Titanic II May Sail After All

titanic two

titanic two

Some have said it’ll never happen. Titanic II, a modern-day replica of the original Titanic, was supposed to have set sail in 2016. But due to financial difficulties and other setbacks, her launch was delayed until this year. Now, Australia’s millionaire Clive Palmer claims the ship will, in fact, launch in 2022 and be the flagship for the new Blue Star Line cruise company.

The ocean liner will feature the same design and layout as RMS Titanic but be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and safety equipment.

“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivalled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits,” states Palmer.

 
Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer

 

Titanic II’s two-week maiden voyage will begin in Dubai, then sail on to Southampton. The ship will have the exact number of cabins, passengers, and crew as Titanic did in April 1912. Ticket costs have yet to be determined.

The cost to build the ship is expected to be around $500 million. Construction is said to have begun in Nanjing, China, and a main office for Blue Star Line is planned for Paris. A stationary Titanic replica is currently under construction by another firm in China, and is set to open in 2019.

Would you like to sail on Titanic II? Personally, I would love to be in New York Harbor to welcome her, 110 years after her namesake was scheduled to arrive.

Photo credits: Wikipedia.org

References: foxnews.com, komonews.com, bigthink.com

Titanic Memorial dedicated in Michigan

For three long years, several Michigan residents and historians have wanted to recognize the 69 Michigan-bound passengers who were aboard the Titanic. Finally, on a drizzly day in May of this year, a memorial in their honor was unveiled on the banks of the St. Clair River in Nautical Park in Marine City.

memorial marine city

memorial marine city

The 69 passengers whose names are engraved on the memorial came from several countries. They traveled in first, second, and third class. Many did not survive. The memorial lists their names and Michigan destinations.

better closeup

better closeup

Among the 70 attendees at the memorial dedication was the descendant of one of the Michigan-bound survivors, Elizabeth Agnes Mary Davies. Her great-granddaughter, Martha Schinderle, shared with those in attendance some of her knowledge about Davies, who was bound for Houghton.

maggie and martha

maggie and martha

Margaret Micoff with Martha Schinderle

Margaret Micoff, founder of the Great Lakes Titanic Connection and Marine City resident, thanked all those who had played a part in seeing the memorial come to fruition. A dedication award was given to Titanic historian and author George Behe for his tireless hard work and friendship with the Great Lakes Titanic Connection.

george Behe and Maggie

george Behe and Maggie

Micoff presenting historian George Behe with award

The base of his award was constructed from an original piece of decking from Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship. Historians Floyd Andrick and David Kaplan, plus fashion historian Lynn Anderson contributed their knowledge of Titanic passengers. Following the unveiling of the memorial and a sparkling cider toast, the celebration continued with dinner and a viewing of The Titanic Musical at a local theater.

Along with the new Titanic memorial, Marine City is also home to the only official builder’s model of the ship. At 18 feet long, the model is housed at the Mariner Theater. Micoff hopes anyone with an interest in Titanic will pay a visit to her city and see these lovely remembrances of the disaster.

Photo credits: George Behe, Great Lakes Titanic Connection, voicenews.com

One Survivor's Happy Ending

In May 2016, I wrote the following post about third class passenger Sarah Roth. Quite recently I heard from two of her grand-nieces who have asked that I share some additional information about Sarah's family and the surviving members. I love to hear from readers, and especially anyone with a direct connection to those who experienced Titanic's one and only voyage. I believe it's important to keep their memory alive, including any up-to-date information. Today, I'm re-posting the original article, with the addition of what I have now learned about Sarah's family.

On April 18, 1912, the survivors of the Titanic left the Carpathia after it docked in New York City. Many of the sick and injured were taken by ambulance to nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital. Among them was 26-year-old Sarah Roth, an immigrant from England who had boarded Titanic as a third class passenger.

Sarah had been engaged for several years to Daniel Iles, a grocery warehouseman. Daniel emigrated to New York in 1911 and became a department store clerk, saving money until he had enough to send for Sarah. At home, Sarah waited and sewed her wedding dress. Finally, Daniel purchased Sarah’s third class ticket to New York on Titanic. They would meet in New York, where they would be married.

Carte-d-Inspection

Carte-d-Inspection

Sarah's inspection ticket, required for entry into the United States.

Sarah Roth letter

Sarah Roth letter

Letter from Sarah to her mother, written aboard Titanic

On board the ship, Sarah made friends with several passengers her age, including Emily Badman, mentioned in the above letter. When Titanic struck the iceberg, Sarah woke, sensing the ship had stopped moving. She dressed quickly and met her friends in the corridor, where they were initially told by a group of stewards that there was no need for alarm. She recalled later how a ship’s officer had prevented them from ascending a ladder to an upper deck. When they were finally allowed to use the ladder, most of the lifeboats had gone. Sarah and Emily ran toward the bow and managed to board one of the collapsible lifeboats. Sarah’s wedding dress went down with the ship.

At St. Vincent’s, the hospital staff soon learned of Sarah’s engagement to Daniel and wanted to bring some joy to the tragedy. They contacted Daniel, who professed his love for Sarah. A priest from Church of Our Lady of the Rosary agreed to officiate. Fellow survivor Emily would serve as maid-of-honor, and the Women’s Relief Committee would contribute a trousseau and bouquet.

st-vincents-ambulance

st-vincents-ambulance

Ambulance transporting a patient to St. Vincent's Hospital

stVincentsx633

stVincentsx633

Entrance to St. Vincent's, New York's first Catholic hospital

Titanic_survivors_at_St._Vincent's_Hospital_New_York_1912

Titanic_survivors_at_St._Vincent's_Hospital_New_York_1912

Titanic survivors at St. Vincent's

A newspaper reported, “The news of the impending wedding spread quickly through the hospital, and doctors, nurses, charity workers, patients and survivors begged to be allowed to witness the ceremony.” One of the volunteers helping at St. Vincent’s was the wealthy Mrs. Louise Vanderbilt. Following the ceremony, she was among the first of the well-wishers to congratulate the new Mr. and Mrs. Iles.

Sarah and Daniel made their home in Manhattan and had one son, named Albert Daniel. They moved to Connecticut, where Sarah died in 1947. Her husband Daniel died in 1966.

