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#786534 - Sun Apr 15 2012 10:04 AM A Sad Anniversary
vendome Offline
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Registered: Sun May 21 2000
Posts: 1778
Loc: Body: PA USA Heart: Paris   
April 14, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This sad occasion and the ongoing interest in all aspects of the tragedy made me Google the various Titanic sites; stories about the survivors caught my interest. I hope you find them interesting as well.

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 96.

Elizabeth Shutes served as a family governess on board Titanic and was 40 years old at the time; she was among the passengers quickly ordered to the Sun Deck after the ship hit an iceberg. She later described the chaotic scene on the lifeboat, shortly before they were rescued by Carpathia: "Our men knew nothing about the position of the stars, hardly how to pull together. Two oars were soon overboard. The men’s hands were too cold to hold on…Then across the water swept that awful wail, the cry of those drowning people. In my ears I heard: ‘She’s gone, lads; row like hell or we’ll get the devil of a swell." Shutes was among those who reflected on "needless luxuries" aboard Titanic, which had been prioritized over lifeboats and other safety features.

Laura Mabel Francatelli, a 30-year old secretary from London, reflected later on the dramatic arrival of Carpathia: "Oh at daybreak, when we saw the lights of that ship, about 4 miles away, we rowed like mad, & passed icebergs like mountains, at last about 6:30 the dear Carpathia picked us up, our little boat was like a speck against that giant. Then came my weakest moment, they lowered a rope swing, which was awkward to sit on, with my life preserver 'round me. Then they hauled me up, by the side of the boat. Can you imagine, swinging in the air over the sea, I just shut my eyes & clung tight saying ‘Am I safe,?’ at last I felt a strong arm pulling me onto the boat.... "

White Star Chairman Bruce Ismay boarded a lifeboat to safety and was criticized by many for his decisions regarding Titanic. A letter from his wife, Florence, reveals the relief she felt upon realizing he had made it through the disaster alive: "...Only a week ago today...I watched that magnificent vessel sail away so proudly. I never dreamt of danger as I wished her Godspeed...I know so well what bitterness of spirit you must be feeling for the loss of so many precious lives & the ship itself that you loved like a living thing. We have both been spared to each other, let us try to make our lives of use in the world." At left is their wedding photo.

Among the most poignant tales is that of Michel and Edmond Navratil, who were known as the "Titanic orphans." The two boys were only two and four years old at the time they boarded the ship with their father, Michel Navratil, Sr., a Slovakian tailor who was recently separated from their French mother, Marcell. She had allowed Navratil, Sr. to take the boys over Easter break. Little did she know that he had arrived on the Titanic on April 12, 1912, under the alias "Louis Hoffman" with the intention of moving to the United States. After the boat hit the iceberg, the boys were placed on the last lifeboat and then were rescued by the ship Carpathia. Their father tragically perished.

When the boys arrived in New York City, they were identified as "Louis" and "Lola"—names their father had given for the passage across the Atlantic. Fellow survivor Margaret Hays took them in while a frenzied search to find their mother began. But since the boys spoke French, it took weeks for their story to circulate back to their mother in Europe. Finally, just over a month later, she arrived in New York City where they were joyously reunited. Their mother, only 21 years old, did not ask them about the wreck but instead said, "I do not want them to think about that," she said. "They must only be happy from now on—only happy; no more distress." Edmond died at the age of 43 after fighting in the French Army during World War II. Michel Jr. lived longer than any other male Titanic survivor. He died in 2001 at the age of 99.

I'm amazed that so many of the survivors lived so long. A large percentage lives well into their 90s. I can't imagine my reaction if faced with such horror. Would I have the bravery, grace and dignity as the orchestra members who attempted to provide a calming of passengers by playing hymns or would I try to get int a lifeboat?
_________________________
I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
Yogi Berra

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#786734 - Mon Apr 16 2012 01:47 AM Re: A Sad Anniversary [Re: vendome]
mountaingoat Offline
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Registered: Fri Jun 22 2007
Posts: 384
Loc: Blue Mountains NSW Australia
I have always been fascinated with the Titanic story. Violet Jessops story is just amazing. The sinking of the Titanic forced the introduction of many safety features like enough life boats for all passengers and radio operators to be on duty around the clock, plus many others. The lessons learnt probably saved thousands of lives since.

