Seumas

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It's one thing to read the accounts of the survivors in their own words. It's something special though when you are able to actually listen to them recalling what they saw and heard that night.

How many survivors lived long enough to actually have their memories recorded on audio and/or audio-visual format ?

This could be TV or radio interviews, newsreels, tape recordings made by journalists, researchers or even just for their family.

I took a look around the web on YouTube, the BBC and British Pathe archives amongst others and found the following Titanic survivors whose voices were recorded for posterity -

First Class

Edith Russell

Second Class

Ruth Becker
Edith Brown
Eva Hart
Michel Navratil

Third Class

Frank Aks
Gus Cohen
Millvina Dean
Kate Gilnagh
Frankie Goldsmith*
Jirjis Yūsuf Tu'mah (subsequently known as George Thomas)

And for the crew.

Deck Crew

Joseph Boxhall
Charles Lightoller
George Rowe

Victualling Crew

Sid Daniels*
Arthur Lewis
Frank Prentice
Frederick Dent Ray
Maud Slocombe
James Witter

Engineering Crew

Wally Hurst

*I didn't actually hear the recordings of Daniels and Goldsmith. However, the latter's voice is apparently featured in the film "Titanica" (which I've never seen) and according to Dr Paul Lee, a museum in Southampton has a tape recording of Daniels being interviewed.

There must be a few more surely ? There are a number of likely candidates listed here - Last survivors to die after the disaster | Encyclopedia Titanica

Did any of Lawrence Beesley, Fred Fleet, Violet Jessop, Charles Joughin, Harold Lowe or Herbert Pitman ever have their voice recorded ?

In 1934, former crewman Albert Horswill, now living in the USA, gave a radio talk on his memories of the Titanic but although his complete script survives, no recording of Horswill actually giving his talk is known to exist. Do we know of anymore "lost" recordings whereby a survivor is known to have, for example, spoken over the radio or on television but alas no recording is known to exist ?

Asides from the survivors it's probably worth mentioning these four supplementary ones.

Sir Arthur Rostron gave a radio talk in the 1930s.

There is newsreel footage of Sir James Bisset speaking about taking charge of the Queen Elizabeth but I don't think he ever spoke on the radio or on camera about his memories of the Carpathia.

For a 1950s BBC TV interview, five of the survivors listed above - Cohen, Hurst, Rowe, Russell & Witter, were joined by Harold Cottam who even tapped out a few letters for the camera on a replica wireless set.

In 1961, Stanley Lord was recorded on tape for Leslie Harrison's research.
 
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It's one thing to read the accounts of the survivors in their own words. It's something special though when you are able to actually listen to them recalling what they saw and heard that night.

How many survivors lived long enough to actually have their memories recorded on audio and/or audio-visual format ?

This could be TV or radio interviews, newsreels, tape recordings made by journalists, researchers or even just for their family.

I took a look around the web on YouTube, the BBC and British Pathe archives amongst others and found the following Titanic survivors whose voices were recorded for posterity -

First Class

Edith Russell

Second Class

Ruth Becker
Edith Brown
Eva Hart
Michel Navratil

Third Class

Frank Aks
Gus Cohen
Millvina Dean
Kate Gilnagh
Frankie Goldsmith*
Jirjis Yūsuf Tu'mah (subsequently known as George Thomas)

And for the crew.

Deck Crew

Joseph Boxhall
Charles Lightoller
George Rowe

Victualling Crew

Sid Daniels*
Arthur Lewis
Frank Prentice
Frederick Dent Ray
Maud Slocombe
James Witter

Engineering Crew

Wally Hurst

*I didn't actually hear the recordings of Daniels and Goldsmith. However, the latter's voice is apparently featured in the film "Titanica" (which I've never seen) and according to Dr Paul Lee, a museum in Southampton has a tape recording of Daniels being interviewed.

There must be a few more surely ? There are a number of likely candidates listed here - Last survivors to die after the disaster | Encyclopedia Titanica

Did any of Lawrence Beesley, Fred Fleet, Violet Jessop, Charles Joughin, Harold Lowe or Herbert Pitman ever have their voice recorded ?

In 1934, former crewman Albert Horswill, now living in the USA, gave a radio talk on his memories of the Titanic but although his complete script survives, no recording of Horswill actually giving his talk is known to exist. Do we know of anymore "lost" recordings whereby a survivor is known to have, for example, spoken over the radio or on television but alas no recording is known to exist ?

Asides from the survivors it's probably worth mentioning these four supplementary ones.

Sir Arthur Rostron gave a radio talk in the 1930s.