Sarah had two brothers, Harry and Samuel Roth. Harry's grandchildren, Sarah's great-nieces, have reached out to me in order to provide the following update about the living family members.

Harry had two children, Arthur and Viola. Sarah was their aunt. Arthur is now 96 years old and lives in South Carolina. He and his wife had three children, Karen, Pamela, and Charles Roth. Viola married and had four daughters--Louise, Janet, Joyce, and Carolyn. As children, they heard of Sarah's voyage and her marriage to Daniel Iles. All seven are living.

Albert, Sarah and Daniel's only child, did not have children of his own when he married, but his wife's child from a previous marriage has living descendants.

No doubt, these families will continue to share the story with generations to come of Sarah Roth and her narrow escape from the Titanic.

Photo credits: Wikimedia, Encyclopedia Titanica

Titanic in China

Welcome back to my blog about the RMS Titanic. I took a short hiatus due to moving, but I'm back to posting regularly again. As for writing updates, I’m still seeking publication of my novel about twelve-year-old Titanic survivor Ruth Becker, and I’m in the middle of writing a new novel, based on a true story that took place during the American Revolution. I love hearing from readers, so please continue to comment and share the posts with others.In 2017, we looked at the new Titanic replica being built in China—the first full-size replica of the ship ever constructed. Designed to be a tourist attraction and not actually sail anywhere, Titanic II (as some are calling it) is situated 930 miles from the nearest ocean, in Daying, Sichuan Provence. It will float, though, in a man-made reservoir to be built around it.

titanic-replica-sichuan

titanic-replica-sichuan

Construction site showing the hull interior, with insert of artist's rendering

National Public Radio recently checked on Titanic II’s progress. According to their report, the completion date was originally set for August 2017 but may still be a few years away, although the hull is finished. Inspired by the movie, Titanic, builder Su Shaojun of Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group hopes the ship will draw other movie fans, as well as anyone interested in the famous ship. Estimated to cost $145 million, plans initially called for a high-tech re-enactment of the iceberg collision, but those have been scrapped following criticism.

titanic II

titanic II

Closer view of artist's rendering of the future Titanic II

With 40 million people residing in the area, Titanic II is certain to attract thousands of visitors from China and around the world. Guests will be able to book a room on board and participate in period-correct games and activities. Meals served will replicate the original Titanic offerings.

If distance and expense were no objects, would you take a “voyage” on Titanic II?

Photo credits: Nationalpost.com, Thatsmags.com

Would you dive to the Titanic?

If a 2016 study is correct, now is the time to visit the Titanic wreck site. According to the study, bacteria could dissolve the sunken ship in as little as fifteen years. But for $105,129 per person, luxury travel company Blue Marble Private is offering a tour of the wreck, including a three-mile dive below the ocean’s surface to view Titanic’s decks, grand staircase, and the debris field.

titanic-on-the-ocean-floor1

titanic-on-the-ocean-floor1

Titanic's stern, resting on the ocean floor

The first eight-day adventure, beginning on the coast of Newfoundland, will take place in May 2018.

Led by experts from OceanGate Expeditions, travelers will see the ship in a “specially designed titanium and carbon fibre submersible,” according to the company’s web site. Everyone will participate in the exploration, and talks on history, marine biology, and diving will be included.

ROV hercules.jpg

ROV hercules.jpg

ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Hercules during a visit to the Titanic site in 2004

Open to just nine individuals at a time, the tour is already sold out. More expeditions are scheduled for 2019. Aside from the considerable cost, would you like to sign up?

Photo credits: knowledgeseeker.wikispaces.com, imgarcade.com

The Boxers on the Titanic

Dai Bowen and Leslie Williams couldn’t believe their luck. The young Welsh boxers had been chosen out of hundreds of contenders to travel to the United States to compete in a series of boxing contests. An American sports promoter, Frank Torreyson, had paid for their passage across the Atlantic on the Lusitania and would act as their manager. But Leslie, 24, couldn’t go until his new clothes arrived from the tailor. After all, clothing would be more expensive in America, and he would be gone a year. So, with new clothing and all the good wishes of their families and boxing enthusiasts across Wales, the pair were rebooked on another ship sailing a few days later, the Titanic.

82481_dai_bowen_treherbert

82481_dai_bowen_treherbert

Dai Bowen

leslie williams

leslie williams

Leslie Williams

David John “Dai” Bowen, 20, wrote to his mother on April 11, 1912, one day after Titanic left Southampton. He mailed the letter when the ship docked in Cherbourg, France.

“This is a lovely boat… she is like a floating palace, against you walk from one end of her to the other you are tired. We are landing in France the time I am writing you this, you don’t know whether she is moving or not for she goes very steady. Dear Mother, I hope that you won’t worry yourself about me, I can tell you that I am a lot better than I thought I would be, for we gets plenty of fun on board.”

He went on to tell his mother how good the food was, “but not as good as back home.”

The men traveled on one ticket as Third Class passengers, and planned to use the ship’s gymnasium to stay in shape for their American debuts. But the gym was reserved for First Class passengers only. Perhaps an exception was made for the two promising boxers.

When the Titanic struck an iceberg on the night of April 14 and sank, neither man survived. Dai Bowen’s body was not recovered. He was unmarried.

Leslie Williams’ body was recovered by the ship Mackay-Bennett and was buried at sea. He left behind a pregnant wife and young son. She eventually remarried and had several more children.

news after boxers die o n titanic

news after boxers die o n titanic

Newspaper article detailing benefit to take place to help the boxers' families after the sinking.

Photo credits: Boxinghistory.org.uk, Encyclopediatitanica.com.

Titanic in the News: Artifact Auction

In 1985, oceanographer Robert Ballard located the remains of the Titanic. Beginning in 1987, Premier Exhibitions Inc., the company responsible for the traveling Titanic exhibits, began a 30-year recovery of artifacts. Now, an auction of over 5,000 Titanic artifacts is scheduled for this November.

Titanic Artifacts

Titanic Artifacts

Eventually named “salvor-in-possession” by a US judge in 1994, Premier Exhibitions and its subsidiary RMS Titanic Inc. has recently filed for bankruptcy. They owe their creditors more than $10 million, and hope to pay them back as well as their stockholders with proceeds from a November auction.  In 1914, the value of the artifacts potentially up for auction was estimated by a fine arts appraiser to be at least $218 million.

