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Lost Children of the Titanic: Michael and Edmond Navratil

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

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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    • GarnetBird profile image
      Author

      Gloria Siess 5 years ago from Wrightwood, California

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

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 5 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.

    • profile image

      Max 6 years ago

      good

    • GarnetBird profile image
      Author

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

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

    • profile image

      workingonahistoryproject 6 years ago

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

    • GarnetBird profile image
      Author

      Gloria Siess 6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

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

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 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
      Author

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you Trish!!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 7 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
      Author

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

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

    • susanlang profile image

      susanlang 7 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
      Author

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you for reading!I enjoyed your comments.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 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
      Author

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

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

    • profile image

      "Quill" 7 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
      Author

      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      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.

    • Seakay profile image

      Seakay 7 years ago from Florida

      Great read, thank you!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Thank you for a really fascinating snippet from history.

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