There is newsreel footage of Sir James Bisset speaking about taking charge of the Queen Elizabeth but I don't think he ever spoke on the radio or on camera about his memories of the Carpathia.

For a 1950s BBC TV interview, five of the survivors listed above - Cohen, Hurst, Rowe, Russell & Witter, were joined by Harold Cottam who even tapped out a few letters for the camera on a replica wireless set.

In 1961, Stanley Lord was recorded on tape for Leslie Harrison's research.
Watch them while you can if interested. Youtube is supposed to start a big purge next year from what I've been hearing. Something to do with video's that don't generate revenue or something. Not sure how true it is but I've been saving videos I want just in case.
 
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I keep thinking of Willie Keith's "But you weren't there !" In the Court Martial scene from the movie "The. Caine Mutiny" on a lot of the arguments on these forums where there are just opinions or speculations on a lot of subjects.
 

Seumas

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So were there any other survivors (or otherwise relevant people) whom we have voice recordings of then ?

I'd love to hear recordings of Goldsmith, Daniels and Lord's voices one day.
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Seumas,

There are many other survivors whose voices can still be heard. I don't have a complete list but from memory, I remember the following:

First Class: In addition to Edith Russell (whom you mentioned), I know that survivors Washington Dodge, Jr., Margaret Graham Moore, Marjorie Newell Robb and Nelle Snyder gave many interviews in their later years that were recorded. Washington Dodge, Jr. spoke at the 1973 THS convention in Greenwich, Connecticut and for a number of years that society was selling an audio tape (and a record) of those survivor interviews. Margaret Graham Moore spoke to various schools and a recording of one of those interviews is known to exist. Marjorie Newell Robb lived the longest of the first-class passengers and her memories are preserved at the Fall River Maritime Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts. She also attended the 1987 and 1988 THS conventions in which she was a featured speaker so I'm sure video and audio tapes of that lecture exist. She spoke on television (NBC in particular) around the time of the Titanic's discovery. Mrs. Nelle Snyder's long interview can be found on You Tube if you type in her name. She also attended the 1977 THS convention in Greenwich, Connecticut so there may be an audio tape of her lecture there.

Second Class: In addition to those you mentioned, I know that there are audio tapes of Marshall Drew in existence, as well as Nan Harper Pont, Madeleine Mellinger Mann, Edwina Troutt MacKenzie, Bertha Watt Marshall, William Richards, Maude Sincock Roberts. I know that Louise Laroche spoke of the event later in life at various survivor reunions so perhaps there is audio or video tape of her recollections.

Third Class: In addition to the names you mentioned, I know that there are audio and video tapes of Bertram Dean, Beatrice Sandstrom, Margaret Devaney O'Neill, George Yousef Thomas, Eleanor Johnson Shuman and Louise Kink Pope. I know a You Tube search of Eleanor Johnson Shuman will bring you to a number of interviews that she gave through the years up until her death in 1998.

So, in answer to your questions, and as you will read, there were many other survivors whose voices were recorded through the decades. The list I provided above is far from complete but as memory serves me, it is as accurate as I can recall from my involvement with Titanic societies years ago. I hope this will be of some help and that you can obtain copies of these accounts.

Respectfully,

Michael Findlay
 
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Mike Spooner

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A few years ago now I had the honour to seat next to Dorothy Kendle known as Dot Kendle the daughter of Edith Brown. Married name Hasiman. At the time of Titanic was 15 old.
Dot told me the most concern her mother had in the lifeboat was the bitter shivering cold and screams for help were to haunt her for life, and whether they ever see land again.
 

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Seumas

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Hi Seumas,

There are many other survivors whose voices can still be heard. I don't have a complete list but from memory, I remember the following:

First Class: In addition to Edith Russell (whom you mentioned), I know that survivors Washington Dodge, Jr., Margaret Graham Moore, Marjorie Newell Robb and Nelle Snyder gave many interviews in their later years that were recorded. Washington Dodge, Jr. spoke at the 1973 THS convention in Greenwich, Connecticut and for a number of years that society was selling an audio tape (and a record) of those survivor interviews. Margaret Graham Moore spoke to various schools and a recording of one of those interviews is known to exist. Marjorie Newell Robb lived the longest of the first-class passengers and her memories are preserved at the Fall River Maritime Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts. She also attended the 1987 and 1988 THS conventions in which she was a featured speaker so I'm sure video and audio tapes of that lecture exist. She spoke on television (NBC in particular) around the time of the Titanic's discovery. Mrs. Nelle Snyder's long interview can be found on You Tube if you type in her name. She also attended the 1977 THS convention in Greenwich, Connecticut so there may be an audio tape of her lecture there.

