Austin Blyler van Billiard

Mr Austin Blyler van Billiard

Austin Blyler van Billiard

Mr Austin Blyler van Billiard, was born on 9 February 1877, the only son of James van Billiard, a successful marble merchant..

At the turn of the century Austin emigrated to Europe to find work during the arrangements for the Universal Exposition that was opening in Paris, France that same year. Austin found work, as an electrician, and he prospered. It was while working in France that he met his English wife, Maude Murray (b. 13 April 1873), whose father was in Paris on business. The two were married on 3 November 1900 after only a few months courtship. The couple soon had two children: James William (b. 20 August 1901) and Walter John (b. 28 February 1903). In 1906 the van Billiard family decided to try their luck at diamond mining and, therefore, emigrated to Central Africa. Here they lived a harsh existence and two more children were born. In 1912, however, Austin had decided to return back to America to work as a diamond merchant. They first returned to London, England on board a French steamer, after smuggling their children on board (1). Maudes parents lived in London.

Austin decided to take his two eldest children with him to America ahead of the rest of the family. He and his two sons boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number A/5. 851, 14, 10s). Austin carried with him on board the Titanic several (at least 12) uncut diamonds (which were found on his body when it was recovered) by the MacKay Bennett (#255).

NO. 255. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 40. HAIR, DARK; RED IMPERIAL AND MOUSTACHE.

CLOTHING - Grey suit; green flannel shirt; brown boots.

EFFECTS - Pipe; 3 5s. in purse; gold watch, "J. B." on back; 12 loose diamonds; 1 pair cuff links.

THIRD CLASS.

NAME - AUSTIN VAN BILLIARD.

The body of his son Walter was also found (#1) but James body, if recovered, was never identified.

Austins wife Maude received compensation of 100 from the Red Cross and 540 from other assorted relief funds. She did eventually make the trip to North Wales, Pennsylvania with her two remaining children: she never remarried and died in a nursing home on 17 January 1968, aged 94.

Notes
1. French steamers in those days had a policy that children would not travel on board and, if they did, they would not dine with their parents but in the ships nursery. The Laroche family from France also came up against this problem when booking passage to America on board the French steamer La France: they hastily rebooked their tickets with the Titanic.

Documents
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#255)

References
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Brian Ticehurst (1996) Titanic's Memorials World wide: Where they are Located. ISBN 1 871733 05 7
Unidentified Newspaper, c. May, 1912, Article

Acknowledgements
Judith Geller, USA
Haynes Publishing, UK

Pictures

Kearsley/Christ Church Hospital

KEARSLEY/CHRIST CHURCH HOSPITAL

 

Articles and Stories

Van Billiard monument, side view

VAN BILLIARD MONUMENT, SIDE VIEW

 
NORTH WALES VICTIMS OF THE TITANIC ARRIVE

North American  (1912) 

NORTH WALES VICTIMS OF THE TITANIC ARRIVE

 
Van Billiard (Red Cross)

VAN BILLIARD (RED CROSS)

 
Van Billiard family monument

VAN BILLIARD FAMILY MONUMENT

 
VAN BILLIARD BOYS MAY HAVE STUCK TO FATHER

Daily Home News  (1912) 

VAN BILLIARD BOYS MAY HAVE STUCK TO FATHER

 
LOST HIS BROTHER ON TITANIC

Daily Home News  (1912) 

LOST HIS BROTHER ON TITANIC

 
NORTH WALES PEOPLE NOT AMONG SURVIVORS

North American  (1912) 

NORTH WALES PEOPLE NOT AMONG SURVIVORS

 
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    (2014) Austin Blyler van Billiard Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1274, accessed 18th September 2014 12:36:01 AM)

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