Bambino story


Heather Sprinkle

In "A Night to Remember," Walter Lord tells the story of an Italian steerage survivor seeking her missing children on board Carpathia. One child is located "in the pantry, on the hot press." David Allen Butler references the story in "Unsinkable," but he gives the impression that the child has died. Looking through the passenger lists on this site, I've not been able to find anyone the store fits. Does anyone know who this Italian woman may have been and whether her child was alive or dead aboard the Carpathia? Perhaps it might help if I knew exactly what a "hot press" is (!)

Thank you very much! This is an incredible site. I love the enthusiasm and scholarship here, although I sometimes feel like an undergrad who's wandered into a graduate level lecture. It's fun, though!


Dave Gittins

Apr 11, 2001
A hot press in this context is some sort of place for keeping food warm. Some are built into food trolleys. Apparently ships carried quite large ones. A cook could tell us more.

As to the story, I suspect it might be what Gilbert called "merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic versimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative." In other words, it's quite possibly fiction.

Precious few Italians were on board, other than members of the restaurant staff. Many witnesses called foreigners 'Italians' out of pure ignorance. A possible candidate for the woman concerned is Mrs Baclini, a Lebanese who escaped with her small children in collapsible C. The children all survived.

Personally, I'm a bit inclined to distrust these unsourced dramatic stories. Walter Lord fell for a few of them, including a tale from a 'crewman' who was never on board.

Brian Meister

Mar 1, 2001
Dear Dave,

I have always defended Walter Lord on the
point you just made about the "crewman" and
his charade. Without enormous newspaper
repositories, the internet, and thousands of
reseachers, reporters, and expanding
descendancy, he produced a very readable and
poignant "first-look" into the tragedy which
still captivates new readers. Another partici-
pant on this board has expressed that Lord
was just dishonest about his portayal of
certain situations that occurred that night.
I'll bet that virtually none of the Titanic
researchers today could go back to the 1950's,
shedding all their technological tools, and
produce a better product.
And, interestingly enough, I can count at
least three crewmen who got past the factual
radar in ANTR.
Best Regards,


Heather Sprinkle

Thanks so much for the information and insights. Mrs. Baclini did come to mind, but I guess I got hung up on the word "bambino" and forgot, for example, the vocabulary of Officer Lowe, among others. As to the veracity of the story, I couldn't possibly tell! It has a certain immediacy and detail that make it compelling, but without knowing the source of the story -- and perhaps even if we did know, it probably couldn't be verified.

At least it seems that David Allen Butler's "take" is mistaken. I can't find that any children or infants were buried from Carpathia.

Even today gathering accurate information is a daunting task. People say "But I read it on the internet!" just as they used to say, "But I read it in the newspaper!" in years past. And anyone interested in Titanic history knows how inaccurate newspapers can sometimes be! I'm sure nobody's knocking Walter Lord or ANTR. It would be a miracle if any book about the Titanic didn't contain a possible error, misinterpretation, etc. when even the people who were there couldn't agree on what happened!


Similar threads