The Titanic: The Goodwin Family Died on the Ship
The Goodwin Family
On 10th April 1912 Frederick and Augusta Goodwin and their six children all boarded the new ship the Titanic at Southampton in England. They were third class passengers on its maiden voyage to New York.
The Goodwin children who died were: Lillian 16, Charles 14, William 11, Jessie 10, Harold 9 and baby Sidney 19 months old.
Frederick and Augusta Goodwin
Frederick Goodwin had lived all his life in England. But his brother Thomas and sister had emigrated to New York years earlier. Thomas Goodwin had recently visited Frederick and told the family about his life in America and the opportunities there for Frederick and his growing children.
Emigrating to America
So when a job opportunity came up in New York for Frederick at a power station the family decided to take a chance and emigrate to America. They did not have a lot of money to spare so booked third class tickets on a small steamer ship bound for America. This cost forty six pounds and eighteen shillings for the family.
Frederick’s brother Thomas Goodwin and his widowed sister in America lent the family money and they had found a house and furnished it for the whole family ready for when they arrived in New York.
There was a coal strike in England that month in 1912. The sailing on the steamer that the Goodwin family was booked on had to be cancelled. They had their tickets transferred to the new luxury liner the Titanic.
Accommodation on Board
The Titanic was a new luxury passenger ship that the White Star Line had built. It was the biggest passenger ship in the world at the time in 1912. There was a lot of publicity around the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
Many high society and rich passengers booked first class tickets for the voyage from England to America. They were not travelling on the Titanic to emigrate but to enjoy the historical event of the first trip of the new Titanic Luxury Liner. Others in first class and second class used the ship as a means of travelling home to America from business trips, long holidays and as honeymoons for those who were just married.
The Goodman family had lived first in Fulham in London England. Then the family had moved to Watson's Court, High Street Melksham in Wiltshire England. This is where they were living when they decided to immigrate to America in 1912. Frederick was an Electrical Engineer. His older brother Thomas had already immigrated to Niagara Falls in New York.
First Class Accommodation
First class passengers enjoyed large cabins on the upper decks with bedrooms and their own sitting rooms. Most first class passengers had servants with them. There were also bedrooms for these servants. It was usually those servants that looked after the children that were accommodated in these first class cabin annexes. The other servants who worked for a family would be accommodated in the second class cabins.
All first class cabins also had their own bathroom. The Titanic was the first ship that had this on board in 1912. First class passengers also had private decks to enjoy the journey from. Their own dining rooms, reading and games rooms and smoking rooms.
Second Class Accommodation
Second class passengers also had very comfortable cabins but without their own bathrooms. These passengers too had their own designated area for dining and recreation.
Third Class Accommodation
Third class passengers too had their own designated area on the ship that they could use. They were excluded from both first class and second class areas in the ship. Their cabins were basic but comfortable. Their areas for dining and recreation were a lot smaller but the third class passengers still had better accommodation than other ships that sailed from Europe to America in 1912.
All three classes of accommodation on the Titanic were segregated by doors and barriers. These were in place on the ship as a physical barrier. But in 1912 class distinction was accepted as normal by everyone.
The passengers would not enter in an area that was not of their class. The only exception would be the servants of the upper class passengers who went about the duty looking after their employers needs. Married couples and families with children in both first class and second class accommodation were allowed to stay in these luxury cabins together.
Third Class Passengers
All male passengers and female passengers were separated in to different cabins. Young single men who were emigrating to America had to share a four berth or two berth cabin. The same was true for single female passengers.
Families like the Goodwins also had to adhere to this rule. The men and older sons had to sleep in cabins in the bow of the Titanic and the women, older daughters and younger children had their cabins on the Stern of the ship.
Survivors of the Titanic
The Titanic Hits the Iceberg
So it was then that the night of Sunday 14th April at 11.40 pm when the Titanic hit the iceberg that Frederick Goodwin and his sons, Charles who was fourteen, William who was eleven and Harold who was nine years old were asleep in the bow on the ship when the Titanic started to sink.
