Tag Archives: Loraine Allison

Titanic News: Wilhelm Gustloff disaster,RNLI Needs Funds, Bruce Ismay after Titanic


Wilhelm Gustloff in Danzig, September 1939.
Photo: German Federal Archives (Bild 183-H27992 )

Largest Maritime Disaster Neither Lusitania, Nor Titanic
Montana Standard, 2 May 2021

Neither the Lusitania nor the Titanic was the largest maritime disaster, not by a long shot. Yet somehow, their fateful journeys remain a source of intrigue for both researchers and curiosity seekers. The largest loss of lives occurred during World War II in the frigid Baltic Sea. On Jan. 30, 1945, a Soviet submarine sunk Germany’s Wilhelm Gustloff. On board the transport ship were thousands of German civilians. It is estimated that 6,000 to 9,000 people perished.

RNLI Launches Mayday Call For Funds As Rescue Figures Highlight Crew’s Lifesaving Work In Pandemic
Belfast Live, 30 April 2021

Funds are needed to ensure the lifesaving service is able to keep everyone safe and the RNLI is asking people to come down to the Maritime Mile and take part in the wonderful experience and complete their very own mile and donate to help raise those vital funds. RNLI lifeboats in Northern Ireland launched 234 times last year and their volunteer lifeboat crews brought 253 people to safety. Eighty-nine of those launches were carried out in the hours of darkness. The charity’s lifeguards responded to 225 incidents last summer on beaches, helping 285 people and saving the lives of six people.

Titanic-Linked Train Carriages Discovered In Yard
BBC, 30 April 2021

Members of the British Titanic Society think the wooden carriages, found in a yard in South Wales, formed part of a train that carried passengers from London to Southampton on 10 April 1912. Five days later the Southampton-based liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is hoped the carriages, which are due to be scrapped, can be restored.

J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, in 1912
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

After The Titanic Sank, The Ship’s Owner Hid Away In Ireland
Irish Central, 29 April 2021

Ismay fully co-operated with the congressional inquiry, but nothing could stop the jeering on the streets in both the US and the UK. London society would have nothing more to do with him and he resigned from all his company positions, hoping to disappear, as the media continued to label him as the biggest coward in history.

With his wife Julia, Ismay was to find comfort in Costello Lodge, however, and among the local people who looked upon the pair as a solid source of employment, although the locals referred to Ismay in Irish as “Brú síos mé” (‘lower me down’ i.e. into a lifeboat ). He was said by the locals to be a kind, warm-hearted man, even inquiring of the fisherman he’d fish with on a Sunday if they had had time to go to Mass. Casla Lodge was burned down by the IRA in 1922, but the home was rebuilt on an even grander scale. Ismay remained a Connemara resident for 25 years before moving back to England after he was diagnosed with diabetes. He died in London in 1937, aged 74.

How DNA Testing Helped Solve One Of The Titanic’s Lingering Mysteries
Irish Central, 26 April 2021

One of the last great mysteries of the Titanic was solved in 2013 thanks to a DNA test which proved a woman who claimed she was a child survivor of the tragic Titanic sinking was a fraud. Two-year-old Loraine Allison is believed to have been the only child from first or second class who died during the sinking of the Titanic. However, in 1940, Helen Loraine Kramer, now styling herself Loraine Kramer, claimed to be the missing child. She told a radio show that she had been saved at the last moment when her father placed her in a lifeboat with a man whom she had always thought was her father.Kramer launched a legal bid to be considered part of the wealthy Allison family and entitled to part of their fortune. Before her death in 1992, she contended that she was entitled to the vast majority of the Allison family’s wealth in Canada. The dispute led to the founding of The Loraine Allison Identification Project by Tracy Oost, a forensic scientist at Laurentian University, Ontario, and Titanic expert. While Woods declined to participate, Oost obtained DNA samples from Deanne Jennings, Woods’ half-sister, and Sally Kirkelie, the great-niece of Bess Allison, Loraine Allison’s mother. No genetic link was found between descendants from both sides of the dispute. The results proved that Helen Loraine Kramer was not the little girl who was lost on the Titanic.