A group of very interested buyers is led by James Cameron, Academy Award-winning director of the movie “Titanic”. Cameron has made several expeditions to the site of the ship’s sinking. Another member of the group is Titanic’s discoverer, Robert Ballard.

j cameron

j cameron

"Titanic" Director James Cameron

robert ballard

robert ballard

Robert Ballard

Ballard recently appeared in federal court to express his concerns about protecting the wreckage and the artifacts. “My fear…is that the artifacts could potentially disappear from public view, be damaged or lost to the world at large,” he told the court. He stated he represents the feelings of all the group members, including Cameron, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich in London, and the Titanic Belfast exhibition center. If the group is the highest bidder for the artifacts, it is hoped the items will be protected and preserved for generations to come.

Survivors of Titanic as well as rescuers have sold recovered items in the past, including two menus that sold for $140,000 in 2012, and a violin that raised $1.45 million at auction in 2013.

Some of the items up for auction will be a bronze cherub from the ship’s grand staircase, a sapphire-and-diamond ring, a steward’s jacket, and a silver-plated chocolate pot.

Ronald Reagan and the Titanic

A Titanic exhibit unlike any other has opened at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. None of the items on display were taken directly from the wreck itself. Instead, items carried off the ship by survivors, objects from the 1985 discovery of the wreck, and those pertaining to the 1997 movie Titanic are part of the 10,000-square foot exhibition. But why the Reagan Library? Was there a connection between the President and the Titanic?

titanic black and white original

titanic black and white original

When Titanic sank in 1912, most people believed the ship would never be found. Exactly where she rested was unclear, and a few expeditions through the years to her last known whereabouts failed to turn up any evidence.

But in 1985, everything changed. Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institution had worked with unmanned submersibles since the 1970s. He’d explored several shipwrecks, but finding the Titanic had always been his dream. Finally, after raising the funds for an expedition and partnering with a French research team, Ballard found the Titanic. The first photos of the ship as she lay on the ocean floor were seen on September 1, 1985. More information and photos were gathered during subsequent explorations.

Robert_Ballard

Robert_Ballard

Robert Ballard

Ballard wanted the wreck site to be left undisturbed, but many salvagers soon undertook their own expeditions and retrieved thousands of artifacts, at times causing controversy among descendants of passengers or crew and others who agree with Ballard. Today, the only official salvager is RMS Titanic Inc. The company is not allowed to sell any of the artifacts, but may use them for public display and charge admission to pay for its expeditions.

Titanic Artifacts

Titanic Artifacts

In 1986, President Reagan issued the International Maritime Memorial Act to protect the Titanic site and preserve it for generations to come. Following the passing of the Act, an international agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States was reached, which states the same policies as the Act but on an international scale.

At the Reagan Library exhibit, some of the items on display include Robert Ballard’s submersible, Alvin, that took him down to the wreck of the Titanic, sheet music found on the body of orchestra leader Wallace Hartley, and one of the ship's eight deck chairs known to still exist. Props and costumes from the Academy Award winning movie and many other items of interest can be seen by the public for the first time.

Reagan-Library-500x500

Reagan-Library-500x500

This is not a traveling exhibition, and will only be available for public viewing until January 7, 2018. Please enjoy the following video for more about the exhibit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EguqR4QYN2E

Photo credits: en.wikipedia.org, thehistoryblog.com, myscvcoa.org.

The Unstoppable Edwina Troutt

Her father, a cabinet maker, set wood aside to build her coffin soon after she was born. But the sickly baby defied her doctors and survived. And at the age of 27, Edwina Troutt survived the sinking of the Titanic. She later said, 'I felt I was saved for something.'

young edwina

young edwina

Edwina Troutt

Edwina Celia Troutt was born June 8, 1884 in Bath, England. She endured a chronic lung condition and developed pneumonia as a teenager, which left her with only one functioning lung. Still in her youth, failing eyesight and inflamed joints added to her troubles, but she refused to let anything keep her from living her life to the fullest. She became a pre-school teacher and worked in her brother-in-law's shop, then crossed the Atlantic for the first time at age 23 on a dare from friends. She planned to stay five years in New England, working in New Jersey and then in Massachusetts. But the cold New England winters were too much for her compromised respiratory system, and she returned to Bath six months early. However, her sister Elise, also living in Massachusetts by then, was about to give birth and asked Edwina (Winnie) to return, so she booked a second class cabin aboard the Titanic for the voyage back to New York.

Winnie roomed with two other single women and made more friends on board, playing cards and exchanging stories with them. On Sunday, April 14th, she prepared for bed but didn't completely undress. When the ship struck the iceberg and the engines were stopped, Winnie hurried to investigate. She returned to the cabin to help her roommates to the Boat Deck. At first, Winnie stood back and watched the loading of the lifeboats and thought it sad that so many newly-married couples were being separated. Then, third class passenger Charles Thomas from Lebanon approached, holding a baby. He'd been separated from his sister-in-law, the baby's mother, and was imploring anyone within earshot to take the baby aboard a lifeboat.

Winnie immediately took the baby and boarded the next lifeboat. Later, she wrote, 'I felt I was saved for something, so I vowed never to quarrel and always be kind to the sick and elderly.' Four years later, she moved to California and met her first husband, Alfred Peterson.

edwina-troutt and peterson

edwina-troutt and peterson

Alfred and Edwina Peterson in 1923

He died in 1944, and Winnie married twice more. She became a US citizen and worked for several civic organizations. She participated in the reunions of Titanic survivors, and is remembered for her outrageous sense of humor and pleasant personality. She traveled the world to speak about the Titanic, crossing the Atlantic at least ten more times by ship.

EdwinaTroutt-Mackenzie

EdwinaTroutt-Mackenzie

Edwina Troutt Peterson Corrigan Mackenzie died in California in 1984, at the age of 100.