Second Class: In addition to those you mentioned, I know that there are audio tapes of Marshall Drew in existence, as well as Nan Harper Pont, Madeleine Mellinger Mann, Edwina Troutt MacKenzie, Bertha Watt Marshall, William Richards, Maude Sincock Roberts. I know that Louise Laroche spoke of the event later in life at various survivor reunions so perhaps there is audio or video tape of her recollections.

Third Class: In addition to the names you mentioned, I know that there are audio and video tapes of Bertram Dean, Beatrice Sandstrom, Margaret Devaney O'Neill, George Yousef Thomas, Eleanor Johnson Shuman and Louise Kink Pope. I know a You Tube search of Eleanor Johnson Shuman will bring you to a number of interviews that she gave through the years up until her death in 1998.

So, in answer to your questions, and as you will read, there were many other survivors whose voices were recorded through the decades. The list I provided above is far from complete but as memory serves me, it is as accurate as I can recall from my involvement with Titanic societies years ago. I hope this will be of some help and that you can obtain copies of these accounts.

Respectfully,

Michael Findlay
Hi Michael.

That is simply marvellous information. Thank you very much for that ! :)

All thanks to Michael, we can now significantly expand our list.

First Class

Washington Dodge Jnr
Margaret Graham
Marjorie Newell
Edith Russell
Nelle Snyder

Second Class

Ruth Becker
Edith Brown
Marshall Drew
Nan Harper
Eva Hart
Louise Laroche (possibly)
Madeline Mellinger
Michel Navratil
William Richards
Maude Sincock
Edwina Troutt
Bertha Watt

Third Class

Frank Aks
Gus Cohen
Bertram Dean
Millvina Dean
Margaret Devaney
Kate Gilnagh
Frankie Goldsmith
Eleanor Johnson
Louise Kink
Beatrice Sandström
Jirjis Yūsuf Tu'mah (subsequently known as George Thomas)

Deck Crew

Joseph Boxhall
Charles Lightoller
George Rowe

Victualling Crew

Sid Daniels
Arthur Lewis
Frank Prentice
Frederick Dent Ray
Maud Slocombe
James Witter

Engineering Crew

Wally Hurst

It's neat that Washington Dodge Jnr and his family's dining room steward Frederick Dent Ray both lived long enough to record their memories.

So, does anyone know of anymore voice recordings by survivors of the Titanic ? It would be good to find more of the crew.

I'd love to hear one of Fred Fleet or Lawrence Beesley if they exist.

Before I forget, there is one further sound film of a Titanic survivor ..... but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Titanic. What exactly do I mean by that you might ask ?

Surviving Titanic crewman Tom Whiteley abandoned the sea for Hollywood in the mid 1920s and in 1930 he ended up acting in the hit First World War drama film "Journey's End". Whiteley plays the Company Sergeant Major and features in several different scenes. It can be viewed online if you look hard for it.
 
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There are also interviews with:

Alfred Nourney (Baron von Drachstedt)
Berthe Leroy-Bourlard
Rose Amélie Icard
Marion Kenyon

I think there are a few more but need to look for them.
 
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Seumas

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Excellent Ioannis. Thank You. ;)

Update (three of the first class were servants but as they travelled on first class tickets I've lumped them in there):

First Class

Washington Dodge Jnr
Margaret Graham
Rose Amélie Icard
Marion Kenyon
Berthe Leroy
Marjorie Newell
Alfred Nourney
Edith Russell
Emma Sägesser
Nelle Snyder

Second Class

Ruth Becker
Edith Brown
Marshall Drew
Nan Harper
Eva Hart
Louise Laroche (possibly)
Madeline Mellinger
Michel Navratil
William Richards
Maude Sincock
Edwina Troutt
Bertha Watt

Third Class

Frank Aks
Gus Cohen
Bertram Dean
Millvina Dean
Margaret Devaney
Kate Gilnagh
Frankie Goldsmith
Eleanor Johnson
Louise Kink
Beatrice Sandström
Jirjis Yūsuf Tu'mah (subsequently known as George Thomas)

Deck Crew

Joseph Boxhall
Charles Lightoller
George Rowe

Victualling Crew

Sid Daniels
Arthur Lewis
Frank Prentice
Frederick Dent Ray
Maud Slocombe
James Witter

Engineering Crew

Wally Hurst

Really would be good if we could find more of the crew.

I wonder if the late John Maxtone-Graham ever made any recordings of his friend Violet Jessop speaking ?

Whilst I remember did any of the Carpathia's passengers and crew (asides from Rostron and Cottam) ever give a talk or an interview on radio or TV many years later ?
 
