In 1912, the world’s biggest cruise ship, RMS Titanic, set sail for its maiden voyage from England to New York City—but it never made it. A collision with an iceberg sent the ship and over 1,500 passengers to the bottom of the ocean. It was one of the deadliest commercial disasters in history.
Most of us are familiar with the story above. But have you ever heard stories straight from actual passengers who survived the horrifying incident?
Here are 12 tales from people who were on the Titanic, and who were fortunate enough to make it back to shore alive…
1. Edmond and Michael Jr., two young boys who survived the wreck, were placed by their father into a lifeboat just minutes before he died. The final words he spoke to them were, “My children, when your mother comes for you, as she surely will, tell her that I loved her dearly and still do. Tell her I expected her to follow us, so that we might all live happily together in the peace and freedom of the New World.”
2. Margaret Brown, also known by her nickname “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” earned a tough-as-nails reputation when she threatened a quartermaster. She said she’d throw him overboard if he didn’t turn their lifeboat around and try to look for more survivors.
3. At two months old, Eliza Gladys “Millvina” Dean was the youngest passenger aboard the Titanic. Eliza, her mother, and her brother were all rescued and brought back to England. After she died in 2009, her ashes were scattered at the docks in Southampton, the place where the ship began its doomed trip.
4. Violet Jessop was an ocean liner stewardess who not only survived Titanic‘s disaster, but made it through two other maritime tragedies involving both the Titanic‘s sister ships. She earned the name “Miss Unsinkable” because of it.
5. Frederick Fleet was one of the lookouts on board the Titanic. He, along with one other crew member, were the first people to spot the iceberg. During an interrogation after returning to land, he said the entire accident could have been avoided if he’d had binoculars.
6. Masabumi Hosono was the only Japanese man on Titanic, and he managed to slip into one of the lifeboats while some of the crew members weren’t looking. However, he faced intense ridicule from his peers and even lost his job when he returned home for not going down with the ship.
7. As the Titanic‘s lifeboats were launching, Charles Lightoller observed the “women and children first” rule so strictly he was actually sending boats away with empty seats still left. He survived the night himself by clinging onto the bottom of an overturned raft.
8. Harold Bride was a wireless officer aboard the Titanic, and he was one of two crew members who sent out the SOS signals to nearby vessels. He clung onto a life raft all night and was eventually picked up by the Carpathia, a large cruise ship that was aiding in the rescue.
9. Lawrence Beesley was a teacher at the Dulwich College in England. He managed to make it to the top deck and into one of the lifeboats as the ship was sinking. He wrote about the experience once he got back to land, and his work was published nine weeks later.
10. Lucile Carter and her family were part of the wealthy elite who were on board. Despite her privileged upbringing, when it came time to help steer the lifeboat she was on, she grabbed an oar and started paddling.
11. Noël Leslie was another brave woman who helped steer one of the lifeboats to safety amid the chaos. She was at the helm for nearly an hour before stepping down to comfort a woman who had just lost her husband.
12. Archibald Gracie IV helped make sure all of the women and children managed to safely escape the wreck. He and a small group of men spent the night holding onto an overturned raft. Several of the men died from the frigid temperature, but Archibald held strong.
These people were unbelievably lucky to make it into the lifeboats. Hopefully, a tragedy like this one never happens again.
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