Photo credits: denverpost.com, encyclopediatitanica.org

The $250,000 Fur Coat and the Woman Who Wore It

Last month in Great Britain, a fur coat that once belonged to a stewardess on the Titanic sold at auction for GBP150,000 (more than $250,000 in US dollars). The coat was worn by Mabel Bennett, a first class stewardess, as she entered Lifeboat 5.

fur coat

fur coat

Mabel was born in England in 1878, the seventh of ten children. In her twenties, she became a domestic servant, living away from home. She married in 1905 and had one daughter, also named Mabel. By 1911, she was living with her sister and brother-in-law and working at sea. She worked as a stewardess aboard the Olympic, one of Titanic’s sister ships, and signed on to the Titanic with her brother-in-law and nephew, who worked as stewards.

mabel bennett

mabel bennett

Mabel Bennett, 33, soon after the sinking of the Titanic

On the night of the sinking, Mabel grabbed her fur coat and headed to the lifeboats. She and her brother-in-law survived, but her nephew perished. Mabel and other surviving stewardesses returned to England after rescue by the Carpathia.

titanic stweardesses

titanic stweardesses

A group of surviving Titanic stewardesses returning to England. Mabel's family verified she is 6th from the left, behind the railing.

What happened to her first marriage is unknown, but Mabel remarried in 1918. She died on her 96th birthday, and out of all the surviving female crewmembers, Mabel is believed to have lived the longest.

Her great-niece wrote the following in a letter accompanying the coat.

"On her rescue from the Titanic she was in her nightdress and this coat was the first garment she snatched for warmth. My aunt gave me the coat in the early 60s, because of her advancing years she found the weight of the coat too much for her."

After her death, the coat was nearly given away to charity by mistake. But it remained in the family until 2000, when it was first given up for auction. The amount at this year's auction is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a collectible coat.

Photo credits: Eskside.co.uk, EncyclopediaTitanica.com, FoxNews.com

A Titanic Timeline Part II

Last time, we began with a glimpse into Titanic’s maiden voyage, beginning with the preparations in Southampton on April 5, 1912. On Sailing Day, April 10th, Titanic departed Southampton on what would be her only voyage, carrying 2,208 passengers and crew.

leaving southampton

leaving southampton

Titanic departing Southampton April 10, 1912

The Titanic headed across the English Channel for Cherbourg, France, where 24 passengers disembarked and 274 passengers came aboard via tenders. Just after 8:00 pm, the ship was again under way. The first dinner on board had been served in all classes, and passengers spent the evening acquainting themselves with the ship, preparing their children for bed, or strolling the pristine outside decks to gaze at the brilliant canopy of stars.

April 11. At 11:30 am, Titanic dropped anchor two miles offshore at Queenstown, Ireland. Tenders transported 120 passengers and 1,385 sacks of mail to the ship. Two hours later, the Titanic headed out to sea. For most of those on board, they would not see land again.

last_titanic_photo leaving Queenstown

last_titanic_photo leaving Queenstown

Last photo of the ship as it left Queenstown

April 12. Passengers spent the next three days enjoying the ship’s many amenities. Even third class passengers marveled at the bright and spacious public rooms and delicious food. There were few scheduled activities, other than dining hours.

April 13. First class passengers looked forward to the noon posting each day in the smoking room of the previous day’s run. From Thursday, April 11 to Friday, April 12, the ship traveled 386 nautical miles. From Friday April 12 to Saturday April 13, 519 miles, and from Saturday April 13 to Sunday April 14, 546 miles were logged.

titanicsmoking room

titanicsmoking room

April 14. On Sunday, a church service was held in the first class dining saloon. The temperature dropped, and Titanic received several ice warnings over the wireless from other ships in the area. Around 6:00 pm, Captain Smith gave orders for her course to be altered slightly due to the warnings. At 10:00 pm, lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee took their post in the crow’s nest. At 11:30 pm, Fleet sighted an iceberg and warned the officers on the bridge. Quartermaster Robert Hichens responded immediately to the order to turn the ship ‘Hard-a-starboard.’ The ship turned, but not enough. Less than a minute passed from the moment Fleet sighted the iceberg to collision.

crows nest

crows nest

Crow's nest half-way up mast on left. The bridge, with several windows, is behind it on top deck

April 15. With approximately 1500 passengers and crew still on board, the RMS Titanic sank in the north Atlantic at 2:20 am. Hundreds fell to their deaths, drowned, or died of hypothermia in the frigid waters. All twenty lifeboats, many carrying fewer than their capacity, drifted in a calm, frigid sea until dawn. The RMS Carpathia, having received Titanic’s distress calls, raced through the ice field to rescue the surviving 712 men, women, and children. Carpathia passengers and crew did their best to accommodate and comfort those from the Titanic. Captain Arthur Rostron set a course for New York.

lifeboats_at_carpathia

lifeboats_at_carpathia

Titanic lifeboat alongside Carpathia

Photo credits: Encyclopedia-titanica.org, irishecho.com, maritimequest.com

A Titanic Timeline

On this day in 1912, 2208 passengers and crew had five days until their departure from Southampton on the RMS Titanic. They came from 27 different nations and all walks of life. Many of the passengers were returning to the United States following their honeymoons, vacations, or business travels. Most had never been to America, but dreamed of a new life there. For them, these last five days would be filled with preparations, good-byes, tears, and anticipation. No one had any idea of the tragedy that would soon befall them.

1280px-Titanic_in_Southampton

1280px-Titanic_in_Southampton

April 5, Good Friday. The Titanic had passed her sea trials in Belfast and departed for Southampton, arriving in port on April 3rd. A long coal strike led several shipping companies to cancel their voyages. White Star Line sent coal from their other ships in port to Titanic, and the ship was ‘dressed’ in colorful flags and pennants as a salute to the city of Southampton.

officers

officers

Titanic officers, with their white-bearded Captain Edward Smith

April 6. The coal strike settled and hiring began in earnest for most of Titanic’s crew. The seaman of Southampton, eager to get back to work, jammed the White Star Line hiring hall. Senior officers received assignments. Dishes, cutlery, and glassware began to arrive. Once on board, everything had to be counted and listed on the inventory before it was stored. General cargo started to arrive—crates and cartons of all manner of goods being shipped to North America.

TitanicCrane

TitanicCrane

A crane aboard Titanic used to lift cargo to the ship

April 7, Easter Sunday. All work was halted for the day, and the waterfront was deserted. Only the ship’s bell was heard, marking the hours.

