F M Browne


Lee Gilliland

I know that Father F. M. Browne was a first class passenger on the Titanic, because of the photos. Yet when I look at the first class passenger list, I don't see him. Was this because he got off at Queenstown?
Hi Lee,
Yes, Father Browne sailed from Southampton to Queenstown.
Hello Lee,

Father Browne came very close to being on the first class passenger list, as I learned while reading "The Last Days of the Titanic." During his short trip, he met a wealthy American couple who offered to pay for his passage all the way to New York. He sent a marconi message to his superior for permission to extend his trip. But the reply was "Get off that ship" and Father Browne had to disembark in Queenstown as originally planned. Had he received permission, I think there's a very good chance he would have drowned. He considered the chilling message to be "the only time holy obedience saved a man's life!"

Best Wishes,

With regards to his ticket, I don't think anyone knows what his ticket number was. A list of passengers and tickets sold was written up by White Star Line for the Limitations of Liability case against the Oceanic Steamship Navagation Co. Fr. Browne's name and ticket # were not on the list of cross channel passengers. If it were not for his well known photos, he might have been completely missing from Titanic's history books today. I wonder if there were any passengers who were actually on the Titanic (cross channel) but did not take well-known photos of the ship and thus are now completely unknown to us.

Thank you, Daniel. That is a most satisfactory explanation of the absence of his name on passenger lists. It is indeed interesting to speculate on the others as well.
I wonder if there were any passengers who were actually on the Titanic (cross channel) but did not take well-known photos of the ship and thus are now completely unknown to us.

I used to think about that too, Daniel. I was told, however, that we know everyone who sailed on the maiden voyage, including all the cross channel passengers. But I still wonder about it at times. You hear of plenty of people who claimed they were on her when she went down, but I have never heard of anyone who claimed to be a cross channel passenger whose name wasn't on the list. Some of these false passengers might have been more believeable if they had chose to have been cross channelers in their stories.
Hi Daniel,
Hope you are well. I have missed our exchanges of late.
I have been trying of late to track down further records for those travelling cross-channel. Only a few, all first class, are listed on official documents. I have been told that there should be some Board of Trade documentation, but it is proving hard to find.
Father Browne at the time of his trip on the Titanic was training for the priesthood as a Jesuit. His uncle was the Bishop of Cork, and it was he who bought the ticket from Southampton to Queenstown as a present.

He travelled from Dublin to Hollyhead on the ferry and then made his way by train to Southampton. He was an avid photographer and took several photographs before disembarking. he went on to become a Jesuit priest, served in the 2nd world war, as a pardre, I think with one of the airbourne regiments and eventually ended up as a teacher in a seminary, I think, in Dublin.

It was only several years after his death that his photographic material was found in the Jesuit archives. It was well annotated and in excellent condition. A book was published with many of his photographs;its name slips my name, but I could get it if anyone is interested.
Francis Browne was chaplain to the Irish Guards in WW I. That's how he came to be seriously wounded while caring for wounded and dying Catholic soldiers. Field Marshall Alexander called him "The bravest man I ever met."

Browne received the Military Cross and Bar. I have no truck with his religion, but I'll nominate him as the bravest man to set foot on Titanic.

There are now many albums of his work in print. The one about Titanic is sold as Father Browne's Titanic Album" or The Last Days of the Titanic, depending on where you live. Another about ships is Father Browne's Shipping Album. I'm sorry to say that none of them are cheap.
Hi. I have seen the story of Father Browne being befriended and offered passage to New York several times, but the names of the "millionaire couple" are never identified.

In THE LAST DAYS OF THE TITANIC E.E. O'Donnell simply states "The story goes..." that a couple at his table made the offer and the cable came back, "Get off that ship -- Provincial." In the piece by Father Browne in that book, which he wrote for students at Belvedere College apparently, he himself doesn't mention anything about it. The Father Browne website also doesn't identify who it was. If it happened that way, it must have occurred Wednesday night, the 10th at dinner.

Does anyone know if Father Browne ever mentioned who it was, and is the general sense that it did happen? I hope to include some of the Browne photos in my book for young readers and share his story, but don't want to pass on what might simply be a Titanic legend...



Well, I don't know, but seems unlikely as they disembarked together...the story at least as I have read it is that Browne met a millionaire couple -- perhaps at dinner that first night.

Supposedly Browne contacted someone in the Church to ask for permission and may have mentioned who the potential benefactor was -- I have Signals of Disaster but it doesn't include any of the personal messages sent Wed or Thurs.


Hi Deborah,

Hmm....if it did infact happen at all, and it wasn't the Odell family, it could have just been somebody Browne had been introduced to on the voyage. The old Millionaire's Club! ;-)

Unfortunately I don't know anything more about it than that either.....