His wife Augusta Goodwin was asleep in the stern of the ship with her daughters Lillian who was sixteen years old and Jessie who was ten. Also sleeping with his mother was baby Sidney Goodwin who was a year and seven months old.
A Minor Collision
When the ship hit the iceberg all the passengers on board were told it was only a minor incident. Anyone who had left their cabins to see what was happening was told to go back to their cabins as it would soon be sorted out.
Most of the passengers including first and second class believed the crew and went back to their cabins or whatever they were doing in the communal areas at the time. A large amount of ice was seen on the deck of the ship.
Playing with the Ice
The passengers were in a jovial mood and welcomed the excitement. Those who were still up and enjoying the many activities on board got into the high spirits on board by either watching others having fun or playing around with the ice on deck themselves.
When the Captain was told that the unsinkable ship the Titanic was about to sink he ordered all lifeboats to be prepared. Then the crew woke up those passengers who were asleep and told everyone not to worry but that they needed to go on deck with their life jackets on.
First and Second Class Passengers Only
Third class passengers were told to get their life jackets ready but to stay in their cabins until it was time for them to go on deck. All families who were third class passengers and asleep at this time would have been separated by gender from one end of the ship to the other in the bow or in the stern.
When the water started to become visible on the floors of the 3rd class landings and then in their cabins the passengers were still down in third class areas. Some of them had tried to get up on deck but they were stopped by the crew. They were told there was plenty of time and plenty of lifeboats and they had to wait until it was their turn.
The Titanic had more lifeboats on board than was legally required for the trip. This unfortunately was not enough to get everyone off the Titanic safely. It was women and children first in to the lifeboats when the first and second class passengers were on deck. A lot of them refused to go at first because they still could not believe the Titanic was about to sink.
The small boats that were hanging on the side of the enormous ship looked dangerous and many thought it was unnecessary to take the risk of boarding these boats and spending the night on the freezing cold open sea. But once the situation became clear to the passengers that the Titanic was indeed sinking the mood changed and women and children got into the lifeboats.
Fear and Panic
Crew members were also in the boats to sail them and take charge of the passengers. There had been no lifeboat drill on the Titanic after she sailed. So there was chaos and confusion from both crew and passengers. Lots of the too few lifeboats on board left the Titanic with many empty places. Some of the men tried to get on the boats too but were held back by the crew.
When this was going on deck the third class passengers were still being held down below. The barriers were locked and only a very few of these men women and children managed to find a way out on to the decks were the life boats were. But by this most of the boats were gone.
Of the 329 First Class Passengers on Board 199 Survived
There were 285 second class passengers on board and 119 survived. There were 899 crew on the Titanic but only 214 survived. But there were 710 third class passengers and only 174 survived. Of the 2,223 men women and children who sailed on the Titanic on her maiden voyage on 10th April only 706 survived after it sank on 15th April 1912.
The Unknown Child
The Unknown Child
One of the ships that was sent out from Canada to recover the bodies of those who died when the Titanic sank was the Mackay-Bennett. On 17th April 1912 the fourth body that the crew pulled out of the water was that of the toddler Sidney Goodwin. The only body that was recovered from the Goodwin family was Sidney who was 19 months old when he died.
Funeral of Sidney Goodwin
When no one came to identify or claim the body of the Sidney the sailors on board the Mackay-Bennett arranged for his burial. So on 4th May 1912 the body of Sidney was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. The sailors were so affected by the death of the young child that they escorted the tiny white coffin to the funeral.
They had earlier bought a copper pendent with the words Our Babe inscribed on it. A large headstone was also purchased by the sailors. On this headstone is inscribed the words The Unknown Child. The body in the grave of the Unknown child was positively identified through DNA testing to be that of Sidney Goodwin in July 2007.
The Goodwin Family
No one knows what happened to Frederick Goodwin in the last few hours when the Titanic was sinking. Did he and his sons, Charles fourteen, William eleven, Jessie ten and Harold nine manage to get to the stern where his wife Augusta, his daughters Lillian sixteen, Jessie ten and baby Sidney were?
We know that all members of the Goodwin family died when the Titanic sank at 2.20 am on Monday 15th April 1912. What we do not know is whether they died together. I hope they did.