The first time I met Marshall Drew, he pulled out a well-worn book. “This,” he said with a chuckle, “is an announcement of my death.” Of course, the published account of his demise was wrong. In fact, Marshall lived almost three quarters of a century longer. But many of the passengers he was traveling with on that long-ago trip were not so fortunate. Marshall was one of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic. I had interviewed him years ago in Massachusetts. Now I was seeing his name listed on the passenger memorial for the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The exhibition charts the history and legacy of the White Star Line and the Titanic through an astonishing array of rare items original to the ship, props from the 1997 James Cameron film, and real stories of people from Worcestershire who were aboard the ship on what should have been her triumphant maiden voyage to New York.
But over the years, treasures telling the story of those passengers, both those who survived and those who sadly lost their lives, have been recovered. Click or scroll through to discover some of the most spectacular, and valuable, pieces from the tragic ship.
In the days following the North Atlantic Ocean sinking of the so-called “unsinkable” Titanic, word was received in Hamilton that a young local doctor was among its more than 1,500 victims. Dr. Alfred Pain, 24, was a second-class passenger returning after a year at King’s College Hospital in London. He originally tried to sign on as ship’s doctor on a freighter in exchange for a free trip home. When that didn’t work out, he bought a ticket on a tramp steamer. But then he switched his ticket for passage on the maiden voyage of the luxury ship Titanic.
What followed was a daring escape from the depths of the ship using access ladders and passages used by crew members as some of the regular passages for third-class passengers were tightly locked, sealing the fate of those trapped below. Elin was admitted to a lifeboat, dressed only in her nightgown and life vest and by the grace of God survived the sinking. To me the most heart-wrenching part of her story is the fact that Pekka never did return to their cabin, and after the ship went down, from her lifeboat she called out to him in the darkness letting him know she was near.
“That’s a weird name for a bridge, you know, definitely is,” said Terry Dent of Snellville, Georgia. The Butt Bridge got a makeover a couple of years ago and with its lions holding shields and eagles landing on pillars, it’s impressive to see, but admittedly Butt Bridge is funny name. “Of course everyone remembers ‘save our Butt’. I think it’s something unique about Augusta keeps us funky,” said David Peltier. The funky bridge is named for Augustan Archibald Butt, aide to presidents who died on the Titanic.
An annual wreath drop serves as a way to remember and honor those who died on the Titanic. The Ice Patrol was formed after the passenger liner hit an iceberg and sank in the early morning of April 15, 1912. The wreaths from the ceremony will be dropped near where the ship sank during an iceberg reconnaissance flight in the next few weeks, Cmdr. Marcus Hirschberg said.
Eight Chinese men were on board and six survived, landing in New York three days later aboard the Carpathia, the first ship to arrive at the scene of the disaster. Under the United States’ Chinese Exclusion Act, the men were transferred 24 hours later to a British steamship and sent to Cuba. What happened after that has been unclear – until now.
Panagiotis Lymberopoulos, Vassilios Katavelos, Apostolos Chronopoulos and Demetrios Chronopoulos all came from the same village, Agios Sostis in the Messinia region of the Peloponnese. The last two men were brothers. Like many of the passengers, the four friends were young – the oldest one was only 33 years old – and they wanted to go to America in search of a better life. Tragically, their dreams, like those of so many others who perished on that starry night, never came true.They all died in the most famous shipwreck in maritime history, and the bodies of the two brothers never been found.
Many local history buffs and Titanic fans know that Anderson’s Maplewood Cemetery is the final resting place of Charles Hallace Romaine. He was a first-class passenger aboard the Titanic on its maiden voyage in April 1912. Romaine survived the disastrous sinking when he was allowed to take a seat in Lifeboat No. 9 after the women and children had been given a place.
1. First Titanic, then Empress: an Irish Man’s Lucky Escapes
There are those that survive not one but two major disasters in their lifetime. Such is the case with William Clark of Greenore, County Louth, Ireland. He was reportedly in the Boer War. In 1912 he signed on as a fireman on Titanic and listed Southampton as his home. He was one of the few fireman to survive Titanic and was in lifeboat 15.
How he escaped he does not know. He was caught in the swirl of waters as the vessel plunged down – dragged down into the ocean depths with the crippled leviathan as she sank to her last resting place. Even then his abnormal luck did not desert him. He never thought to come up again, but the force of the boiler explosion lifted him and rushed him up to the surface. He struck out vigorously; was pulled aboard one of the boats, and came home to tell the tale.
Then in 1914 he was a fireman on Empress of Ireland when tragedy would strike there as well. On 29 May 1914, the ship collided with the Norwegian coal freighter Storstad in the Saint Louis River at Pointe-au-Père, Quebec. Unlike Titanic which took over two hours to sink, Empress of Ireland would sink quickly resulting in over 1,000 deaths. Clark escaped but his description shows how harrowing it was:
His lifeboat station was No. 5, and somehow or other he got there, but he cannot remember how she was launched. His mind is a blank concerning some of those awful moments spent on the canting decks of the doomed liner. They had to crawl on hands and knees on the sloping hull in order to get the boat clear, and then their best chance of escape was to plunge into the water in the hope of being able to scramble aboard. Clark was drawn under several times before he got into the boat, and afterwards, he said, they were able to pull about sixty men into her.
2.Irish firm’s virtual reality Titanic trip to launch on PlayStation (Irish Times, 15 Nov 2018) Irish firm VR Education’s virtual reality trip on the Titanic is set for launch on Sony’s PlayStation later this month. Titanic VR puts players aboard the doomed vessel the night it hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912. It will be available from November 22nd. The Titanic experience has already been launched on PC, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality. But the company said it expects the PlayStation VR version to drive sales, replicating the experience of its Apollo 11 VR showcase.
This has been a quiet week for Titanic, so not a lot of news to report. Here are some interesting bits of news for you to consider.
1. You never know what lies waiting to be uncovered when cleaning out your home. Especially if you have not looked in those dust covered corners in closed up rooms, attics, or basements for a long time. A man found the portrait of Elsie Bowerman, a Titanic survivor, suffragette, and barrister. And it is now up for auction at Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, UK in March with an estimated price of £1,000.
Source: Titanic Survivor’s Portrait Discovered (BBC News,22 Jan 2016)
2. The Titanic Hotel at Stanley Dock in Liverpool has won the Luxury Travel Global Guide Award of Luxury Hotel of the Year. The editor of Luxury Travel Magazine is quoted as saying they “were blown away by Titanic Hotel Liverpool’s profile.”
Source: Titanic Hotel wins at Luxury Travel Awards (BDaily,22 Jan 2016)
Finally to close out this Friday, I offer something for my friends facing a very snowy weekend back east and all those also having very cold temperatures.