Titanic Memorial Lighthouse,South Street Seaport Museum, New York (2008)
Image: Andy C (Wikipedia)

Effort Continues To Restore New York’s Titanic Memorial Lighthouse To Its Original 1913 Condition
6sqft.com, 26 April 2021

The campaign to landmark and restore the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, a monument in New York City built in 1913 to honor those who died aboard the Titanic, continues. Designed by Warren and Wetmore, the architecture firm behind Grand Central Terminal, the 60-foot-tall lighthouse originally sat atop the roof of the Seamen’s Church Institute and featured a working time ball that dropped down the pole each day, along with a green light. Preservationists are now raising funds that would help restore the lighthouse, currently located at the entrance to the South Street Seaport, to its original condition.


Titanic News:Loraine Allison Update, Plaque For Titanic Lookout Reginald Lee,Historic Titanic Poem Comes Home

Mystery1. Loraine Allison Update
The Scientist ran a story about the Loraine Allison/Helen Kramer controversy. For those new to the story, please go to The Titanic Mystery Files: The Case of Loraine Allison/Helen Loriane Kramer and read the details. This article shows how forensic scientist Tracy Oost became associated with Loraine Allison Identification Project and obtained genetic samples for DNA analysis. DNA Diagnostics Center in Fairfield, Ohio conducted the analysis and determined that there was no possibility that Helen Kramer was Loraine Allison. Of course that has not stopped Debrina Woods or other supporters questioning the validity of the analysis. Wood’s claims their documentation “paints a completely different story.” Her website  states: “Regarding the premature, insensitive, irresponsible and INACCURATE Press announcements: NO WAY IS THIS MYSTERY SOLVED…

Except of course it is unless they can prove otherwise. So far Woods has produced nothing that contradicts the mDNA analysis. She claims to have support of some family members and even an Allison family member. Further at the website it claims:

We wish to thank everyone who has withheld judgments based on information supplied by the heavily biased hostiles involved (descendants of those my book will disclose as being implicated in much sinister wrong doing) and others, in attempting to discredit, confuse and suppress this story.

So her book will disclose sinister wrong doing likely by Allison family members and others. Tracy Oost says Woods needs to accept the fact the DNA test proves she is wrong. It seems unlikely, considering the tenor one reads at her website. More likely is that once the book is published she will seek maximum exposure on news shows and through Titanic organizations. And there is a hint that legal action is forthcoming from her against the Allison family and others associated with the mDNA analysis.
Source:Unsinkable Evidence (1 May2014,The Scientist)

Reginald Lee Photo: public domain
Reginald Lee
Photo: public domain

2. Plaque For Titanic Lookout At Grave
Reginald Lee, with Frederick Fleet, were the lookouts on duty aboard Titanic when the iceberg was sighted. He survived the sinking and was in lifeboat 13. He also testified at both the American and Titanic inquiries. But he passed away a year later from pneumonia and buried in Highland Road Cemetery next to his parents. But no one had ever put a plaque near his grave indicating his connection to Titanic. However The News reports that a plaque was indeed placed near his grave on the anniversary of Titanic’s sinking. The news article has a photograph of the plaque.
1. Plaque To Commemorate A Titanic Rowing Hero(20 May 2014,The News)
2.Reginald Robinson Lee (Encyclopedia Titanica)

3. Titanic Poem Returns Home
100 years ago two students at Blue Coats School wrote a poem about Titanic. That school is gone but memories of the poem lingered in some families who had relatives who attended the school and recited the poem. So a search was undertaken to find the actual poem or anyone who had information about it. And the work paid off because the poem was found in the sales office of Bellway Homes’ Bluecoats development, on the site where the school once stood. A reproduction of the poem now hangs on the main entrance of the Old Schoolhouse.
Source:Historic Titanic Poem Returns To Hang In Former Sheffield School(19 May 2014,The Star)

4.Not A Good Sign:Yacht Sinks On Maiden Launch
An 85-foot yacht on its maiden launch in Anacortes, Washington capsized. The yacht tipped over with six people on board. No one was injured though one person did get minor cuts and scrapes caused by having to pull him through a porthole that had to be cut open by axe. The yacht has since been righted and an investigation is underway to determine what happened. So far no word of a cursed mummy aboard.
Source:Capsized Yacht Pulled Upright; Sinking Cause Unknown (20 May 2014,Skagit Valley Herald)

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Friday Titanic News:More On Titanic II Third Class, Study Claims 18-24 Would Not Save Women & Children, and Update on Loraine Allison

1. Cruise Ship News weighs in on the 3rd class option on Titanic II. According to Clive Plamer, 700 people will pay for the opportunity to sleep in cramped cabins as they did on the original Titanic. Cruise Ship News says this sounds good in theory but wonders whether having 700 people sharing two bathrooms meets current health and safety standards. And if you are going authentic, does that not mean you will have to keep those passengers away from other parts of the ship? The commentary closes with this:

Then there is the question of price because according to the Telegraph, the cost of a third class ticket was £7 and £9. Converted into today’s money, then Titanic 2 third class tickets would cost £587 and £754. Would you be willing to pay as much as that to cross the Atlantic in such cramped conditions, and then there is the question of whether you would have access to the rest of the Titanic 2 ship, as original third class passengers did not have such access?