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#786811 - Mon Apr 16 2012 11:29 AM Re: A Sad Anniversary [Re: mountaingoat]
vendome Offline
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Registered: Sun May 21 2000
Posts: 1778
Loc: Body: PA USA Heart: Paris   
mountaingoat - here is further information of Violet Jessp, the Titanic survivor. Her story is truly amazing.

Out of a crew of 885, the White Star Line employed just 23 women to work aboard ‘Titanic’. With the exception of the Turkish Bath Attendant, Two woman Cashiers from the à la carte restaurant, a masseuse and the Third class Matron, they were all stewardesses. With such a ratio of female crew to male, it would perhaps, be natural to assume that as a number of male crew survived the whole compliment of women did. Sadly, this was not so. Three of the women perished, Mrs. Lucy Violet Snape; Stewardess, Katherine Walsh; Stewardess and Mrs. Catherine Jane Wallis; Third Class Matron, perished.
Perhaps the most famous ‘Titanic’ crew woman was Miss Violet Jessop, a First class Stewardess. She was on board all three of the ‘Olympic’ class ships when accidents befell them. She was a Stewardess on the ‘Olympic’ during the collision with H. M. S. Hawke in 1911, also a Stewardess on ‘Titanic’ when she collided with an iceberg and subsequently foundered in 1912, and she was serving as a Nurse, (V.A.D) when the ‘Britannic’ struck a mine and sank in the Aegean in 1916. The last one had the most potential to be fatal; the Captain of the ship had her still going “full ahead” in an attempt to drive her into shallower water and Miss Jessop’s boat was sucked in and she has hit upon the head by one of the Propeller blades.
Violet was born on October 2nd 1887, in the Argentinean Pampas, to Irish parents: William and Katherine Jessop (nee Kelly). She was the first of nine children, of whom six survived; Violet, William, Phillip, Jack, Patrick and Eileen. Upon the death of their father, his widow moved them all to England. Katherine was then engaged as a Stewardess with the Royal Mail Line, (1903) and the four boys were sent to an Orphanage whilst Violet was left to care for Eileen (who was 15 years her junior). After a while, Violet and Eileen moved to a Convent in Kent, where Violet resumed her studies. In 1908 however, any hopes of further education for Violet were dashed b y her mother’s failing health. She was signed on with the Royal Mail Line and took her mother’s place as the family’s sole breadwinner.
Violet devoted her life to stewardship, her career was to last 42 years (spanning from 1908 to 1950) serving with 4 different companies.¹ She married, but it was a failure, with the couple splitting up soon after the event. (The failure would most likely have been due to her grueling work schedule) Sometime around 1930 she began to write her autobiography, under the pseudonym “Constance Ransom”.
She never had any children of her own, but she had a talent for caring. She was given a baby to hold by an Officer (who is thought to be the Sixth Officer, James Paul Moody);
“Before I could do anything, young Mason (Moody) hailed me and held up something, calling out as he prepared to throw it, “Look after this will you?” And I reached out to receive somebody’s forgotten baby in my arms. It started to whimper as I pressed it to me, the hard cork surface of the lifebelt being anything but a comfort, poor mite.”
He nieces also recall her love of young children and babies. When she retired she moved to a secluded country cottage where she lived out her days keeping chickens. She had Survived a Lung haemorrhage, Black Scarletina, and so many other ailments during childhood, it is perhaps a wonder she survived to live through two shipwrecks and two world wars, but some how she did, and during her career she cared for hundreds upon hundreds of person and gave so selflessly. She very rarely complained at all about her lot in life, just soldiered on with it. She left behind a Memoir rich with anecdotes and details of ships which are so useful, for example she was one of the few ‘Titanic’ survivors whose published memoirs take note of the conditions around her (like the lights through the portholes). She is also one of the few crew to have their memoirs published, and as a Stewardess has given a window into a totally different world, a long day in day out world of Servitude. And she bore it tolerably well.
_________________________
I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
Yogi Berra

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#787160 - Tue Apr 17 2012 08:55 PM Re: A Sad Anniversary [Re: vendome]
mountaingoat Offline
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Registered: Fri Jun 22 2007
Posts: 384
Loc: Blue Mountains NSW Australia
She could have made a living out of collecting money off shipping lines not to sail on their ships. The bad luck to be at so many historic events reminds me of the poor sod who was in Hiroshima for the first atomic bomb and returned to his home in Nagasaki in time for the second.

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