Baron of Von Drachsted Madame de Villiers

Dec 9, 2005
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hello my question could be very silly but here we go, I know that Alfred Nourney, a second class passenger, that was transfered to first class appears on the passengers list as The Baro of Von Drachsted, he really was a baron? or he just "self-named" like this? Is the same case with Berthe Antonine Mayne, why she appears like Madame de Villiers? she had a noble tittle?
 
May 12, 2005
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Alfred Nourney, the so-called "Baron," was too busy alternately smoking and sleeping in Boat 7 to fire a revolver, if he had one. By all accounts he took no active interest in manning the boat. He was asked to row by Lookout Hogg and refused. Despite his less than heroic role in the Titanic disaster, he seems to have been a decent guy, and became a dutiful husband and father. The circa 1915 photo of Nourney is from Arne Mjaland, who in turn received it from Nourney’s daughter. He showed this photo of himself when he appeared (with fellow survivor Edith Russell) on a German TV show in 1962

As to Berthe Mayne, "de Villiers" was a professional name; she was a cabaret performer in Paris, Luxembourg and Brussels. Her supposed ties to royalty were a matter of manufactured publicity typical of theatrical folk at that time. This 1911 photo of de Villiers is from a French concert programme. She later used the stage name Bella Veilly.




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Apr 26, 2005
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Randy,

In addition to Omont and Maréchal, Mrs. Flegenheim also mentioned the German Baron as having emptied his revolver, so I would say there's good chance he really did.
 
May 12, 2005
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Maybe so, Charles. Unfortunately I haven’t read Mrs. Flegenheim/White-Hurst’s account. Since there seem to be just as many boat 7 folks who don’t recall the incident, which is odd, we may never know for sure. The most publicized accounts of any boat 7 survivor may be those of Dorothy Gibson, and she never related the episode. She did remember "the Baron" hogging blankets in the lifeboat; Helen Bishop also remembered this. By the way, Nourney repeated the peculiar selfishness on Carpathia later (as Dorothy, Helen, Elmer Taylor and Alice Fortune recalled). Don Lynch thinks it may have been Alice who finally gave Nourney what was coming to him, when she pulled the pallet of blankets out from under him and sent him sliding across the dining room floor on Carpathia! Hey, don’t mess with Canadian girls, right?
 
Apr 26, 2005
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“Many people couldn’t take it. Mrs. Greenfield, who was sitting behind me, was covering her ears as tight as she could. There was a young miss from New York who was hysterical, and the young man from Cologne whom I have described earlier had the foolish idea to shoot all the cartridges out of his revolver, God knows why. When the cries stopped, everyone was silent again. And silent we remained until day broke.”￾

Randy, I agree that it's strange that such a dramatic event was not recalled by more people, including Miss Gibson who gave varied interviews. But Mrs. Flegenheim seems so honest about it, and she's not cheap on details either in her account.
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi, Charles:

Thanks for the excerpt. It’s very intriguing. Are there other accounts besides Antoinette Flegenheim’s and the two Frenchmen that mention Nourney’s firing the gun? I was aware of Omont’s statement about a revolver being fired when I wrote the Dorothy book but, as I’d read no other corroborating report, I didn’t include it when recounting the events of boat 7. If I can find some more accounts referencing this, I will probably want to add the info to a future edition of the book.

I have no doubt the hysterical "young miss from New York" to whom Antoinette refers was none other than Dorothy Gibson, who by her own admission was extremely upset that night. Her pal William Sloper said she was pretty emotional, at one point repeating under her breath, "I’ll never ride in my little gray car again."

Again, I’m surprised Nourney’s shooting a revolver hasn’t been better recorded as it was certainly an unusual occurrence. But thanks for bringing up the three accounts which can’t be dismissed off hand.

Randy
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Revelations aplenty here.

I never knew of the existence of a Flegenheim account, and was delighted to see a contemporaneous image of Nourney. Many thanks to Randy, Charles and Arne for sharing.

There is an additional account from Helen Candee, often regarded as apocryphal, which impacts somewhat negatively on the character of Alfred Nourney.

Best to all,
Ben
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Re: Antoinette Flegenheim-
I am impressed that she made it through the night. According to a similar interview she just put on stockings, slippers, a robe over her night gown and a 'steamer cap.' And on top of it, there was leak in the bottom of boat 7 and water soaked her feet. Although, she mentioned starting below for warmer clothing (and I suspect her jewelry) when an officer 'detained' her and told her that she must get into the boat, 'at once.' Curious, that early in the game that she was made aware that was something really amiss.
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Mike,

I believe John Snyder made mention of a woman whose feet had gotten wet owing to the leak. He noted with pride that his bowler hat was used to handle the situation.

Mrs. Potter was annoyed that nobody could seem to find the plug in the first place.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hi Mike-
I didn't know that! it's these little, interesting details that never seem to make it into books. Thanks for that!
Mike