Titanic Survivors – Some Noteworthy Stories You Must Know

Memories of the Titanic’s sinking never die. The British passenger liner that sank on her maiden voyage set sail on 10th April 1912 with about 2200 people onboard.

The unfateful night of Sunday, 14 April 1912, which witnessed the death of more than 1,500 passengers and crew in the North Atlantic Ocean, still haunts us.

The RMS Titanic was a vessel unlike any other. Sleek and designed to perfection, the most noteworthy feature of the ship was its imperviousness to sinking.

Many prominent people of the time died, including the ship’s architect, Thomas Andrews; Businessman Benjamin Guggenheim; Macy department store owners Isidor Straus and Ida Straus; and the wealthiest passenger onboard, John Jacob Astor IV and his pregnant wife Madeleine, the inheritor of the whole Astor fortune.

The noteworthiness of the ship ironically proved wrong when it collided with an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, rupturing its watertight compartments and sealing its fate.

The story of the Titanic has often been verbally recounted and poignantly depicted in movies.

However, these verbal anecdotes and visual representations cannot change the emotions and sentiments that must have coursed through the people whose lives came to an abrupt end on that day.

As per investigations, first-class passengers went on lifeboats first, followed by the second class, and last were the third-class passengers, the ordinary people who lost their lives.


A Victim’s Letter

The tragic story of the iconic ship was once again in the limelight recently when a letter written by one of the victims of the Titanic disaster sold for a record-breaking price at an auction.

The letter by Alexander Oskar Holverson, addressed to his mother just a day before the ship struck an iceberg, sold for £126,000 at an auction in England.

This was the last-known letter written on board by a victim, describing life inside the most luxurious liner of that time, days before its tragic destiny.

Survival Stories

However, the other side of the Titanic story is inspiring. The stories of those who survived roughly 700 people, including the wife of It’serson.

Over one hundred years after the accident, what fascinates people is the life of Titanic Survivors – the saga of the ones who survived the incident and lived on to share their experiences.

These memories they shared remind the world of what transpired aboard the Titanic on its fatal voyage and how these brave individuals survived to tell the tale to generations anew.

The life stories of those voyagers who were spared in the unexpected accident in the middle of the icy waters of the Atlantic are brilliant instances of survival and heroism.

Their life after the tragedy fascinated and inspired the world more than the stories they brought with them from the icy waters. Hundreds of books have been written, with stories they had to tell and the stories they picked from their life after.

However, those vivid accounts of how the Titanic tragedy happened remain significant as those stories directly connect to one of the most fatal accidents in human history.

Since it would be arduous to list each of the over seven hundred Titanic survivors, the most remarkable sagas of a few can very well be exposited, enabling the world to understand the actual transpiration of that day with better clarity.

Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived
  • Wilson, Andrew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 03/26/2013 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

The tale of Charles Joughin, a member of the crew

One of the most famous and bizarre Titanic survivor stories is that of Charles Joughin. Joughin, a part of the crew of the Titanic, survived the incident in the most unique manner possible.

To combat the bitter cold after the vessel started sinking in the middle of the North Atlantic, the passengers began drinking alcohol to generate and provide inner body warmth.

Joughin used this idea to utmost perfection and binged on alcohol, as depicted in movies such as A Night to Remember and Titanic, while the ship sank.

Yet even as he was consuming alcohol, Joughin did not forget his duty as a shipman, helping numerous other passengers into the deployed lifeboats.

When the ship finally sank, he was left waiting in the frigid waters of the Atlantic for over three hours before being rescued, going on to live for another 44 years.

Later, those who documented the story of Joughin confirmed that his survival in the icy water directly resulted from his blood alcohol level.

Charles Joughin, years after his unbelievable survival, died at 97 in Patterson, New Jersey.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Margaret Brown was an American philanthropic socialite whose story as a Titanic survivor inspired more confidence than despondency.

Called Maggie by her friends and depicted as ‘Molly’ in various movies, Margaret Brown is remembered for her effort to exhort the crew in her lifeboat to search for more survivors. Brown was later called “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” posthumously.

More than her anecdotes of survival, Margaret Brown is associated with raising funds to help financially impoverished survivors. She is also remembered for her relief efforts during the First World War.