That is a good question. Are you willing to spend money to sleep in authentic Titanic 3rd class quarters with just two bathrooms for 700 people?

Source: Titanic 2 Ship Third Class Tickets An Authentic Option(20 Jan 2014,Cruise Ship News)

2.The National Student is reporting on a poll that does not look good if you are looking to an 18-24 year old to save your life. Virgin Cruises apparently did a study that asked various questions about what they would do in certain situations. Stop a pirate? 81% said no. Nor would they summon a kraken to help Davy Jones against other ships. Nor would they help crew load cannons to fend off attacks from enemy ships. And an astounding 87% would not allow women and children first in the lifeboats. Now some of the questions are really foolish like a peg leg pirate boarding the ship. The fact they would not bother to let women and children first may speak to a generation that is self absorbed looking at their smartphones to give a damn about anything. And it would not be surprising many would rather do nothing to help crew repel real pirates (that might be sensible considering the modern day pirate is armed with automatic weapons).

Or the kids answering the survey decided it was a hoot and decided to have some fun with it.

Source: Students: Useless In A Titanic Disaster Situation, Says Research (20 Jan 2o14,The National Student)

Mystery3.3. Update on Loraine Allison/Helen Kramer Story
The news that DNA conclusively proved Loraine Allison did not survive Titanic is getting widely reported now. There has been an uptick in news postings from all over the place and even blogs as well. Over at Debrina Woods site (http://www.titanicslastmystery.com)there is a new statement in the DNA response section which states (in part):

We were informed in DEC/2013, that a third party was announcing that they had conducted a separate (unrequested by us and sponsored by the opposition Allison’s) DNA Testing and had received a very(conveniently) NEGATIVE determination. To which we respond to all: OK…for now. BUT ALL, BE ADVISED, THAT THIS SAGA IS HARDLY OVER…!!!! We intend to maintain fully on course in our determination to presenting THE REAL and total FACTS of this story to the world and while I had harbored sensitivity to certain more inflammatory issues regarding William Percival Allison’s actions and others involved back in the day, that OUR evidence supports and discloses as showing MUCH MISCONDUCT…Now, am thinking not so much. Which will make for all the better reading and PRESS!! I am hoping that my manuscripts will be completed this spring and ready for submission for publication. We regret that many will be confused by the information that is making the rounds now in the press and other media…
and that we feel has been irresponsibly released for sensation value.

The rambling statement hints at conspiracies, divided opinion, and a book to come. While those who support Helen Kramer’s claim might cling to the hope that the DNA test was wrong or that perhaps manipulated in some fashion the uncomfortable truth is that the grandmother was not related the Allison family. Whether she was a fantasy prone individual convinced of being Loraine Allison (possibly by her husband) or was part of a fraud is unclear.

Titanic News:Telegraph Reports On Loraine Allison Controversy, Titanic II is a “Floating Mausoleum” and Outrage Over The Chinese Sinking Titanic Simulator

Mystery1.Jasper Copping writing for The Telegraph reports on the Loraine Allison/Helen Kramer controversy. As reported in another blog posting  Helen Kramer claimed back in 1940 that she was Loraine Allison and did not die in 1912 when Titanic sank. She claimed her father had given her to a Mr. Hyde on a lifeboat. Hyde took her to England and put her in boarding schools. The claim was never substantiated and was later picked up by her granddaughter. However a recent DNA test has proved that Helen Kramer was not Loraine Allison. Nancy Bergman, who is a Allison descendant stated:

These DNA results have uncovered a colossal fraud that has haunted my family for years. It was all about the money …. Debrina wants to write a book and no doubt there are others out there who want to profit from our story. It is our story. Leave us in peace.

