Michel Navratil jr


Charles Provost

Does someone know if Master Michel Navratil ever entered in contact with Margaret Hays before her death in 1956 to meet her and thank her to have took care of him and his little brother? He certainly did so but I would like to be sure.

And finally, does Mr Navratil is active in Titanic conventions like other survivors presently?

Much appreciated,


Michael Findlay

Dear Charles,

Michel Navratil was never in contact with Margaret Hays Easton after the Titanic disaster. According to Michel, letters were exchanged between his mother and Margaret Hays Easton for a few years but all communication ceased with the outbreak of the First World War.

Michel returned to the United States for the first time in 1987. At a reunion of survivors in Wilmington, Delaware, I was honored to meet him during the gathering. Since I knew Margaret Easton Starbuck, Margaret Hays Easton's daughter, I gave Michel her name and phone number. Later that evening, Michel and his son Henri telephoned Mrs. Starbuck at her home in Connecticut. Arrangements were made for them to meet in New York City the following week. "Peggy" later told me that she almost dropped the telephone when Michel called her and introduced himself. She cried during the entire conversation.

A week later, Michel and Henri met Peggy Starbuck and her husband John at a dinner in New York City. Emotions ran high. Michel kissed Peggy and both conversed in French. Michel was very interested to hear about his "protector" and Peggy told him much about her mother. Peggy brought along her mother's picture to give to Michel. He kissed the photo and remarked, "that Miss Hays was just as beautiful as his mother remembered." After dinner, we drove past the former Hays residence on West 83rd Street to show Michel where he and his brother stayed in 1912. Michel was recently given a picture of himself on the steps of the apartment building. It was a very emotional time for him. He asked to get out of the car to touch the railing and steps that he played on 75 years earlier - and the same steps a nervous and emotional Marcel Navratil ran up to be reunited with her sons. He studied the geography of the street, and looked at the surrounding buildings and concrete sidewalks in an attempt to bring back memories of his brief stay here. One could recognize the impact it had on him.

In 1996, Peggy Starbuck and her family came to New York City to see Michel again following his participation in the expedition cruise to the wreck site. Both had been regular correspondents since 1987. Once again, Michel was delighted to
see Peggy and the two had lunch together. Peggy said that her mother never stopped wondering about "her boys". She never knew what had happened to them but believed one day they would come back into her life. Peggy was honored to have been given the opportunity to represent her mother.

Unfortunately, Peggy Starbuck suffered a severe stroke two years ago. Michel still lives in France and has the framed picture of Margaret Hays Easton on his dresser. In a letter to Peggy in 1987, she translated his French into English. He wrote "your dear mother is but a distant memory to me, but after seeing her picture for the first time, I now feel that she has been with me my entire life."


Michael Findlay

Laurie Rastellini


That was one of the sweetest stories I have ever heard. Thank you for posting it for everyone. It brought tears to my eyes. And Mr Navratil sounds like a wonderful man.


Mike Herbold

Thank you for that beautifully written and touching story.
Mike Herbold

Mark Bray

Thank you also for such a beautiful story. It was very ironic. I am glad they got to meet.

Mark Bray : )