Margaret also established the Survivor’s Committee and raised almost $10,000 for needy survivors when the rescue vessel Carpathia reached New York harbour with Titanic survivors.

The life story of Margaret Brown was documented in a 1960 Broadway musical, The Titanic’s Molly Brown, based on her life and its 1964 film adaptation of the same title.

Margaret Brown died from a brain tumour on October 26, 1932, at the Barbizon Hotel in New York City, New York.

The youngest survivor- Eva Hart

Eva Miriam Hart was one of the youngest survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Eva was seven years old when she boarded the vessel with her parents.

Eva was sleeping when the accident occurred, and Eva’s father placed his wife and daughter in Lifeboat No. 14. Eva’s father didn’t survive, and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

The RMS Carpathia later rescued Eva and her mother. Eva later worked as a professional singer in Australia, a Conservative Party organizer, and a magistrate.

Eva Hart was one of the Titanic’s most outspoken survivors and criticised the vessel’s lack of sufficient lifeboats.

She was also vocal against any salvage attempts on the Titanic, noting that it is a gravesite and should be treated as such.

Film Actress- Dorothy Gibson

Dorothy Gibson was an American silent film actress and singer who is now best remembered as a survivor of the Titanic tragedy.

Dorothy was on board the Titanic with her mother, and they both escaped from the ship on the first lifeboat launched.

Dorothy came close to death even in the lifeboat when a hole was found in the bottom of the lifeboat.

However, the rush of icy cold water through the hole was later blocked using the dress of people aboard the boat. After reaching New York, Dorothy starred in the first motion picture of the disaster- ‘Saved from the Titanic.

The 22-year-old had to re-enact the experience a mere five days after the accident by wearing the same clothes she had been wearing when the ship met with the accident.

However, the report says Dorothy gave up acting shortly after the movie’s release. Dorothy died on February 17, 1946, at the age of 56.

Millvina Dean

The Titanic’s last survivor was Eliza Gladys “Millvina” Dean, a British civil servant and cartographer. Millvinia Dean went from being the youngest voyager on board the vessel when the tragedy struck to the oldest survivor of the incident.

Dean was only nine weeks old when she started her journey abroad on the Titanic along with her parents and brother. Protectively cloaked in a sack to ward off the frigidity, Millvinia started life afresh in Southampton in Great Britain – where she lived until she died in 2009 – with her brother and mother, survivors.

Dean’s father did not survive the Titanic disaster, and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

Violet Jessop

One of the crew members, Violet Jessop, was on the top deck to help the non-English-speaking passengers. She had survived a similar accident before, as white star line ships were known for their sturdy build. However, it was different this time. Jessop maintained her calm and helped everyone to get on the lifeboat 16. She was given a baby to look after by one of the officers. After being rescued, the mother found her baby, and Jessop retired in 1950, nicknamed Miss Unsinkable.

The Titanic survivor stories prove that miracles occur even in the face of adversity. It is up to those who have received the miracles to engage their lives more purposefully.

Each of the seven hundred survivors of the Titanic contributed their share of goodwill to the world before they met their end in the timeliest and most appropriate manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many Titanic survivors are still alive?

There are no survivors left. The last survivor was Millvina Dean, who was just eight months old at the time of the tragic accident. She died in 2009 at the age of 97.

2. Are the bodies still in the Titanic?

After the Titanic sank, the search and rescue team recovered around 340 bodies. Thus, about 1500 people were killed in the accident, and about 1165 bodies are still lost.

3. How many children died on the Titanic?

Around 109 children were onboard when the Titanic sank. And about half of the number, around 59 to 60 children, died. Only one child travelling in first class died. The others were children of third-class passengers.

4. How many animals were on the Titanic?

There were 12 dogs, 4 hens, 4 roosters, 30 cockerels, a yellow canary and the ship cat Jenny were on board when the Titanic sank. Only three dogs survived, while all other animals died.

5. Why did third-class passengers suffer the most?

It was found that third-class passengers were treated harshly, were denied access to lifeboats, and many were left to die. It was a result of the socio-economic biases and prejudices against them.

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Disclaimer: The author’s views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendations on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

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