April 8. Work resumed, and with only three days left until departure, many final tasks had yet to be completed. Trains brought fresh supplies to the docks, including all the food and beverages required to feed everyone on board for the week-long voyage to New York. Any last-minute problems were addressed, and every detail checked.

April 9. Thomas Andrews, Titanic’s chief architect, worked tirelessly on board, checking that all was in proper working order and noting changes he or the owner, J. Bruce Ismay, wished to make for future voyages. He wrote to his wife that evening, “The Titanic is now complete, and will I think do the old Firm credit tomorrow when we sail.”

thomas-andrews-283620-1-402

thomas-andrews-283620-1-402

Thomas Andrews

April 10. Sailing Day. Captain Smith boarded around 7:30 a.m. Crew members came up the gangways and mustered together on various decks for orders. Passengers began to arrive around 9:30 a.m. Just before noon, Captain Smith gave the order for the whistles to be blown, announcing Titanic’s imminent departure.

Leaving Southampton

Leaving Southampton

The RMS Titanic leaving Southampton

Next time, we’ll look at the following five days for Titanic. They were to be her last.

Photo credits: Encyclopediatitanica.com, Oocities.org, Spitfiresite.com

Thank you for reading! I so appreciate your following this blog, as well as your “likes” and comments. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions ❤

Titanic's Haitian Passenger

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic departed Southampton, England and made its first stop in Cherbourg, France at 6:30 pm. Two tenders carried 281 passengers to the ship, representing 26 nationalities. Among those boarding in Cherbourg was Joseph Laroche, his wife Juliette, and their daughters, three-year-old Simonne and 21-month-old Louise. Joseph was the only black passenger to board the ship. The Laroche family were bound for Haiti, where Joseph, 25, had been born.

laroche_01

laroche_01

Joseph Laroche and family

During the 17th century, a French nobleman named Laroche had arrived in Haiti and married a native girl. The family had prospered, and years later, Joseph’s uncle became Haiti’s president. At age 15, Joseph left Haiti to study engineering in France, under the supervision of the Bishop of Haiti. He completed his studies, obtained an engineering position with the Paris underground, and studied English. He met his English teacher’s sister, Juliette Lafargue, and the two were married in 1908. Simonne was born the following year.

Due to racial discrimination, Joseph had difficulty finding a well-paying engineering position in France. When Juliette became pregnant with their third child in 1912, Joseph decided to move his family back to Haiti, where his uncle, the president, had arranged a job for him as a math teacher.

Joseph LaRoche

Joseph LaRoche

Joseph Laroche

Joseph’s mother was overjoyed to have her son and his family moving home. She paid for their first class accommodations on the liner SS France. But when Joseph and Juliette learned the ship did not allow children to dine with their parents, they cancelled their reservations and booked second class tickets on the Titanic instead.

La-gare-de-1912-501x330

La-gare-de-1912-501x330

Passenger boarding area in Cherbourg in 1912

On the night of Titanic's sinking, Joseph put his wife and daughters into a lifeboat. They were rescued and taken aboard the Carpathia, but Joseph perished. His body was not recovered.

Juliette and other grief-stricken young mothers on the Carpathia soon needed diapers for their children. They hid their dinner napkins by sitting on them, and put them to use as diapers.

res_1078955869_Enveloppe_Laroche

res_1078955869_Enveloppe_Laroche

Envelope used to hold Titanic boarding passes, saved by Juliette Laroche

Juliette and her daughters were taken in temporarily by a charity in New York. She decided not to continue on to Haiti, but returned to France with the girls, where she could again be near her aging father, a widower. One month later, her son was born. She named him Joseph, after his late father.

Juliette never discussed the Titanic with anyone. Many years later in 1994, her daughter Louise met with a founding member of the Association Francaise du Titanic.“We had all been terribly affected. My mother had great difficulty talking about the disaster and she kept those atrocious images with her the rest of her life. We also received no compensation until 1918 and so ran into extreme financial difficulty.”

With the money she received six years after the disaster, Juliette opened a small fabric-dying business, which helped support her family. The girls stayed close to their mother and never married, but Juliette's son Joseph married and had three children.

In 1995, Louise helped unveil a stone marker in Cherbourg to commemorate the passengers who boarded the Titanic there 83 years earlier.

louise

louise

Louise Laroche

In 2003, a three-act opera based on the life of Joseph Laroche premiered at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photo credits: Cherbourg-titanic.com, Encyclopediatitanica.com

Titanic's Big Game Hunter

Thomas Drake emigrated from England to Pennsylvania in 1829, opened a fabric mill, and began manufacturing denim. Soon, he was making jeans under the trademark, ‘Kentucky Blue Jeans.’ He became the cloth supplier for the Union Army uniforms during the Civil War, and increased his wealth through various investments. When he died in 1890, his only surviving child, Charlotte, inherited his fortune, plus the family mansion, Montebello. Located in Germantown, Pennsylvania, it occupied a full square block.

et_6_montebello

et_6_montebello

Montebello, home of Charlotte Cardeza

At age 20, Charlotte had married James Cardeza, the grandson of a Portuguese Count, and had one son, Thomas. When Charlotte discovered that James had a mistress as well as another child, the marriage ended in divorce. As Thomas grew, the independently wealthy Charlotte traveled with him around the globe. She purchased a luxurious ocean-going yacht for their excursions, named the Eleanor. They traveled to the world’s most exotic ports with a crew of 39, and Charlotte soon preferred the Eleanor to Montebello, which she considered to be only her summer home.

et_7_eleanor

et_7_eleanor

The Eleanor

A long-time associate of Charlotte wrote that she had a “wonderful mind, a splendid knowledge of literature, conversant with the best in music and art ... perhaps the most outstanding characteristic was her kindness, particularly to the poor and those in trouble.”

charlotte-cardeza

charlotte-cardeza

Charlotte Drake Cardeza

Charlotte and Thomas became big game hunters, bagging tigers, lions, and wild boar on African and Indian safaris. Charlotte became known as the best female hunter in America. In April 1912, they were returning to Pennsylvania following an African safari and a visit to Thomas’s hunting property in Hungary. Rather than take the Eleanor, mother and son booked passage on the Titanic, perhaps due to Thomas’s ill health.

