Titanic-No More Survivors

The last survivor of the ill-fated Titanic has passed away on May 31, 2009. Her name was Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina" Dean and she passed away in a nursing home near Ashurst in southern England at the age of 97. She was the youngest passenger on the Titanic at only 9 weeks old.

She was able to survive the sinking of the Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912, that killed some 1,500 people by being bundled up in a sack and carried to safety. Her mother Georgetta Eva and her brother Bertram also survived. Her father, Bertram Frank was among those that did not survive.

Her family had boarded the Titanic at Southampton and were heading to the United States to relocate to Kansas where her father had hoped to open a tobacco shop. They went back to Southampton after the disaster and she did not know she had been on board the Titanic until she was eight years old when her mother planned to remarry.

She said it wasn't until the wreckage of the Titanic was found in 1985 that she suddenly became a celebrity. She was invited to take part in documentaries to give media interviews. She was also invited to the United States in 1997. She accepted that offer, but turned down an offer to attend the premier of the movie, feeling that it would be too upsetting.

In 2006, she moved into a nursing home and was struggling to pay bills and began to sell off some of her memorabilia. She was able to raise approximately $54,000 in October 2008 by selling off some rare prints that were signed by the artist as well as compensation letters sent to her mother by the Titanic Relief Fund. She also sold a 100-year-old suitcase filled with clothes donated to her family by the people of New York when they arrived after being rescued.

Once members of the British Titanic Society and the Belfast Titanic Society heard of her selling off items because of her financial situation they launched a campaign to secure her future. Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and director James Cameron, reportedly donated $30,000 in total to her fund.

The last remaining US survivor, Lillian Asplund, died in her home in May 2006 at the age of 99. She was just five years old when the Titanic went down.

Millvina Dean-last survivor of the Titanic passes away
Millvina Dean-last survivor of the Titanic passes away
Born: 2/12/12  Died: 5/31/09
Born: 2/12/12 Died: 5/31/09

My Fascination with Titanic

I put off watching the 1997 James Cameron film "Titanic" until it was in its last weeks at the dollar discount theater. Finally, I took my two kids to the theater and sat close to the front, which is something I normally do not do. I'm more of a middle of the room kind of person when it comes to watching movies.

I don't quite know what to attribute my fascination to, but from the moment the movie started I was riveted to my seat. I could feel every sound pulsating through my body. For that brief time, I was living and breathing aboard the TItanic. It is so rare to get that sucked in to a movie. I, in some small way, connected with the people on board Titanic. No, I'm not talking about Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater, or Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet. I'm talking about the real people of Titanic, like Millvina Dean. I wanted to know more about them.

I guess my curiosity was contagious because my son, Kevin was hooked as well. With the success of the film, we readily found reading materials about Titanic and we bought quite a few of them. I still own many of them.

I wish I could remember the year, but it would have been between 1997 and 2001, the Titanic Exhibition was being featured in Dallas. My husband and I took the kids after I heard a Dallas radio station mentioned there being a portion of the hull that you touch. I wanted that experience.

The exhibition was amazing. There were so many artifacts and reconstructions on display it really gave you a good feel for things. There was such an eerie sadness in looking at a stained life-jacket or a broken pair of glasses. They had recreated the grand staircase and some of the cabin areas. For current locations of this exhibit, click here.

There it was, the looming piece of hull I had come to see. It was black with large rivets that begged me to touch them. Although it was not corded off, there was a bit of sand on the floor beneath the hull. As I stepped onto the sand and ran my fingers across the rivets I was quickly advised by a young girl at the doorway that that was not allowed. Oops, I quickly made my apologies and explained that I was given the impression that I could by a local radio station and since I saw no signs saying that I couldn't do it, I did it. I know people will say, "what do you think would happen if a zillion people did that?", but I'm sorry, I doubt a zillion people were as compelled to do it as I was. I'm grateful for the experience.

That experience has stayed with me for the rest of my life. I think it's also quite fitting that my second husband came to America to be with me by boarding a luxury liner in Southampton.

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Comments 27 comments

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

It is a fascinating story. (I guess 'riveting' would not be quite the right word.) Thanks for sharing those new details. We booked an overnight stay on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California a couple of years ago. It is now a hotel and museum at the harbor, but it does set the imagination afloat.

rongould profile image

rongould 7 years ago

Wow! Another phase in modern History passes. It is really awesome to consider.

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Very nice hub. Thanks

Lucey Knight profile image

Lucey Knight 7 years ago from North Richland Hills, Texas

Very good hub.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

LOL @ Rochelle....yes, I'm sure my story wasn't riveting, but I get the reference. My husband came to American on the Queen Mary 2. He didn't take the Southampton to NY route though. He came in via Ft. Lauderdale. I've had some friends visit the QM in California.

Ron: it's sad to me that they are all gone now. How fascinating though to realize that you were a part of history. I'm really interested in reading the book about her. I just wonder how it changed her life once she knew.

