In This Issue
Stories of hidden gold are a subject that intrigues. Finding the precious metal from wrecks doesn’t begin to describe the logistical disadvantages of diving to a ship to recover treasure. The White Star liner, Laurentic, a casualty of war, sank about 1 ½ miles from the entrance to Lough Swilly and attempts to gather her cargo of gold bullion is recalled more than her tragic sinking. Known as “the Gold Ship,” the underwater recovery of her bullion was an extraordinary feat. Diving in 1917 was primitive, clumsy and dangerous. In magnitude and sustained effort the deep sea hunt for Laurentic’s gold is without rival. Valued at over £5,000,000 when reckoned at the standard rate of 84s. 11½d. an ounce––with gold touching 140s. an ounce it would have been worth over £8,000,000 (and at this writing in 2009, gold prices are out of sight).
The British Government could not allow all this gold to remain at the bottom of the sea because of the cost of the war of 1914-18, it decided, therefore, to use officers and men from the British Navy to go on a treasure hunting expedition for the nation. Practically all of the gold was recovered and inside is the fascinating story of its incredible salvage.
The death of Millvina Dean, the last Titanic survivor was the end of an era. She made hundreds of friends around the world who will never forget her. In this issue there are four different articles containing a wealth of personal experiences, recollections and an album to remember her. THS’s historian Don Lynch said, “When I first invited Millvina Dean to attend the 1988 THS convention she accepted quickly but warned me that she had never flown before, never stayed in a hotel, and would like a room on the ground floor as she might walk in her sleep and feared she would climb out a window while doing so. Her letters were gracious and undemanding and it was never an issue. By the end of the convention she was actually overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted her autograph, to write to her, and even to visit. Although she lamented she couldn’t remember all their names, she was determined to be accommodating. Ken Marshall recalled, “Millvina was self-determined, ‘down to earth,’ knew what she liked and didn’t like, opinionated and not reticent to express it. In a time of political correctness, her candid honesty and observations were refreshing. How appropriate that the very youngest Titanic survivor should be the very last to leave us. We in the ‘Titanic world’ have lost our last survivor, and for those of us lucky enough to have known her, a very dear and loyal friend.”
Thanks to Angela Becker whose letters restarted research that began in 1970 by THS member Art Knowles and had been put aside, to motivate us to complete an article about Edith Corse Evans, a young woman in first class who perished in the Titanic disaster by giving up her seat in a lifeboat that others might live. Her body was never recovered. Thanks to THS member Phil Gowan, a photograph of Edith, not previously published is included in the story of this enigmatic lady.
THS’s 2012 project is the Titanic Centennial Memorial which will fill the Titanic Historical Society’s mission to preserve for all time the memory and history of the ship and her people. A monument has traditionally been sculptured to create a sense of permanence and an important focal point. The original idea from Paul Phaneuf is a collaborative effort of your officers, members and friends of THS; the project has begun and continues until its official unveiling on Sunday April 15, 2012. Currently we are in the conceptual or artistic phase. As we progress, updates will appear in this journal, the THS, website and message board. An initial sketch of the proposed memorial is on the back of the 2010 THS annual dues renewal form.
A large, distinctive monument, a representational sculpture is the tangible quality that speaks to the viewer of the Titanic and those who sailed on her. Siting the Titanic Centennial Memorial has been arranged for the private Springfield, Mass. Cemetery near where Milton Long, a first-class passenger who lost his life on board Titanic, is interred. The combination of two large monuments will create a unique Titanic location in the historic cemetery.
Nothing honors the memory of Titanic’s Centennial better than the creation of a meaningful memorial of polished granite in midnight black. The Titanic Centennial Memorial will be recognized for its expert craftsmanship as well as its permanent beauty.
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE
Special Feature: Millvina Dean
RETRIEVING LAURENTIC’S GOLD
By David Masters
EDITH CORSE EVANS AND THE TITANIC DISASTER
An Odyssey that Began in 1970 is Complete
By Art Knowles and THS Members who helped put the pieces together
MILLVINA DEAN, THE LAST TITANIC SURVIVOR
By Don Lynch
Bertram Dean’s Letters Reveal Fascinating Information About His Sister
Additional Details from Titanic Survivors Gus Cohen and Frederick Dent Ray
By Ed Kamuda
MILLVINA DEAN RECOLLECTIONS
A Collection of Anecdotes and Memories from THS Members
REMEMBERING MILLVINA DEAN – A PHOTO ALBUM
Compiled by Karen Kamuda
By Tim Trower
THS member Randy Bigham provides the text of two cables sent to survivor Helen Candee by Lewis Butt, asking for news of the last hours of his brother, Maj. Archie Butt, who died on the Titanic. Was the St. Louis in Fr. Browne’s album the same ship that was turned away in 1939? Was there a specific napkin fold on Titanic? An original “The World’s Largest & Finest Steamers” booklet that has “Reprint, October, 1911” and No. C 2019 on the back cover? plus others.
Review by Tim Trower: S.S.Atlantic, The White Star Line’s First Disaster at Sea By Greg Cochkanoff and Bob Chaulk; Review by John Maxtone-Graham: The Way It Was – Walter Lord on His Life and Books Edited by Jenny Lawrence
An early photo of the White Star liner Laurentic docked at Quebec City. Kamuda collection
Millvina Dean is remembered in this favorite snapshot that was taken in her back garden by Darrell Rooney.