A survivor of Titanic disaster visits Minot

Tells many interesting facts

Ward County Independent

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Charles Edward Dahl, Australian carpenter, en route to Ross to visit aged mother, tells Independent thrilling story of his escape.

Charles Edward Dahl one of the comparatively few male survivors of the Titanic, which went down with more than 1700 souls, passed through Minot Tuesday, en route to Ross, N.D., where he is visiting his mother, Mrs Charlotte Dahl and sister, Mrs Murrin? Rerke? , whom he had not seen for 25 years. He was accompanied by his niece, Miss Evelin? Bardson?, a pretty little salvation army Lassie from Fingel N.D.

The Independent editor chanced to meet Mr. Dahl and he told us the following thrilling story of the disaster:

I am a carpenter and for the past 20 years I worked at my trade in Australia. My mother lives at Ross, N. D. and as it has been 25 years since I have seen her, I was on my way to America on board the Titanic the night she struck an iceberg. We left South Hampton [sic] on April 10, travelled to the coast of France, then it stopped at Queenstown, Ireland, leaving there on the afternoon of April 11. The weather was fine and the voyage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was without incident.

I was standing out on the deck of the steerage Sunday evening about 9:30 o'clock and noticed that the weather began to turn bitter cold all at once. Some of the passengers mentioned the fact that we must be in the vicinity of icebergs. I went to my cabin at about 10 o'clock and soon went to sleep. At about 11:30 that night I was awakened by a terrific jar of the ship and was thrown from my bunk. I was dazed for a time and lost no time in getting on deck. I noticed 20 or 30 tons of ice on the Starboard side forward that had been broken off the iceberg when the ship struck. I went to the port side to see the iceberg, but it was not in view as we must have struck it advancing below, then passed on. It was a fine bright starlight night. I hurried back to my cabin and secured some more clothes but lost my money. When I returned on deck I saw that the ship was taking water fast. The front seemed to be sinking down into the water. I ask a sailor if there was any danger and he said there was none. The steward then ordered all hands on deck and aft. I went back to the cabin and gathered some more clothing in my arms and put on a lifebelt. I advised others to put in their life belts on and they just laughed at me. I then went up on the deck with the first class passengers and they were all busy by that time putting on their lifebelts. The crew from below then came up and most everyone went to the starboard side of the ship. The starboard boats were the first to be lowered. I waited on the port side for about half an hour, then went over to the starboard side. The women and children were looked after first. The men were ordered to stand back and were warned that if they did not obey they would be laid out.

Sang hymns and prayed

A priest came to where a crowd of us were standing and asked us to sing hymns and pray. We sang, then knelt in prayer and asked the Almighty to spare us if it was His will. I will never forget that solemn scene.

One man who jumped into a lifeboat against orders was grabbed by the neck and thrown out and told that if he would do that again, he would be thrown overboard.

How Dahl escaped

I remained at the starboard side until the last boat, well filled, was going down the side of the ship. When it was 30 feet down it stopped because there was another boat below that had not gotten out of the way. I asked the officer if he would have any objections to my getting in and he told me to keep out. He said the boat was too far down. I told him that if he'd give me permission to get in I'd do so, and he said it was okay for me to try, I knew that would be my last chance. I grabbed one of the ropes and getting my leg around it, slid down to the boat, which already contained [illegible] people, mostly men, as the women had all been cared for. I will admit that the boat was pretty full. But there was room for me. One of the fellows wanted to chuck me out, but I told him I had permission from the officer, and they let me remain.

The boat below us was having trouble, as they did not know how to unfasten the ropes. The women below us were afraid our boat was coming right down on top of theirs, and I never heard such screaming in all my life. We kept lowering and finally when we were close to their boat I asked for a knife and being handed one, cut the rope of their boat and it floated safely away.

The sea was very calm and we rowed half a mile away from the ship. We could see that she was thinking gradually. Finally, there was a terrific explosion like a cannon report and a big black cloud of smoke arose from the ship. This settled and the ship appeared to be broken at the middle. Finally there was a second report, more muffled than the first and the bodies came over the side of the ship by the hundreds. The screaming of the poor people as they floundered around in that icy water, 2 miles deep, was something awful and I can hardly bear to think of it all. It seems like a horrible nightmare. The screaming lasted for perhaps an hour, as many of the bodies were held up by the lifebelts. We wanted to go back and help but our boat was already loaded to its capacity. After a while the noise [illegile] there we lay all alone on the wide sea. The ship had gone down after the second explosion, after the bow was submerged by water and the propellers were raised up out of the water.

We remained out there in those boats until morning. One of our boats had a green light. None of them had any food or water. We would have been in a terrible plight had not the Carpathia come along. We did not know that we would ever be rescued and there were some anxious moments. Finally, early in the morning I saw a light away in the distance. After of while I saw two lights and knew they were from the masthead of some vessel. The Carpathia soon picked us up. We rowed our boats along the side of her and the sea had become rougher, making the work little hard. The children and women were taken on board first then the men. There was coffee and tea awaiting us and warm clothing. I tell you we were treated fine by the passengers and officers on board the Carpathia.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) A survivor of Titanic disaster visits Minot (Ward County Independent, Thursday 2nd May 1912, ref: #21942, published 14 January 2019, generated 27th September 2021 01:33:45 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/a-survivor-of-titanic-disaster-visits-minot.html