Thanks Alekhouse and Lucey! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

Well I for one was rivoted by your story. I suppose that I too am facinated by the Titanic. I did not know that the last survivor died. It certainly changes the whole feel of it. Wonderful hub. Thank you.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much, Paper Moon. She just died this morning. I'm glad you were rivoted! :)

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I've been to the exhibit and it was shocking. When you first enter you're given an envelope and you hold it till the end of the exhibit that contains bits of people's lives and there's a wall of ice to show how cold the water was. At the end there's a huge wall of names, 1st,2nd,3rd class and crew. In your envelope is 'your' person.. then you see if you lived or died. My person was in 3rd class. Never had a chance. I cried all the way home.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

OMG, Candie, I almost forgot about the exhibit you're talking about!  Where is it? Isn't it in Missouri or somewhere in that area?  I have to go to that one!  The one I went to was a traveling exhibit I believe was sponsored by the Discovery Channel.  At least that's what's on the souvenir book that I bought.  We didn't do the thing with the envelopes and ice.  I can see where that is much more dramatic and makes you realize that these people were real people. 

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

It was in Seattle for weeks, a few years ago. Many of the rooms were dark except for small glass boxes with 1 shoe, or a pair of spectacles. Intense experience. Then there was the box that should have been full of binoculars on that night, there were none.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Oh that is powerful! So what you saw was a traveling show too. Mine was different. I almost feel cheated...LOL I read a hub from someone when I first joined HP that talked about a permanent display that has the envelopes and all. I need to find that.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I found the hub about the museum in Branson, Missouri. I've posted it as a link above now.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Cool, thank you!

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I have always been in awe of the Titanic and have an orignal book written about the Titanic dated in the early 1900's , thank you for letting us know about the loss of the last survivor as I didn't get a chance to watch the news. :)

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

You're welcome AEvans.....I just wonder how she felt knowing she was the last. Sad, really.

seamist profile image

seamist 7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

Well-written and interesting hub! Thank you.

Pachuca213 7 years ago

This was absolutely wonderful...I remember the day I saw that movie in the theatres. I was only a young girl who had not yet really lived life. I remember watching and imagining myself on that ship and how I might have felt. And I can understand what you mean by feeling a connection to the people on the sinking ship...you cannot help but be moved to tears knowing that the majoriy of them met their demise at the bottom of that ice cold sea. The sadness in the childrens faces as they clung on ti their mothers for dear life, the sad lovers who were separated from eachother, the crew and Captain who had to go down with the ship and the chaos that must have occurred. And very last...the darkness that set in once all the lights went out and all the screams and the buckling steal ripping apart as it crashed into the deep blue.....The sadness....the fear....then the silence. What a tragedy!!! This was a very very good hub KCC.....I loved it!

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Seamist!

Wow, your comment was very well written Pachuca! I am glad you enjoyed it. One of the books we bought listed all the people who left on each lifeboat, how much of each food was on board, etc. It also had a large fold-out that showed the layout of each deck. It was incredible. I bought a souvenir replica of a third-class tea-cup with the White Line logo. One of my goals is to own a piece of something "Titanic" related.

Pachuca213 7 years ago

that would definitely be cool.....

Anti-Valentine profile image

Anti-Valentine 7 years ago from My lair

I actually knew a girl whose grandmother was a titanic survivor.

It's a shame that they've all passed on, but at least they now have peace, instead of being forced to relive those terrible events.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

How interesting, Anti-Valentine! I wonder if her grandmother told her stories about it? I just find it so fascinating. You're right about them now having peace.

Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

Branson? Damn that is close enough for me to go. Thanks for the link. :)

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

You're welcome Paper Moon! I'm itching to go myself! I love Missouri and I've never been to Branson.

Lake Ozark Rentals 6 years ago

Great reading! Branson is not far from Lake of the Ozarks. I would love to visit.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks LOR. I'm going to have to head that way myself one of these days!

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

KCC, it being the 100th anniversary and all, I'm surprised there aren't more current comments on this hub. Maybe potential commenters are off watching to new version of the movie!

It's public knowledge the "unsinkable" Titanic sank because of a design flaw those who designed it weren't aware of when it was built, namely that the steel used would become as brittle as glass in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, and the rivets holding the hull together would shrink in the cold and pop out. Both results send shivers up my spine. The Titanic sailed in April, but in the last week of December almost three decades earlier, my gr-grandparents and my grandfather had crossed the North Atlantic to America on another ship built by Harland & Wolff. Naturally I'm thankful theirs was an "uneventful" crossing - the ship didn't sink - but if it had, I wouldn't be here, right?

I must add you aren't the only person I know with an inexplicable attraction to the Titanic and anything connected to it. When the wreckage was finally located, a friend wanted very badly to be one of the divers privileged to explore it, simply (like you) to be able to touch it. We've lost touch, but I have no doubt he's been to each and every Titanic exhibit he can find. My own personal theory being, to have such a strong attraction, in a previous life you and he (and others like you) were probably some of the 1500+ who lost their lives that horrible night. Just my opinion, of course.

I wonder how long it will be before there's a movie about last year's sinking of the Italian cruise ship which had EVERY current technological navigation tool on board, but sank because the captain chose not to use it that night. In fact, he was chatting on his cell phone when he spotted the rock that would be the 21st century "unsinkable" behemoth's downfall. So the sinking of the ship is being blamed on "driving while talking on the phone", and the 32 lives lost on the captain's failure to begin evacuation procedures immediately, while the ship was still upright.

Voted this hub up and awesome! ;D

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

I couldn't agree with you more, JamaGenee. I too have wondered about the future movies from the recent disasters.

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