cardeza_cw5

cardeza_cw5

Charlotte on safari

They brought along 14 trunks, three large packing crates, four suitcases, Charlotte’s maid, and Thomas’s valet. They booked the most expensive suite of rooms on the ship, which included two bedrooms, a wardrobe room, a sitting room, a bath, and a 50-foot private promenade.

thomas-cardeza

thomas-cardeza

Thomas Cardeza

As the lifeboats were loaded following the collision with the iceberg, Charlotte managed to convince the crew to allow Thomas to board Lifeboat 3 with her, along with their maid and valet. Also on Lifeboat 3 were the Speddens. Mrs. Spedden later recorded in her diary an account of that night, and historians believe the following passage refers to Charlotte Cardeza:

“One fatwoman in our boat had been a handful all along, for she never stopped talking and telling the sailors what to do… As we approached (the Carpathia) “our woman” promptly sprang up in order to get off first, when we had been warned to sit still, and it gave me the greatest satisfaction to grab her by her lifebelt and drag her down. She fell in the bottom of the boat with her heels in the air and was furious because we held her there till we were alongside the Carpathia when we were charmed to let her go up in the sling first.”

Charlotte later sued the White Star Line for the loss of her valuables. The amount of the claim, nearly 36,000 British pounds, or around $178,000, was the highest of any passenger. She finally settled down at Montebello when her health began to fail, and died in 1939. She was 85.

She left several priceless paintings to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a generous yearly stipend to her maid. Most of her estate was left to Thomas. The same year, Thomas and his wife, Mary, gave a $5,000,000 endowment to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to found the Charlotte Drake Cardeza Foundation. Mary suffered from a chronic blood disorder, and the specific purpose of the Foundation was to be for research in diseases of the blood. Its work continues today, with renowned research and educational programs.

Photo credits: aftitanic.free.fr, encyclopediatitanica.com

A brave young immigrant

When Anna Sophia Turja of Finland boarded the Titanic in Southampton on April 10, 1912, she looked forward to starting a new life in America at the home of her sister and brother-in-law. The couple had paid for Anna’s third class passage, and she planned to work in her brother-in-law’s store in Ashtabula, Ohio.

anna-t-at-young-age

anna-t-at-young-age

Anna Sophia Turja

Anna, 18,  shared a cabin with two women from Finland and one of the women’s two young children. She was fascinated with the size of Titanic and all it had to offer, even for third class passengers. On the night of April 14, Anna was awakened by what she described as a shudder. Unconcerned, she remained in bed until a brother of one of the women came to their door, telling them to get dressed and get up on deck, “unless you want to find yourselves at the bottom of the ocean.”

3rd-class-staircase

3rd-class-staircase

Third class stairway on Titanic

Not believing they were in any real danger, the women took their time dressing. They made their way through the maze of corridors and stairways, until a crewmember ordered them to stop. When they refused, he let them pass, but locked the doors behind them. None of the group spoke English. Anna stated, “We were not told what happened, but had to do our own thinking.”

On the Boat Deck, Anna and her friends listened to the ship’s orchestra until after midnight. The crew worked quietly to get women and children to the lifeboats, but Anna was certain the Titanic wouldn’t sink and they would be safe. She wandered to a lower deck, where a crewman grabbed her and put her into a lifeboat, possibly Lifeboat 15. She did not see her friends again.

lifeboats

lifeboats

Two Titanic lifeboats as seen from Carpathia

After watching the Titanic sink, Anna later recalled the worst part of the entire night. "The voices, the screams and the cries for help of those left on the deck as the ship went under…”

On board the Carpathia following rescue, Anna remembered the kindnesses shown to the Titanic survivors by the Carpathia’s passengers. "The people were so wonderful," she said. “For me it was a welcome to America, even under the circumstances."

the-titanic-survivors-on-the-carpathia_i-g-46-4612-fwjfg00z

the-titanic-survivors-on-the-carpathia_i-g-46-4612-fwjfg00z

Survivors aboard the Carpathia

After their arrival in New York, rather than being processed through Ellis Island, Anna and the other immigrants who survived the Titanic were sent to local hospitals. The Red Cross and other organizations provided clothing and immediate needs, and White Star Line paid her hospital bill. Anna was sent on to her destination, Ashtabula, Ohio, by train.

aturja1-again

aturja1-again

Anna Turja

A few weeks later at her sister’s home, Anna learned that somehow her name hadn’t been on any of the survivor lists in the Finnish papers. Her family there had thought she had died, until she could write to them.

Anna soon met her brother-in-law’s brother, Emil Lundi. They were later married and had seven children and 18 grandchildren. She never did go to work for her brother-in-law, and never learned to speak English. Her son, Martin Lundi, who later became a Lutheran minister, acted as interpreter during interviews. In 1953, he and his mother were invited to attend a showing of a new Titanic movie, starring Barbara Stanwyk. It was the first movie she had ever seen. Afterwards, Anna turned to her son in tears and asked, “If they were so close to take those pictures, why didn't someone help us?” It took some time to convince his mother the movie was not real.

anna-t-later-years

anna-t-later-years

Anna Turja Lundi

Anna outlived Emil by 30 years. She died in California in 1982 at the age of 89. She is buried in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Photo credits: Art.com, encyclopediatitanica.com, Titanicuniverse.com

Immigrants on the Titanic

With so many discussions of immigration at the forefront of today’s news, let’s take a look at the immigrants who boarded the Titanic. What were the immigration requirements in 1912? What happened to the immigrants who managed to survive the disaster, and how were they treated upon their arrival in New York? Between the 1880s and the 1920s, the United States experienced a great wave of immigrants pouring into the country. Between 1880 and 1900, 9 million immigrants arrived by ship in New York City. To accommodate such a large number, a new processing station was built on Ellis Island in 1892. In 1907, one million immigrants came through Ellis Island, the most in any one-year period.

EllisIslandProcessing.jpg

Immigration processing at Ellis Island

Not every would-be immigrant was admitted to the United States. Some were sent back to their homelands if they had certain illnesses or infirmities. Others were sent to the Ellis Island hospital, or were detained while a relative recovered or until a relative or friend already living in the United States could claim them.

