Miss Maude Sincock, known as Maudie and Maud, was born on 17 April 1891 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Mr. Francis (Frank) Sincock (a Plumber in St. Ives for Mr. J. J. Johns) and Mrs. Melinda Sincock, (Nee Hosking), a Canadian. She had 10 siblings. Her father was originally from Cornwall, England and they moved back to Halsetown, St. Ives, Cornwall when Maude was young.
Maude’s oldest sister Alice immigrated to Michigan in April 1909. Soon after her father immigrated to Hancock, Michigan in October 1911. He worked for the Quincy Mining Company. Maude left Halsetown, St. Ives in early 1912 leaving her mother and 7 siblings. Her mother would rejoin the family after the birth of her 11th child.
Maud Sincock in 1912
She traveled to Southampton and boarded the Titanic, as a second class passenger, along with relative's of her mother's, Mrs. Agnes Davies and her sons, John Davies and Joseph Nicholls. She and her traveling companions had been booked on another ship, however the coal strike had forced other ships to transfer their coal and passengers to the Titanic. Maude was not upset "It was a lovely ship."
They boarded at noon and were very excited. Miss Sincock, Mrs. Davies, and young John Davies shared a room in second class with Alice Phillips. Maude held ticket C.A. 33112.
Lunch was being served as the Titanic left dock. It was a lovely day and Maude found the other second class passengers to be very friendly. The next days were wonderful, they had excellent weather all the way.
On the night of April 14, Maude was in bed. The Titanic struck the iceberg and according to Miss Sincock “It didn’t seem so bad to me, but very soon after a steward came along banging on every door calling, ‘Everyone on deck with lifebelts.' ”
Maude got up quickly and put a rain coat over her nightgown. She opened the door and watched people ask the steward if the Titanic was going to sink. He told them it was only a precaution. She went down the passage toward the second class elevator, only to find the lift boy gone. She then had to climb five or six decks up before reaching the boat deck.
Crowds of passengers were on deck, jostling each other as they tried to find friends. Maude found it useless to try to get through the crowds and stayed put, although she went to the railing and watched the lifeboats being filled. Maude carried her lifebelt, rather than putting it on. She waited her turn. A sailor said, ‘This boat is full enough,” but Maude waited and got into another one, lifeboat #11. She turned and looked back toward the deck and saw the firemen coming up, wearing their working clothes. She realized then that the situation was bad, in the distance, Maude could hear the band playing. The boat lowered into the water. The ocean was calm, the air very cold. A sailor told her, ‘She’s going fast.” Looking back, she could see the lights disappearing as the bow sank down, water pouring into open portholes. Flares were being fired, although they failed to bring help.
As the Titanic sank and broke apart, Maude thought the loud noise she heard was the boilers exploding. The lifeboat rowed around all night long among the icebergs. As morning came a sailor called out “That’s a ship”, as he saw a speck appear on the horizon. The lifeboat was rowed toward the Carpathia. Getting aboard the Carpathia involved getting into a bosun’s chair, facing the side of the ship, and “walking up the side as two sailors hoisted you up." Maude found the passengers aboard the Carpathia to be very helpful. They did all they could for us.” On board the Carpathia, she discovered that Mrs. Davies son Joseph Nichols, had been among those who perished. Maude spent her 21st birthday aboard the Carpathia.
The St. Ives Times newspaper of 3 May 1912 carried the following letter written by Maude on the Carpathia to her mother in Cornwall:
I am saved but have lost everything. I must however be thankful for my life.
I have not a penny and no clothes. I was thrown on board a little boat in my nightdress and boots. I had no stockings on. We were in this little boat in the middle of the ocean for six hours.
And I was nearly frozen when we were picked up. I shall be a pretty sight when I land.
We were rescued by a passing ship, the Carpathia. The Titanic struck just before midnight and was underwater about 2 o’clock. There were over 1000 persons on board when she foundered. Mrs. Davies and her son John Morgan (of the Stennack, St Ives, who sailed in the same ship) are saved, but we have seen nothing of Joe (Mrs. Davies son by her first husband). We think he is drowned. We have not seen anything of the other ‘boys’(William J. Berriman and William Carbines) who left St Ives.
We could hear the screams from the men as the Titanic was sinking. I think there are hundreds drowned.
Mrs. Davies told me to ask you to send a message to Balnoon to tell her aunt she is saved, but that we don’t know anything about Joe.
I don’t know what I shall do when I get to New York.....I am frightened to death nearly, and I am afraid I shall catch my death of cold by the time I get to Hancock. I will write again as soon as possible and tell you more news. I don’t know where they are going to put us when we get to New York.
Your loving daughter Maud"
Maude left the Carpathia with Mrs. Davies and her son John and were invited into the home of a stranger for the night. "They were so very nice to us." They had to wait in New York City until the White Star line gave them money to reach Hancock.
Several days later she arrived home, and was very happy to see her father and other relatives. Soon she was appearing at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock and later at theaters in Marquette and Ishpeming, Michigan, telling the story of her rescue.
Maude married Arling Roberts on April 2, 1918. Arling worked on the docks in Ripley, Michigan, hoisting coal and cargo. Maude worked in the telephone office of Michigan Bell Company. Maude and Arling had three children. Virginia (Piipponen), June (Talbot) and Francis.
After the publication of A Night to Remember, she spoke at the local Lion’s Club. Her 1956 talk was well received. “Of course I was scared in the life boat. All I could see was water and sky.” She recalled that many of her fellow passengers were so confident in the Titanic that they were unwilling to get into the boats. She attributed the high loss of life among the third class to their distance from the lifeboat.
Maude and Arling Roberts celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1968, with their son Francis Roberts and daughter Virginia Roberts Piipponen in attendance. Another daughter June Talbot, had passed away in 1957.
Arling Roberts died in Houghton, Michigan in October of 1969. Later in her life, Maude lived in a senior citizen’s apartment, Lakeview Manor in Hancock, MI. She kept busy by participating in card and bingo parties, and traveling to Chicago to visit her sisters several times a year.
Maud Roberts in 1979
She was active in the First United Methodist Church in Hancock, the Women’s Society of Christian Service, was a member of the Ladies auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was an honorary member of the Titanic Historical Society. She was often interviewed on television, radio, and newspapers. In 1980 Maude said that the Titanic “is on my mind.” Maude made only one trip on an ocean liner, she never returned to England.
Maude was a member of the Titanic Historical society and had plans to attend the 1982 convention in Universal City, California, until a broken leg prevented her from attending.
Courtesy of Chris Dohany, USA
Maude Sincock Roberts died May 21, 1984 at the Houghton County Medical Care Facility after a month’s illness. She is buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Houghton, MI.
In April 2012, her surviving son Francis Roberts who lives in Houghton MI and her daughter Virginia Piipponen who lives in Hancock MI were able to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Titanic's maiden voyage in events in Maude's hometown.
Many of Maude's descendants attended Centennial events to pay tribute to her.
References and Sources
Daily Newspaper (Hancock Michigan), May 22, 1984, Obituary
State of Michigan Certificate of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Daily Mining Gazette (Hancock, Michigan), 28 Jan 1956, 14 Feb 1956, 30 March 1968, 18 October 1980, 14 April 1982, 21 June 1983, 22 May 1984
The Story of the Titanic by Maude Sincock Roberts
Francis Roberts, USA
Virginia Roberts Piipponen, USA
Steve Coombes, UK
Phillip Gowan, USA
Arne Mjaland, Norway
Homer Thiel, USA
Articles and Stories
New York Herald (1912)