Friday, April 13, 2012

The RMS Titanic - Part III Those On Board

Ghosts of the Titanic
100 Year Anniversary
April 14, 1912
Series #3


A look at some who boarded the ill-fated "unsinkable" ship.

Some of the most wealthiest and prominent people booked a passage aboard Titanic.
Along with over a thousand emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, seeking a new life in North America.  
The largest number of crew members came from Southampton, England.
Survival rates by ticket class - first: 60%, second:  44%, third: 25% and crew: 24%.


The wealthiest passenger on the Titanic were American millionaire Colonel John Jaocb Astor IV, 47,
 and his new, 18 year old wife Madeleine Force Astor, five months pregnant.

John Jacob and Madeleine Astor

 A union that was never meant to happen for these star crossed sweethearts.  
John Jacob Astor was criticized for marrying a bride so young,
and for the divorce of his first wife (although he had been divorced for two years).  
They were followed everywhere they went and their lives were always under scrutiny.
When the great ship went down, it would change the life of Madeleine forever.


When she finally had the baby, John Jacob Astor's first family disputed the will.
He died before he could change the will to include his new wife and as a result, only got a very small portion for her new son.
She would re-marry twice and relinquished all claims to the Astor millions - worth billions today.
She remained tight lipped about her Titanic experience up to the day she died, 
 never giving an interview.


Scandal followed Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his wife Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon from the sinking of the Titanic.

It was claimed that Sir Duff Gordon bribed his fellow boat survivors to not return to the wreck sight to save drowning swimmers.
In her memoirs, Lady Duff Gordon denied this claim, 
that they were only trying to offer money to those in their boat to help start a new life.

Lucy Duff Gordon

Their boat (boat #1) was not listed to have picked up any swimmers out of the icy water.


Silent film actress Dorothy Gibson.  
Went on to write books about her Titanic experience and even a stage play, she would portray herself.

Dorothy Gibson


Maybe one of the greatest love stories in history.
Macy's owner Isidor Straus and his wife Ida.
Married a long time, Ida refused to be separated from her husband and they both went down with the ship. 

Isidor and Ida Straus

They were last seen holding hands on deck chairs when a large wave swept them into the ocean,
his body was recovered, hers was not.


The "unsinkable" Molly Brown. 
Margaret "Molly" Brown

Denver millionairess Margaret Brown,  because a famous Titanic survivor after strongly appealing to the crew of her boat to return to look for survivors. 
 This was met with strong oppositions from members of the boat and the boat Quartermaster (the crewman in charge) of Lifeboat #6.
 It is unclear whether the boat went back or if it did, if any survivors were found


A criticized survivor was J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Manager Director of White Star Line.  
White Star Line was the company that built the Titanic.
 He was on board to observe any problems and assess the general performance of the new ship.
He came under severe scrutiny, criticism and suspicion.

J. Bruce Ismay

 After the disaster he was savaged by the press for deserting the ship while women and child were still on board. 
He claimed that he only boarded the collapsible boat C after there were no more women and child near that particular lifeboat.
He would be labelled forever as the biggest coward in history.


Toddlers Michel and Edmond Navratil were named the "Titanic Orphans"

Titanic Orphans

The boys became known as "Louis and Lola" - the only children to be rescued from the Titanic without a parent or guardian.

After placing them on a lifeboat, their father died during the sinking.

The boys' parents had separated in early 1912, the mother awarded full custody of the children.
 However, she allowed her sons to stay with their father over the Easter weekend
 and he instead decided to emigrate to the United States to start a new life - minus the mother.

Michel and Edmond Navratil reunited with their mother, Marcelle, in New York City one month after the Titanic disaster.


Millivina Dean - Last survivor of the Titanic. Died in May 2009
At nine weeks old, she was also the youngest passenger of the ship.
Her father died on the Titanic.
Her mother and brother survived and sailed back to England.

Last survivor Millivina Dean

 She had no memory of the sinking ship, but enjoyed the attention she got from it.
In her last years she struggled financial, having to auction off some Titanic memorabilia.
Actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who appeared in the 1998 epic movie Titanic, also contributed towards her care costs, along with film's director James Cameron, by donating to the Millvina Dean Fund set up by her friends.


Of course there are so many more passengers.
After much reading and research it was difficult to select just the few above.
So many passengers had a story to tell.
Some 1517 would tell their stories to their Maker.
While some 709 have a story as well, the truth, but this secret went to the grave with them.
A part of history that would haunt them their entire lives.
  Living amongst the ghosts of the Titanic.
I can only pray that their souls have found peace, wherever they may be -
six feet under or 12,000 feet.

Titanic wreck  2004

Ghosts of the Titanic SeriesClick here for Part #1
Click here for Part #2
RMS Titanic 100 Years, click HERE

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I will be linking up with Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home


  1. Thank you so much for all the wonderful research on the sinking TITANIC, I enjoyed it very much. How sad indeed, looking at some survivers you posted. Incredible story about the baby surviver, she sure lasted for a long time. I went to see your other posts about it too. Thanks again and enjoy your weekend.

  2. Oh my goodness I got goose bumps! I remember watching the movie and there I was literally in a panic watching. Thank you for all the info.I especially felt so badly for that older couple.
    Blessings, Joanne

  3. Excellent post, Diane.
    How horrible does wealth make some people. All that money and the Astors were too selfish to support a legitimate heir.

  4. How fascinating. I always love learning more about the Titanic. About 10 years ago, my husband and I went to an exhibit in Atlantic City where they displayed the remains of the ship. They had state rooms set up so you could see what everything looked like and they showed many of the items retrieved from the wreck. It was just amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. I loved your post!

  5. I have really enjoyed your posts. You did a wonderful job! Thanks so much for your visit too. I couldn't afford the china either!

  6. Diane, you did an excellent job of researching this and I appreciate it. I found it very interesting and learned a lot. Thanks for doing this! You get an A+! LOL Pamela