scarborough. She was also a Titanic survivor, along with her mother and sister. She lived next door to my grandparents and I knew her when I was a kid in the 70s.

Cindy how can I get in touch with you about Madeline Mann.

Cindy, my two favourite articles to research were about other Titanic survivors who settled in the Beach. Madeleine also lived near me (on Kingswood Rd). Madeleine Mellinger (Mann) was only 13 at the time of the sinking and she saved her partially deaf mother’s life. Madeleine, Elizabeth and cabin stewardess Emma Bliss (Beech Ave.) are all depicted in the wonderful British film, A Night to Remember (1958), the most authentic of all the Titanic movies. Second Officer Lightoller gave his whistle to the Mellingers as thanks for warming him up in lifeboat 6. That whistle that helped saved the 30 men on the overturned collapsible lifeboat B is now in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England (of time zones fame). Real history is often more exciting than anything fictional. Look for fascinating books on Titanic, the Canadian Connection at the library. Happy reading!


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