Each person received a brief physical examination on arrival, including a check for trachoma, a highly contagious eye infection. He or she was asked several questions regarding destination, plans for employment, and health. They were questioned whether they had ever been in a poorhouse, an asylum, or had ever had a serious illness. The main goal for federal authorities was to determine if the person could work or would otherwise become a burden to society. Men were also asked if they were polygamists. The wrong answer to any of these questions could prevent the person from entering the country.

trachoma

Ellis Island arrivals examined for trachoma

Before air travel, shipping companies profited from the millions of people who wished to start new lives in America. The majority of passengers on trans-Atlantic voyages were immigrants. Many liners were overcrowded and unsanitary. The White Star Line operated several larger ships, and advertised their size and comfort. Their new Olympic class ships, Oceanic (1911), Titanic (1912), and Britannic (1914) would be the safest ships afloat and the most luxurious, even for those traveling in steerage.

On Titanic’s first and only voyage in April 1912, steerage passengers made up over half the number of passengers on the ship, and most were immigrants. White Star Line, as all the shipping companies did at the time, cooperated with the US immigration laws by screening immigrants prior to the voyage. Their names, ages, and destinations were documented on the passenger manifest.

waiting-to-embark-on-tender-to-rms-titanic1

Passengers waiting to board Titanic in Queenstown, Ireland

When the Titanic sank, over three-quarters of the 709 third-class passengers were killed. The passenger manifest was also lost. Aboard the Carpathia following rescue, the crew assembled a new manifest of the survivors. In New York, federal immigration officers waived the usual examinations for the immigrant survivors. When the Carpathia arrived, the stop at Ellis Island was suspended, and the new immigrants from the Titanic were sent to hospitals or immigrant hostels. Their paperwork was processed later.

crowd-new-york-awaiting-survivors-titanic-arrive-aboard-carpathia-following-sinking-titanic

Crowd waiting to greet survivors in New York

Not all surviving immigrants from the Titanic remained in the United States. Although none were rejected by immigration officials, the disaster changed their lives. With many of their loved ones lost in the sinking, some immigrants soon chose to return to their place of birth. Others settled in America, determined to continue with their plans.

In my next post, we’ll visit 18-year-old passenger Anna Turja from Finland, who did just that.

Photo credits: EncyclopediaTitanica.org, LibertyEllisFoundation.org

The Queen of the Seas: Then and Now

Even before her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, the RMS Titanic was sometimes called the Queen of the Seas. She was the largest and most elegant ocean liner in the world, and would surpass all other ocean-going passenger ships in size, speed, and luxury. Tragically, she collided with an iceberg on her debut voyage and sank, killing over 1500 passengers and crewmembers. Today, a new Queen makes regular transatlantic crossings. The RMS Queen Mary 2, built in 2003, is the only ocean liner in service between Southampton and New York, and has claimed the title of the largest ocean liner ever built, once held by Titanic.  At 1,132 feet long, the Queen Mary 2 surpasses Titanic's length of 882.5 feet by 249.5 feet.

qm2

Cunard's Queen Mary 2

Designed to be an ocean liner, the QM2 was built using 40% more steel than most of today’s cruise ships. Her top speed is 30 knots, with a cruising speed of 26 knots. In comparison, Titanic’s maximum speed was between 24 and 25 knots.

Instead of running on coal-powered steam as Titanic did, the Queen Mary 2 has a propulsion system including 4 diesel engines and 2 gas turbines.

What are some other comparisons between the Queen Mary 2 and the Titanic?

Passengers and Crew

Titanic was capable of carrying 3,547 passengers and crew. On her maiden voyage, approximately 2,208 were aboard, including 885 crew members.

The Queen Mary 2 has a passenger capacity of 2,695 and carries 1,253 crew members.

Decks

Titanic had 9 decks. The QM2 has 14 passenger decks with 18 total decks.

titanic-deck

Passengers stroll near lifeboats aboard Titanic

qm2-decks

A view of some of QM2's decks as the ship navigates New York Harbor

Dining

The Titanic had three large dining rooms, one for each class. The Parisian Café and Veranda Café were also available to first class passengers.

saloon

Titanic's first class dining saloon

The Queen Mary 2 has 15 restaurants and bars for the use of all passengers.

britannia-restaurant-qm2

The Britannia Restaurant aboard Queen Mary 2

Entertainment

Most of Titanic’s passenger facilities (swimming pool, Turkish baths, gymnasium, squash court) were for first class passengers only. First and second class each had their own library, and smoking rooms for men only. Reading and writing rooms were available for the ladies. Third class passengers could use the General Room for conversation, games, and music.

The QM2 boasts an unprecedented number of activities for its passengers, including dancing in the largest ballroom at sea, 5 swimming pools, sports and fitness activities, a planetarium, children’s program, singers, dancers, and comedians, and a full-service spa.

Lifeboats

Titanic carried 20 lifeboats, with a total capacity of 1,178. Following the disaster, new maritime laws required all sea-going vessels to have enough lifeboats for every passenger and crew, plus one-third.

titanic-lifeboats

Lifeboats aboard Titanic

The Queen Mary 2 life-saving equipment consists of two fast 6-person rescue boats (up to 25 knots), 14 150-person semi-enclosed lifeboats (6 knots), and eight 150-person combination tender/lifeboats. In addition, the ship has life rafts with a capacity of 37 persons each.

qm2-lifeboats

Lifeboats on Queen Mary 2

Cost

The cost of a third class ticket on Titanic, in today’s prices, would run from $298 - $793.

Queen Mary 2 offers several different prices for a one-way voyage from New York to Southampton, depending on the type of room. A standard inside cabin starts at $1,099 per person.

 

Photo credits: Cunard.com, Encyclopediatitanica.com

Titanic Today

Although the RMS Titanic sank nearly 105 years ago, the ship is still making news. Documentaries, books, movies, exhibits, and conferences about Titanic continue to draw our attention. Now, there’s even a video-on-demand Titanic Channel! Here’s a sampling of the latest news about the ship:

Did a fire cause Titanic to sink? A 2017 New Year’s Day British television documentary, “Titanic: The New Evidence,” claimed a coal fire in one of Titanic’s bunkers was the real cause of her sinking. According to the documentary, newly-discovered photographs taken before Titanic left the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast reveal a long black mark on the ship’s starboard side. Experts claim the mark was likely caused by a coal fire, which could have weakened the hull. When the ship struck an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, the already damaged hull didn’t stand a chance.

