Michael J H Yates

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The passing of Millvina Dean has finally prompted me, after nearly 30 years, into joining a group connected with a life-long obsession: the Titanic.
My question would perhaps be better answered in a different section, but it has been bothering me over the past months and concerns the "end of an era" theme that has recently flooded the Internet. Is the "living" link with the Titanic truly broken? Is there not a single individual alive in June 2009 with a link, however tenuous, with the great ship? I am reminded of the likes of Lilian Spence of Belfast who died relatively recently and recalled accompanying her father to Harland and Wolff back in 1911 and 1912, and had actual memories of the liner. Before her there were the recollections of William MacQuitty, and, somewhat unbelievably the unlikely tales told by one Herbert Johnston. There were certainly infants on board Carpathia - undoubtedly by now deceased - but what of the passengers of other nearby ships on the night: Mount Temple, Deutschland, or even the Olympic?
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
It's distantly possible that some people from that era are still alive who have direct Titanic connections. Direct meaning that they were either on the ship at some point, saw it, or were on some other ship. However, the span of time and age ranges is exactly the same and just as many of them have passed on. I suspect those remaining alive can be counted on your hands with a couple of fingers to spare.
Sep 7, 2002
On that same track after learning of Millvina's passing I was wondering if there were any in utero babies still alive. We knew Mrs. JJ Astor (Madeleine) was pregnant (JJA VI, d. 1992). Surely there were others. Is there info here someplace on that?


There are several Titanic-related sites that mention pregnant passengers (and their subsequent offspring) but I'm unable to definitively claim that any of these "in utero" survivors are still alive right now. If anyone can, I too would welcome info.
I'm aware of:
Maria Salvata Del Carlo, born some 7 months after the sinking to 2nd class passenger Mrs Argene Del Carlo, on 14th November 1912. An internet rumour persists that Maria, who'd now be 96, resides in a remote Italian village...
Then there's the slightly bizarre and some say improbable claim by Ellen Mary (Betty) Phillips, born 11th January 1913, that she was conceived on the Titanic. This is certainly plausible, just, as there's no doubt her mother was aboard (Kate Florence Phillips - travelling under the false name of Mrs Marshall) and was widely reported to have "eloped" with Henry Samuel Morley, for whom she worked. Morley perished in the sinking, but his death carries a question mark, since more than one account indicates he survived, to turn up in Papua New Guinea some years later!
Betty Walker (née Phillips) died in November '05; there are quite a few details of her story on the web. "Hannah" O'Brien, a 3rd class passenger, was also pregnant later giving birth to Marion Columba O'Brien on 3rd September 1912. Reputedly "alive" well beyond 2000, Marion did in fact die in 1994 - in Tennessee.
Are there others?

Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
I wouldn't mind betting that in 2012 some old dodderer will be produced by a con artist and proclaimed as the last living link to Titanic. Not all the sharks live in the sea!

Kyrila Scully

Apr 15, 2001
South Florida
Yes, Dave, there certainly are a lot of "pretenders." My family insists to this day that we had a relative aboard Titanic. The only links I've found are 1. My great-grandfather's name was the same as passenger George Henry Hunt, who perished, and 2. My grandfather attended a presentation where several Titanic survivors spoke about their experiences. (I'd love to have discovered who these survivors were--I know several did in fact go on a tour of the states to earn money but I don't know who the promoter was.)

I also have a clipping from a newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska, about a man who claimed to have been on the Titanic and he tells these fanciful stories about Captain Smith and various other people, but he was--in fact--a pretender. Yet the newspaper gave him a huge amount of space to tell his tale.

These family legends and newspaper articles about pretenders exist ad nauseum. Not to mention the con artists and Weekly World Report. (Just had to throw that in.)

Michael Yates

Jun 3, 2009
The theme of "pregnant or conceived on the Titanic" has been long discussed on MGY-related sites ... the same names consistently crop up.
I noted Michael's post and carried out a bit more scant Googling to discover that Maria Salvata died on 31st October 2008. It really does seem that it's all over as far as physical witnesses to the ship are concerned (in utero or otherwise). Despite the dawning of this realisation, I still wonder about Barbara West Dainton's elusive sister Edwyna, supposedly her mother Ada was pregnant with her in April 1912. It does seem highly unlikely we wouldn't know about her.
Then, one could enter the realms of the launch ceremony attendees - who saw the Titanic (a mother with a babe in arms, for example), quayside farewells at So'ton, Cherbourg, and Queenstown,(the same image springs to mind) - not to mention further Belfast-resident infants wheeled in a pram within site of the towering flanks of the Titanic during its construction!
Thanks to all who've commented on this, it's interesting to know that I'm not the only one to dwell on these matters ...
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