Mr Peter Dennis Daly was born on 17 July 1860 at 2:30 am in Liscard, England.1 His father was John Bernard Daly (1830-1894), a descendent from the O'Dalaigh and O'Neill families of Ireland, and his mother was Isabel Fermina Charon of French descent. As a child, he lived outside Liverpool in England by the river Mersey.2
Peter Dennis spoke 7 languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Greek, and Latin. After graduating from Cambridge University with honours, his father John gave him a ticket to South America. There he met the beautiful Rosalba Ramos, born in Peru of Spanish descent. They fell in love and married on 9 July 1887. By this time Isabel Charon, his mother, had passed away, leaving John Daly a widower. While in Lima, Peru to attend his son's wedding, John met a Ms. Arbulu, whom he later married. Both father and son therefore began new families simultaneously in Peru. 3
A Commemorative medal cast for the wedding of Peter Dennis Daly.
Its is about 30 mm in diameter and is dated July 9, 1887. It bears the names of Peter Daly and Maria Rosalba Ramos and the reverse side has the names of the Godfathers inscribed
Courtesy of Albert E. Daly.
Peter Dennis and his wife Rosalba Ramos had 10 children, 5 boys: Nicanor, Alejandro, Ricardo, Enrique (died in his early teens) Miguel and then 5 girls of whom 4 survived to adulthood: Ines, Rosa, Isabel, and Maria (Mary). Two of the boys later moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina.4
As the Lima, Peru representative of the London firm Haes & Sons, Peter Dennis went to London on business, and decided to return home through New York on the Titanic's maiden voyage. He visited his friend Henry Hammond while in London.
The story, certainly apochryphal, that is passed down is that Henry Hammond begged Daly not to board the Titanic on her maiden voyage because of the book "Futility" published 14 years in which a ship named Titan sinks during her maiden voyage.5
He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 113055, £26 11s, 6 Cabin E-17 7).
According to his grandson Albert Daly, Ricardo's son, and his granddaughter Elvira (Billie) Daly de Sarria, Alejandro's daughter, on the night of the disaster he had changed from his dinner clothes to warm clothes and boots, including an overcoat. He also was wearing a money belt around his waist, where he placed his passport, cash, and his silver cigarette case, which contained a Holy Stamp of an "Our Mother of Perpetual Help." 8
From left to right: Richard, Nicanor, Miguel, (Youngest seated), Peter Dennis Daly, Enrique (died in his early teens), Alejandro
Courtesy of Albert E. Daly
He remembered that the musicians played upbeat music to the very end.9
According to his later accounts Daly remained on deck as long as possible. As he helped a female passenger over the side he was washed off the deck by a wave which rolled along the boat deck. 10 He then swam in the water before being picked up by a collapsible boat. 11
Peter Dennis Daly was taken to New York aboard the Carpathia.12 Nicanor, his eldest son, was at the time living and working in New York City and was the one who traced Peter Dennis at a New York Hospital. 13
Daly returned to his family in Lima, Peru after his recovery in New York. His granddaughter, Rosalba Daly, recalls how every winter he suffered from pain in his legs due to the hypothermia suffered in the icy waters of the Atlantic. He took baths in hot springs to alleviate his pain. 14
Peter Dennis Daly with his family (c.1926).
Back: Rosita Picasso Daly; Next row: Ninin
Picasso Daly, Betty Daly Gonzales, Rosalba Ramos de Daly (Peter's wife),
Pedro (Peter Denis) Daly, Billie Daly, Cesar Gonzales Daly, Tereza Picasso
Daly, Eduardo (Lalo) Gonzales Daly, Rosalba Daly; Seated: Nata Gonzales Daly, Esther
Picasso Daly, Elsie Daly, Nora Gonzales Daly
Courtesy of Miguel F. Sarria Daly
Peter Dennis was a quiet man who spent long hours in his vegetable garden. He loved to eat red radishes dipped in salt. He was possessed of infinite patience, which he demonstrated by playing Chess via the mail with overseas opponents. Overseas mail in those days was delivered by ship only. He enjoyed playing cards, especially solitaire, which he taught his granddaughter Rosalba Daly. Rosalba was born on the same day of the sinking of the Titanic in 1921. She currently works as an artist and a teacher in Lima, Peru. When she was seven, Peter Dennis allowed her to eat at his dinner table. To Rosalba, this was a sign that she had finally learned to behave like a lady. Another of his granddaughters, Elvira (Billie) Daly de Sarria, keeps a collection of photographs of Peter and family from the late 1800's and the early 1900's she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her son Miguel Sarria Daly.15
Peter Dennis Daly Charon died of old age in Lima, Peru on 24th December 1932 at the age of 72. 16
References and Sources
- General Register Office Certified Copy of an Entry of Birth
- Family of Peter Dennis Daly
ii. British Census 1881
Note: Daly is listed in the 1881 British Census as Peter Denis [sic] Daly, a married man, aged 20, working as a commercial clerk and living at 63 Crown Street, West Derby, Lancashire together with his aunt, Agnes, and his 18 year old peruvian born sister Victoria. Descendants of Peter Daly have queried the accuracy of this record as Rosalba Ramos was thought to have been Daly''s first and only wife. It is possibly a transcription error.
Family of Peter Dennis Daly op. cit..
Note: Enrique died as an adolescant and Mary died in her 30s.
i. Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
ii. Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
- First Class Passenger List S.S. Titanic ("3rd Proof") ["Cave List"], Public Archives of Nova Scotia
Family of Peter Dennis Daly op.cit.
Note: He would later claim that the case later protected his heart from a piece of ice heading toward his chest.
- Walter Lord (1986) The Night Lives On: Thoughts, Theories and Revelations about the Titanic. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 140 27900 8
- Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
i. Marshall Everett [ed.] (1912) Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: The Ocean''s Greatest Disaster.
Note: "P. D. Daly of England said he was above deck A and that he was the last man to scramble into the collapsible boat. He said that for six hours he was wet to his waist with the icy waters that filled the boat nearly to the gunwales." Everett (1912) p. 73
ii. Jay Henry Mowbray (ed.) (1998) Sinking of the Titanic, Eyewitness Accounts. Dover Publications, Mineaola, N.Y. ISBN 0 486 40298 3
Note: "For six hours I beat the water with hands and feet to keep warm ... Then I was picked up by one of the Carpathia''s boats, which was cruising around looking for survivors." Mowbray (1912) p. 129
iii. Peter Engberg-Klarström, Correspondence with Editor
Note: Daly''s contradictory descriptions of his rescue have led to suggestions that he might have been rescued much earlier by a lifeboat lowered from the starboard side (?3, 5, 9).
- List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
- Family of Peter Dennis Daly op.cit.
- Private correspondence with Albert Daly (4th November 2002)
Family of Peter Dennis Daly
Albert E. Daly, USA (Grandson of Peter Dennis Daly)
Miguel F. Sarria Daly, USA (Great grandson of Peter Denis Daly)
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Articles and Stories
New York Times (1912)