Titanic's Infamous Passengers Tell a Tale of Survival
“It had become very much colder. It was a brilliant, starry night. There was no moon and I have never seen the stars shine brighter; they appeared to stand night out of the sky, sparkling like diamonds. A very light haze, hardly noticeable, hung low over the water. I have spent much time on the ocean, yet I have never seen the sea smoother than it was that night; it was like a mill-pond, and just as innocent looking, as the great ship quietly rippled through it.”
-John B. Thayer, “The Sinking of the S.S. Titanic”
As we reach the centennial annniversity of a disaster embedded in the human consciousness, we should remember the real lives and people associated with the Titanic,vivid with obscure facts . Families, children, teachers, businessmen, crew...all played a vital part in telling this story:
Born in 1905, Eva was only seven years old when her family boarded the R.M.S Titanic as second class passengers. Her family was moving to Canada to open a drug store. Eva recalled the Titanic providing activities for the children in a nursery including her father, whom often would surprise her with little spoils now and then while on board.
Throughout the voyage, Eva recalled the entire length of Titanic's short, but vivid history in startling detail. She saw the Titanic with her own eyes founder under the cold, rigid waters of the north atlantic that night in April. She recalled her father wrapping her in a blanket to go up to the boat deck to the lifeboats. She also recalls the horror of watching the ship break in half and the noise of fittings jarring loose. But, more importantly, she recalls the heroism and eager ability of the crew to help the passengers in any way possible.
Ruth was 12 years old when she boarded the R.M.S Titanic in second class with her little brother, Richard who was sick at the time and her sister Marion as well as her mother and father from India on a mission trip.
Ruth recalled the beauty of Titanic from peering in the windows of the first class dining saloon as she strolled her brother down the deck on sunny afternoons at sea. She recalls her mother telling them, "There was a little accident and they are going to fix it so we can be on our way again..."
She was recovered in lifeboat 13 with her brother, sister, and mother in lifeboat 11.
Edith Russell was a 33-year old fashion stylist and consultant traveling first class on Titanic. An interesting character, Edith was known to carry around a lucky pig in her stateroom and was very protective of her belongings. Edith boarded the ship as one of the leading ladies in fashion columns abroad, evident in her many trunks full of clothing.
On an interesting note: Edith tried to get insurance on her numerous amounts of luggage, but was told it wasn't needed as the Titanic was practically unsinkable, so it was disregarded.
She also saw the berg glide by her windows, one of the very few who saw the iceberg with their own eyes.
A school teacher by trade, Lawrence boarded Titanic at 35 to visit his brother in the United States. His notice of the disaster was first observed by the lack of 'dancing motion' observed from the engines of the ship after the collision. 2nd Class was located in the stern, closest to notice the motion of the engines of the ship. Interestingly, Lawrence boarded lifeboat 13 after briefly landing in the water with Ruth Becker.
The list of the Titanic was observed noticeably to starboard according to Lawrence's account as lifeboats were being lowered level to the window. This account is interesting to note, given the most recent events with the sinking of the Costa Concordia and the difficulty lowering lifeboats on a list. This may have further complicated efforts in the beginning for Titanic, until it righted itself as the bow went down further.
A successful novel, The Loss of the SS Titanic, was an account of his peril at sea.