Lost Children of the Titanic: Michael and Edmond Navratil

Edmond and Michael Navratil, the so-called "Orphans of the Titanic.."photo courtesy Titanic Gazette@google.
Edmond and Michael Navratil, the so-called "Orphans of the Titanic.."photo courtesy Titanic Gazette@google.
Their Mother, Marcelle Navratil. Photo courtesy of TitanicUniverse@Google.
Their Mother, Marcelle Navratil. Photo courtesy of TitanicUniverse@Google.
The Titanic in port at Southampton, England. Courtesy of TitanicUniverse@google.
The Titanic in port at Southampton, England. Courtesy of TitanicUniverse@google.

By Gloria Siess {"Garnetbird"}

At approximately 11:40 pm, on April 14, 1912, Mr. Navratil placed his sons in the last remaining lifeboat leaving the Titanic. Their names were Michael, age 4, and Edmond, who was only 2. Michael remembers his father expressing his love for them and their mother (who was not present) and yearning for them to be reunited in America soon. Far from being traumatized by the immediate events, Michael said he enjoyed being "plopped" into the life boat, and remembers sitting next to the daughter of an American Banker, who had a small dog in her lap. Someone gave the brothers biscuits to munch as they waited to be rescued by The Carpathia in the unforgiving, frigid air of the North Atlantic.

Tragically, their father died along with 1507 others who could not find a life boat. He was found later in the high seas and buried in a Jewish Cemetary called Baron de Hirsch. The little boys were cared for by a kind lady named Margaret Hayes who spoke French. She later took them into her home when they reached New York. The papers went wild with the story, and dubbed them the "Titanic Orphans," as no one had come forth to claim kinship.

Their Mother, Marcelle, who was living in France, saw the headlines and quickly came to the United States to claim her babies. Apparently the father had boarded the Titanic under a fictional name, unbeknowst to Mrs. Navratil. She did not know her sons had survived one of the greatest disasters of the 20th century until she saw their pictures in the paper.

Michael Navratil lived to be in his nineties, and was present when some of the salvage excusions were preformed in the North Atlantic. Fifty-three children survived in the life boats that horrible night, while all too often their fathers and/or mothers perished in the dark, sullen cold of the sea.

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Comments 18 comments

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thank you for a really fascinating snippet from history.


Seakay profile image

Seakay 6 years ago from Florida

Great read, thank you!


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you for reading! Isn't it sad that their father perished. If they hadn't been placed in the last life boat, they, too, would have died.


"Quill" 6 years ago

Hi GarnetBird... as always an excited and stirring read of days past. When I think of the terror those people must have felt being separated and yet to think first of others it must have been a sight. A great loss for many... sad but a reality.

Blessings and Hugs


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you, Quill--what a world we live in!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

I enjoyed this fascinating read, thank you! Lots of puzzling things: why did Mr Navratil board the ship under an assumed name; did Marcelle not know the children were aboard the Titanic; did she read the paper by chance or was she looking for news about her children? Interesting.

Thanks for this Hub.

Love and peace

Tony


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you for reading!I enjoyed your comments.


susanlang profile image

susanlang 5 years ago

This was insightful and fascinating. I watched the re-make movie of the Titanic more than once and always listen when people talk about it's history.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Hi, Susan--NICE to hear from you again!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

There must be so many special family stories associated with that disaster.

Thanks for telling us about this one :)


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you Trish!!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

The love of a parent for one's child is so powerful that even in dreadful circumstances, it over comes. Whaat an inspiring story.

ps-the mother was gorgeous. That photo of her is a great addition to the Hub.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

It is mysterious and romantic looking, isn't it? (The photo)


workingonahistoryproject 4 years ago

when was this published? i cant tell and i need it for my PACE project!!(:


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 4 years ago from Northern California Author

I think I put this Hub online about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago..thank you for your comment..


Max 4 years ago

good


Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

I wonder how many stories spawned from that dreadful night at sea in 2012--some good, but many sorrowful. How interesting and informative! Thanks for sharing.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 3 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you for your excellent comments--I feel the same way!

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