04titanic-master768

04titanic-master768

Titanic leaving Southampton on April 10, 1912

Not everyone agrees with the documentary’s findings, however. On Encyclopedia Titanica’s Facebook page, for example, many Titanic experts state the findings are “old news” and largely false. Bunker fires in coal-burning ships were common at the time, and although Titanic did have a fire in one of her bunkers, it was not severe enough or in the area that would have caused the mark in the photograph. The fire was extinguished prior to striking the iceberg, and it did not damage the ship’s hull.

Titanic in China

The Chinese are constructing a full-size replica of the Titanic, although it will be permanently docked on a river. Slated to open near the end of 2017, the tourist attraction in Sichuan will be an exact reproduction of the ship, down to the last detail. At a cost of over one billion yuan, developers claim that visitors will be able to experience what life was like aboard the luxurious liner. Even the moment the Titanic struck the iceberg will be reproduced using high-tech simulators.

161201155929-china-titanic-05-exlarge-169

161201155929-china-titanic-05-exlarge-169

Titanic China under construction

Titanic Belfast 2017

Among the many international exhibits and events focusing on the Titanic this year, perhaps the most publicized will be the Titanic Gathering in Belfast. The city where the ship was built is already the home of the world’s top-rated tourist attraction, Titanic Belfast. The April 14-15 gathering will coincide with the 105th anniversary of the sinking, and will feature expert speakers, discussions, tours, and all things Titanic. Relatives of the ship’s passengers and crew will attend, as well as authors of Titanic books and hundreds of Titanic enthusiasts from around the globe.

titanic-belfast

titanic-belfast

Photo credits: EncyclopediaTitanica.com, CNN.com, TitanicBelfast.com

The Man at the Wheel

When 23-year-old Robert Hichens married in 1906, his marriage certificate stated his occupation as “master mariner.” Indeed, he had served aboard numerous ships, including mail boats and small liners, usually in the position of quartermaster. But until he was hired in April of 1912 as one of Titanic’s six quartermasters, his experience at sea did not include the North Atlantic.

robert-hichens-crew

robert-hichens-crew

Titanic Quartermaster Robert Hichens

At 10:00 p.m. on April 14th, Hichens relieved another quartermaster at the ship’s wheel, his fourth time at that post since the ship had left Southampton. The air temperature dropped as the ship continued on course through calm waters. When the lookouts in the crow’s nest sited the iceberg ahead, they immediately telephoned the bridge. First Officer William Murdoch gave Hichens the order, “Hard a’ starboard!” At the same time, Murdoch ordered the engines stopped and reversed.

Hichens correctly turned the wheel to port as far as it would go. Basically, this maneuver would cause the tiller to turn to starboard and the ship to turn to port, and pass to the left of the oncoming iceberg. It’s possible that if the Titanic had turned a little more, it might have missed the berg. But by stopping and reversing the engines, the ship slowed down, and many experts believe this made the collision a certainty. The iceberg scraped and bumped the ship along its starboard side, causing the rivets along the hull to pop open and water to rush into six of the ship's sixteen compartments.

lifeboat-6

lifeboat-6

Lifeboat 6 approaching RMS Carpathia

Later, as the lifeboats were loaded, Hichens was put in command of Lifeboat 6. It held just 28 passengers and crew, including Denver millionaire Margaret “Molly” Brown, but had a capacity for 65. Following rescue, passengers testified at the inquiries that Hichens refused to go back to try and save anyone in the water. They said he called the bodies “stiffs” and argued with those who were manning the oars. Hichens appeared at the American and British inquiries and denied all claims, stating the lifeboat was over a mile from the wreck site by the time the ship sank.

matania_hich

matania_hich

Robert Hichens testifying at Titanic Inquiry

Hichens returned to England and obtained work aboard various ships. He then began to drink heavily and was unable to find steady employment. After the breakup of his marriage, he was arrested for attempted murder. Following his release from prison in 1937, he died aboard a cargo ship in 1940 at the age of 58.

Photo credits: Encyclopedia Titanica, NYdailynews.com

The Car Aboard Titanic

Titanic’s cargo consisted of a wide variety of items being exported to America—everything from “dragon’s blood” used in cosmetics, cases of ostrich feathers for women’s hats, and even a rare copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Passengers, of course, brought along their trunks, furniture, other household items, and pets. The total value of the cargo would be valued at over $200 million today. Many artifacts have been found during expeditions to the wreck site, but one of the largest, a 1911 Renault Coupe de Ville, remains buried beneath the north Atlantic.

titaniccar

titaniccar

The Renault was produced from 1905-1914 and had a top speed of 35 mph. It was listed on the Titanic cargo manifest, a copy of which was safely aboard the Cunard liner Mauritania. It had been purchased in Europe by William Carter of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Lucile, boarded the Titanic at Southampton, along with their two children, a maid, a manservant, and a chauffeur.

cargo-list

cargo-list

Portion of Titanic's Cargo Manifest

In addition to the new Renault, the Carters also brought with them two dogs, a Spaniel and an Airedale. The family had previously moved to Europe, but spent summers in Bryn Mawr and Newport, Rhode Island. They planned to return to Bryn Mawr when the Titanic reached New York.

Shortly before Titanic sank, Carter managed to secure a place in the Collapsible Lifeboat C. His wife claimed he reached the Carpathia before she and the children did, and that he had deserted them during the loading of the boats. They were later divorced.

wm-carter

wm-carter

William Carter

The Renault, made famous in the film Titanic, was not conveniently parked in the hold but had actually been shipped in a large case, according to the cargo manifest, perhaps with some assembly required. Following rescue, Carter filed a claim with the White Star Line for $5000 for the car, and $100 and $200 for the dogs.

A fully restored Renault, made to the same specifications as Carter’s, sold in 2003 for $269,900.

Photo Credits: Foxnews.com, encyclopediatitanica.com