Delia McDermott........and her hat

Arun Vajpey

Jul 8, 1999
There is this story mentioned in several sources that Irish third class passenger Bridget Delia McDermott almost missed a place in a lifeboat because she went back to her cabin to get her hat. I have often wondered if there could be any truth in this.

While shopping in her native Ireland before the trip, McDermott was reportedly told that to be considered as a 'lady' in America she needed a stylish hat. So she splurged out on a rather expensive one and this hat was her pride and joy during the voyage. She was one of the "Addergoole fourteen" to board the Titanic. After the ship collided with the iceberg and started sinking, McDermott reportedly found a pace in an early lifeboat; some have conjectured this was #9. After she sat in the boat she realised that she'd forgotten her precious hat and got out of the boat and went back to her cabin to get it. By the time she returned to the boat deck with the hat, the lifeboat had been launched and she barely made it to a later one, probably #13; there are reports that she had to jump almost 15 feet into the lifeboat. In any case, she survived, reached America and settled down, eventually marrying and raising a family. She died in 1959 aged 78.

The story sounds rather fanciful, especially as McDermott was known to have mentioned other strange Titanic related stories (including meeting a stranger in Ireland before the voyage who reportedly prophecised her involvement in a shipwreck and survival). But if the hat story was true, I wonder where it is now? If her descendants have it, it must be quite a collector's item.

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