Death of a Purser by Frankie McElroy

Frank McElroy

Dec 31, 2003
Captivating new biography charts, for the first time, the life of one of the most important men to die aboard the RMS Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage of 1912.

Hugh Richard Walter McElroy was the Chief Purser of the RMS Titanic. His legacy was all but lost at sea; the media focus over the years had told the story of how, along with 1,517 others, McElroy perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean after his ship collided with an iceberg, neglecting his individual memory. His great-nephew, Frankie McElroy, hopes to finally redress this injustice, completing the picture of Hugh as a family man with a rich and rewarding life, which is so much deeper than just a name and a face that has been pinned to the memory of one of Britain’s greatest tragedies, for a century.

Death of a Purser reveals the human story of a man only known to the public through the circumstances of his death. Hugh McElroy was born in 1874 and was one of five children - three girls and two boys. He was well-educated by his family, sent as a boarder to preparatory schools in Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire, until his schooling was interrupted by the death of his father in 1888. He first found work as a purser at the age of fifteen and through dilligence and tenacity rapidly rose through the ranks, serving aboard numerous high-profile ships until he was ultimately assigned to work aboard RMS Titanic the day before she set sail for America.

Frankie McElroy was driven to publish his ancestor’s biography in an effort to correct the mistakes that have been written about his great uncle Hugh over the years; little accurate testimony has existed about McElroy, how he came to serve aboard the Titanic or about the role he performed during the voyage to New York. Frankie McElroy addresses this imbalance by providing detailed and engaging accounts that create a warm, well-rounded and informative picture of the man himself. Included in this painstakingly researched biography are many private, family photographs, which bring to light the manner of Hugh McElroy as well as evoking the history of a world quite unlike our own. It has certainly been a labour of love and dedication; Frankie McElroy began his research in the early 1960s and only completed his work shortly before the publication of Death of a Purser. He hopes that the book will encourage readers to understand that in the case of the Titanic there were no villains at play within the story, just simple human beings, each and every one of them a victim of circumstance.

About the Author: Frankie McElroy lives in Colchester, Essex. This is his first book.
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Joan O'Brien

Jun 18, 2020
Im trying to get in touch with Frankie McElroy, we have information and old photos from Hugh McElroy's wife's family in Wexford that he may be interested in.

Moderator's note: Edited to correct formatting. MAB
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