Source: Lost Child Of The Titanic And The Fraud That Haunted Her Family(19 Jan 2014,The Telegraph)

2. Cahir O’Doherty writing for IrishCentral.com is not for Clive Palmer’s Titanic II. O’Doherty is particularly unhappy about how Third Class (or steerage as it was called back then) will be recreated. If Palmer goes through with it, those who book in this class will bunk up much like those that did back in 1912 (which means many bunking together in rooms and sharing bathrooms). Palmer intends to go through what used to be a required delousing of Third Class passengers before disembarking but using confetti cannons to have the same effect. To this Cahir writes:

Do we think we can re-write history by having a doppelganger complete the original voyage? It’s hubris as objectionable as calling the original ship unsinkable. We should have learned the hard lesson. It’s a floating mausoleum, not a ship.

Source: Sink The Titanic II, Insensitive Obsession Goes Too Far(18 Jan 2014,IrishCentral.com)

3. The Daily Mirror reports on negative reaction to the Chinese theme park Titanic simulator. Rudi Newman of the British Titanic Society states: “This is in incredibly poor taste and frankly deplorable. Whatever next, the Pompeii experience?”

Source: Relatives Of Titanic Victims Criticise Theme Park Ride With ‘Shake And Tumble’ Simulator That Recreates Disaster (17 Jan 2014,Daily Mirror)

The Titanic Mystery Files: The Case of Loraine Allison/Helen Loriane Kramer

MysteryLoraine Allison was the only first class child to perish when Titanic sank in 1912. Her parents, Hudson and Bessie, died in the frantic search for baby Trevor. Trevor had been taken by the maid, Alice Cleaver, and both her and the baby survived the sinking. That normally would end the tale except that in 1940 a woman by the name of Mrs. Lawrence Kramer of Berkley, Michigan claimed to be Loraine Allison. Needless to say, this caused a stir in the Allison family who long thought she was dead.

According to the Chicago Tribune (5 Sep 1940), Mrs. Kramer notified the U.S. Department of Justice that she had just learned her real name was Loraine Allison and had been rescued by an Englishman named Hyde. Supposedly this Hyde sent her a letter detailing that he had gotten her from the arms of her father that fateful night. Hyde recounted her father said his wife and baby were on another lifeboat. He then went on to say later he learned neither of her parents survived and so raised as his own daughter in England. Mrs. Kramer would also make the claim that while aboard the rescue ship Carpathia she shared a room with Titanic designer Thomas Andrews.

Kramer hired a lawyer to investigate her claim, obtain her birth certificate, and other needed papers. Members of the Allison family were soon in contact with her. Sadly young Trevor, who had survived Titanic, died in 1929 of ptomaine poisoning. Then her attorney suddenly died and when asked about the papers that proved her claim, Kramer said they had been destroyed in a fire. Her claim ended and Kramer was not heard from again. Then her granddaughter alleged she had found a suitcase full of documents that supported the original claim. This suitcase allegedly contains all the documents her grandmother had amassed thanks to her attorney and others. This is apparently to be revealed in an upcoming book.

Kramer’s claim back in 1940 was sensational. And like an extraordinary claims, you need extraordinary proof. We know that Trevor survived because Alice Cleaver took him and got on a lifeboat. The Allisons would not leave Titanic until they found the baby. Mrs. Allison did get on a lifeboat with Loraine at one point but got off to race to the other side because she was told her husband was seen there. All three perished when Titanic sank. Only the body of the father, Hudson Allison, was found and buried at the family plot in Canada. Even more sensational was the claim Thomas Andrews survived and returned to England managing to avoid detection by anyone, and becoming Loraine’s adopted father of sorts by bringing her back with him.

A description of Loraine Kramer says she was “a 31 year old woman, former registered nurse and married with 5 children, living in a nice suburb of Detroit, Michigan as Evangeline Kramer, who wanted to go across the river to Windsor, Ontario, Canada to shop.” This would imply someone stable and not prone to fantasy. A high school friend said that in their teens they formed a sunshine club. The Milwaukee Journal (6 Sep 1940) had some interesting information about Hyde. Hyde had brought his 3 year old daughter and lost her in the confusion (she perished) and ended up caring for Lorraine in the end never informing proper authorities he had Loraine Allison. The paper also relates that Lorraine would also be in line for a considerable sum of money from the Allison fortune.