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Regarding Carpathia passengers and crew, I do recall seeing an episode of Good Morning America in 1982 to observe the 70th anniversary of Titanic's loss. On the program were Walter Lord, Edwina Troutt MacKenzie and George Thomas. Joining them was Bernice Palmer Ellis, who was a 17-year-old girl when she and her mother were passengers on the Carpathia. Bernice had a Kodak brownie box camera, and she took several photographs of the rescue. One of her famous photographs taken was that of Mr. and Mrs. Harder sitting on the deck of the Carpathia. Mrs. Ellis spoke of her recollections of the rescue and she brought the camera that she still owned to the taping of the interview. I am sure copies of this program can be obtained for Good Morning America is still on television here in the United States.
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hello Seumas,

A most interesting thread!

I would like to think that a recording of Sir Arthur Rostron's BBC interview survives, and I will need to jog my memory on this - though I think off the top of my head he was objecting to an anniversary 'documentary' planned to be broadcast by the BBC on the radio. Apparently, he had a bit of a Bolton 'twang' to his accent.

From what we can gather of Rostron in print, he had a rather peculiar way of speaking, same as that alluded to by Harrison describing Captain Lord's own peculiar way of speaking, and as can be evidenced to some degree by the 1961 taped recorded transcripts.

I would very much wish to obtain copies of the actual recordings of Captain Lord's interviews in 1961 - copies are about there somewhere!

As to whether anyone told the truth in 1912 or later, Cottam added a lot more details in his BBC interview, despite the BBC interviewer not asking the type of BBC radio 4 questions we get today. Cottam lived to a grand old age. We have discussed at length Boxhall's 1962 BBC radio interview.

Cheers,
Julian
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi Seumas,

That is an absolutely wonderful clip - very significant! Very many thanks for this!

No Bolton 'twang'. Quite a 'posh' voice, as might befit possibly someone who attended a fee paying secondary school - which is what Rostron attended in Bolton (apparently together with one of Captain Lord's elder brothers).

Still adhering to the 17 knot speed, and corroborating much of what Cottam later said in his 1957 BBC interview of being told of the first Marconi message got by Cottam.

Lots of very very interesting details, that deserves a thread of it's own. I ought to prepare a transcript.

Absolutely wonderful!

I would consider your above post to be the most significant post of 2019!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Mike Spooner

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Hi Seumas,

That is an absolutely wonderful clip - very significant! Very many thanks for this!

No Bolton 'twang'. Quite a 'posh' voice, as might befit possibly someone who attended a fee paying secondary school - which is what Rostron attended in Bolton (apparently together with one of Captain Lord's elder brothers).

Still adhering to the 17 knot speed, and corroborating much of what Cottam later said in his 1957 BBC interview of being told of the first Marconi message got by Cottam.

Lots of very very interesting details, that deserves a thread of it's own. I ought to prepare a transcript.

Absolutely wonderful!

I would consider your above post to be the most significant post of 2019!

Cheers,

Julian
I see Rostron served in the Royal Navy. I had an Uncle who join the army from a working class back ground. He quickly learnt to raise rank you had to speak with that posh voice. He would raise to be a Major General. Without that plum in the throat he would of be nobody. As for Rostron I wander if was the same case!
Just a matter of interest does anybody know if Captain Smith had a posh voice to?
 

Seumas

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Rostron served in the Royal Naval Reserve alongside many tens of thousands of other peacetime merchant navy men. This wasn't just for the officers.and engineers. Quite a number of the Titanic's rank and file deck crew and engineering crew were RN reservists too.

He was not in command of any warships. Rather he simply continued to command big Cunard vessel's that had been requisitioned by the Royal Navy as armed troop transports. Still an extremely important job though.

Rostron is quite possibly just using what I and many others would call his "telephone voice". Very clear and precise in speaking so others can understand you clearly. Plenty of my older relatives speak completely differently on the phone than they do in person. He was speaking over the radio of course but the same principle applies.

As for Smith there is only Lightoller's hint that Smith had quite a pleasant tone of voice to listen too and that he only rarely found occasion to raise it in anger or chastisement.

I would strongly dispute the whole "you need to be posh to rise in rank" thesis. There are plenty of men in the last hundred years or so have risen from the ranks to positions of the high command in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff during WW1, Sir William Robertson was the son of a postman who rose form the rank of private to Field Marshall and was known for his broad Midland's accent. Australian commander Sir John Monash was the son of German Jewish immigrants who ran a small shop and the Canadian commander Sir Arthur Currie was the son of a farmer. Plenty from humble origins make it to the top. So that's myth that needs to be cast aside.
 
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