To complete the 2009 membership year’s final issue, a lot of great reading is here!
In early 1914, Harland & Wolff had no official comment on rumors that a 60,000-ton ship to replace the Titanic to be built for White Star after Britannic was sunk in 1916, it was evident that the need for another Olympic-class liner would have been vital and necessary for White Star to have any semblance of a normal weekly service. Oceanic III, the Unfinished Dream, held Tim Trower’s interest nearly as long as Titanic. His original research and years of work uncovering the elusive White Star liner begins in a two-part story in this issue.
On the 23rd of September in 1916 Vera Brittain was bound for Malta and had gone aboard Britannic as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). In her book, Testament Of Youth, published in 1933, you could perhaps be forgiven for picturing Britannic’s matron, Miss Elizabeth Ann Dowse, in an unflattering light, sort of an earlier version of “Nurse Ratched” in the unforgettable role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. What is the true story behind the fearsome Miss Dowse, and how justified were Vera’s recollections of her experience on Britannic? Simon Mills provides the answer with some remarkable research in The Riddle of Elizabeth Anne Dowse.
When Titanic finally succumbed to her wounds at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the human cargo was scattered for miles across the icy Atlantic. Among the multiplicity of bodies was Edmond J. Stone, 26, a stateroom steward whose pockets yielded two folding knives, a small pencil, a silver watch and chain, and––most significantly––a pass key to first-class passenger staterooms on E deck. An attached metal tag revealed rooms 1 through 42, the largest number assigned to a single key that survived the tragedy. Another interesting story was Adolphe Saalfeld a first class passenger and owner of a perfume company in Manchester, England. He was responsible for mailing the very first letter aboard Titanic as well as pocketing and therefore saving the last first class menu issued the night the ship collided with an iceberg. Stanley Lehrer describes these and other artifacts in text and illustrations on some of the rarer pieces in his collection.
When were the first distress rockets fired from Titanic? It is generally believed that the first rockets were fired at around the same time that the first lifeboat left the ship––i.e. 12:45 a.m. but is this supposition correct? Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe provide a timeline of the rockets fired and lifeboats launched.
Archibald Butt is known by our readers as the Military Aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft who lost his life in the Titanic disaster. His personal loyalty to the presidents he served, the resulting development of a strong friendship with both men and the impossible situation he was placed in was his undoing and a contributing cause to his untimely death.
The latest sketch, description and list of donors for the THS’s Titanic Centennial Memorial Project is illustrated. We need your help. Now is the time for those who can to step up and make a generous gift. Thank you.
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE
THE RIDDLE OF ELIZABETH ANN DOWSE
By Simon Mills
OCEANIC III – THE UNFINISHED DREAM, Part 1
By Timothy J. Trower
THS’s PROJECT FOR 2012 – THE TITANIC CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL
DISCOVERIES OF EXTREMELY RARE TITANIC ARTIFACTS
By Stanley Lehrer
TITANIC SAILAWAY PARTIES
THS 2010 CONVENTION
ARCHIBALD BUTT’S TRIPLE CURSE: ROOSEVELT, TAFT AND TITANIC
Compiled by Ed and Karen Kamuda
THE FIRST DISTRESS ROCKETS AND THE LAUNCH OF THE FIRST LIFEBOAT
By Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe
SEA POSTE Proper title for West Point and biographical information on Archibald Gracie; Millvina Dean’s final destination addressed; was there a moment of silence observed in years thereafter in Titanic’s sinking?; Commutator cover No. 187 mistakenly captioned?; Titanic Bandsmen Memorial in Ballarat, NSW; is there a list of places where bodies were sent to their final gravesites after leaving Halifax?
Reviews by Tim Trower:The White Star Line, A Photographic History by Janette McCutcheon and The Sinking of the Lancastria by Jonathan Fenby.
On Saturday, October 24, 2009, Bruno Nordmanis, Millvina Dean’s companion, cast her ashes at Ocean Dock in Southampton where Titanic sailed on April 10, 1912. From left, The Reverend Andrew Huckett (Port Chaplain, Missions to Seafarers; the undertaker; David Hill, BTS; Gunter Babler, and Jerry Green, AP. A full report will be in the next issue. (Photos: Kate Finnegan)
THS’s floral wreath in Millvina’s memory. “When I cast it on the water, it floated towards the berth wall which was quite touching” …Kate Finnegan.