That would be a motive for trying to make such a fantastical claim. However those trying to make such claims generally try to keep it simple and with just enough proof to make it plausible. No doubt the Allisons, if they had good sense, hired their own attorneys to verify her claim. Kramer just had to prove she was Bessie and Hudson Allison’s daughter by producing proof from this Mr. Hyde who raised her about the story she related to the justice department and press. I suspect both the Allison’s and energetic journalists on both sides of the pond tried to locate this Mr. Hyde, who apparently was alive in 1940. Of course Britain was at war with Germany at the time making things more difficult due to wartime restrictions. According to a recent news article in the Chesterville Record (2 May 2012), he is identified as James Hyde and a traveling geologist. He put her in British boarding schools and rarely visited the girl.

The other possibility is that Kramer made it all up as part of a fantasy. It would not be the first or last time someone has believed they are someone they are not. Consider the case of Anastasia, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. The Soviets had the family killed in 1918. Stories of her possible survival circulated and several women claimed to be Anastasia, the most famous of which was Anna Anderson. However the remains of the executed royal family was revealed in 1991 which had the remains of the Tsar, wife and three daughters. In 2007 the body of the son and a daughter (either Anastasia or Maria) were found. DNA testing on Anderson’s remaining tissue (she had been cremated) concluded she was not related to Tsar Nicholas or his family.

DNA has now become an important forensic tool to clear up a lot of unsolved crimes and determine paternity in custody suits. And apparently the Allison family decided to do just that using Mitochondrial DNA. Since the main principals are dead, you look for the DNA that is passed down by female line but only the female children pass on this DNA. So one has to look for the proper descendants to test. Once done, you then take a sample of the same DNA passed down through the Kramer line as well. It is somewhat complicated having to determine who is the best candidate but once you have it, you send the DNA samples off to a lab to determine if they are related. And according to the blog Loraine Allison Identification Project the test proved negative. That means Mrs. Lawrence Kramer was not related to the Allisons nor their daughter Loraine.

However this is disputed over at her granddaughters site:
We have also completed our own mtDNA and other separate DNA TESTINGS,
that included much “CLOSER genetic participants” than the
aforementioned opposition complied “TEAM”.

Furthermore, we have always maintained that it is suspiciously, convenient
to many of those on this opposing team’s best interests,TO HAVE
A DETERMINATION of this nature “announced” at this time
in THEIR (so called) FAVOR ….

and we still stand STEADFAST, in our quest and determination to
present the TRUTH to all, disclosed in the volume of documentation
we have so very carefully dedicated ourselves
to compiling, these past two years.

Unfortunately such DNA evidence is very compelling unless you can prove the testing was wrong or the samples used improper. Setting that aside, you have to prove she actually survived the sinking. Checking the list of Titanic survivors is easier these days and can be viewed at places like Encyclopedia Titanica. There is no James Hyde on the list but there is a Leo James Hyland, age 19, who was a steward. Even if James Hyde used an alias and saved Loraine that night, why did he not turn her over to proper authorities? She had family in Canada and a brother (Trevor) who survived. It would have been the right thing to do. Otherwise what he did can be construed as kidnapping since he unlawfully took a child into his custody without any legal right to do so. If the story is true, he dumped her in British boarding schools for most of her young life. Hardly a kind thing to do.

And then there is the Thomas Andrews angle. Kramer claimed he was aboard Carpathia and in her cabin no less. With newspaper reporters swarming the Carpathia in New York, he would be hard to hide. Or did Andrews become James Hyde? Kramer’s fantasy, if that is what it was, was really soaring on this. Again this is just sheer nonsense. No one believes Thomas Andrews survived and became James Hyde. His body was never found and no witnesses in any of the lifeboats state he was there.

What we are left with is this: DNA that says Helen Loriane Kramer was not related to Bessie Allison and thus not her daughter. There is little documentary evidence that has been provided to substantiate Kramer’s claim put in the public record and the DNA results makes the claim unproven.

Hat tip and thanks to Paul Lee.

1. Loraine Allison(Encyclopedia Titanica)
2. The Last Titanic Mystery-The True Story of the Helen Loriane Allison
A website run by Kramer’s granddaughter that supports her grandmother’s claim.
3. thingsthatannoymethescum
A blog that looked into some aspects of Kramer’s claims
4. Loraine Allison Identification Project
A rival site of the granddaughter and disclosed the DNA information that testing was negative.
5. Kramer Claim Discussion on Encyclopedia Titanica
Debrina Woods,the granddaughter of Helen Kramer,started a discussion about her grandmother being Lorraine Allison. Some interesting bits of information that cut Kramer’s story to shreds are to be found there.