Newspaper sensationalism of the sinking


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Charity was indeed what they had to resort to. No welfare state in those days.

I'm not 100% sure about this but I do seem to recall reading that some next of kin were receiving money from the disaster fund as late as the thirties.

The widow of James Kieran (the chief third class steward) started working as a stewardess with the WSL to support her three children after her husband's death.

One lesser known and rather unusual effect on one "Titanic family" was that of steward H. P. Hill's daughters.

Several years prior to his death in the disaster, Hill abandoned his family. After his death, two of his daughters were placed in the well regarded Royal Masonic School for Girls. Hill was a Freemason and the fraternity evidently took an interest in his family for some reason.
I guess it's possible but I'm surprised any disaster fund made it past the days of WW1 with all the trouble England was having funding the war and providing rations for the troops. Must have been some charitable people kicking in. But maybe not all that strange. WSL/Cunard has funded the upkeep of the Halifax cemetery for decades and decades. Or so I've read.
 

Seumas

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I guess it's possible but I'm surprised any disaster fund made it past the days of WW1 with all the trouble England was having funding the war and providing rations for the troops. Must have been some charitable people kicking in. But maybe not all that strange. WSL/Cunard has funded the upkeep of the Halifax cemetery for decades and decades. Or so I've read.
In terms of money for victims who were domiciled in the UK, there was a huge amount of money raised after the disaster for their next-of-kin.

All of it was from private individual donations, fundraising events (e.g. orchestral concerts, theatrical plays, football matches) and private enterprise. The government did not fund it. Aristocrats and common labourers alike all contributed.

The fund was still paying out during the twenties. There would be a lot of kids growing up who had been in the cot when their dad lost his life aboard the Titanic. As I say, I'm positive I've read somewhere in the past that grants were still being made well into the thirties. In all honesty though I'm not 100% certain and could be wrong !

On your two point about the First World War, the UK (England is just one part of it) found plenty of loans (mostly from the USA) to fund the war effort.

It was after the war in the twenties that those huge problems: social (mass unemployment, poor public health, bad housing), political (unstable governments, a massive general strike in 1926) and financial (inflation, loan repayments) fully hit the UK right between the eyes. Indeed, many of the Titanic's surviving firemen, trimmers, stewards, ABs etc would have found this a particularly tough time for them and their families.

I've never come across any work concerning the British Army in WW1 that claimed there was ever a shortage of rations for the men - quite the opposite in fact. At least four Titanic survivors (Sid Daniels, William Ryerson, Frank Prentice & John Diaper) saw action in France specifically with the British Army during the war.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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At least four Titanic survivors (Sid Daniels, William Ryerson, Frank Prentice & John Diaper) saw action in France specifically with the British Army during the war.
That's interesting. I knew about Sid Daniels and Frank Prentice but not of the other two.

Mr Alan Sheppard, the second-hand bookshop owner in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire whom I met and befriended in March 1985 was the man who rekindled my interest in the Titanic and introduced me to Mrs Alice Braithwaite, the first source that started me on my research into Titanic survivor John Collins. Mr Sheppard was from the Portsmouth area and his parents were close friends of Sidney Daniels and his second wife Alfreda. Mr Sheppard went to school with one of Daniels' sons (I think it was Albert) and himself spent a lot of time listening to Sidney Daniels' stories about his experiences on board the Titanic and both World Wars. That was what started him on his own interest in those subjects.

But the most interesting person on that Seumas' list is William Edwy Ryerson. The "other" Ryerson, as he was sometimes called, was just a Second Class steward but he had a distant cousin in First Class, passenger Arthur Ryerson. The irony of it was that William Ryerson survived the disaster whereas his wealthy cousin did not.
 
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In terms of money for victims who were domiciled in the UK, there was a huge amount of money raised after the disaster for their next-of-kin.

All of it was from private individual donations, fundraising events (e.g. orchestral concerts, theatrical plays, football matches) and private enterprise. The government did not fund it. Aristocrats and common labourers alike all contributed.

The fund was still paying out during the twenties. There would be a lot of kids growing up who had been in the cot when their dad lost his life aboard the Titanic. As I say, I'm positive I've read somewhere in the past that grants were still being made well into the thirties. In all honesty though I'm not 100% certain and could be wrong !

On your two point about the First World War, the UK (England is just one part of it) found plenty of loans (mostly from the USA) to fund the war effort.

It was after the war in the twenties that those huge problems: social (mass unemployment, poor public health, bad housing), political (unstable governments, a massive general strike in 1926) and financial (inflation, loan repayments) fully hit the UK right between the eyes. Indeed, many of the Titanic's surviving firemen, trimmers, stewards, ABs etc would have found this a particularly tough time for them and their families.

I've never come across any work concerning the British Army in WW1 that claimed there was ever a shortage of rations for the men - quite the opposite in fact. At least four Titanic survivors (Sid Daniels, William Ryerson, Frank Prentice & John Diaper) saw action in France specifically with the British Army during the war.
There were problems at different times getting the troops food. They had logistic problems and often when they did get it it was pretty horrible stuff. I have read at one point their solution was to give the troops more tobacco products to help stave off hunger pains. Some said tea and biscuits was all they were getting. And the bully beef as they called it was often rotten. I've read many accounts of the problems they had. And while sometimes it was bad in France it was worse in other parts of the world they were fighting in.
 

Seumas

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There were problems at different times getting the troops food. They had logistic problems and often when they did get it it was pretty horrible stuff. I have read at one point their solution was to give the troops more tobacco products to help stave off hunger pains. Some said tea and biscuits was all they were getting. And the bully beef as they called it was often rotten. I've read many accounts of the problems they had. And while sometimes it was bad in France it was worse in other parts of the world they were fighting in.
I've just went through that article and was not all that impressed with its content if I'm honest with you Steven.

It's a bit misleading, it gives the impression that the men (specifically Australians) where in the frontline trenches 24/7. For French and German troops that was the case, they spent weeks in the frontline without rest.

For British and Commonwealth troops it was different. They spent at most about seven days a month in the trenches. The rest of the time was spent in the roomier and safer support trenches or behind the lines training, digging ditches, drilling or unloading stores. When they were behind the lines they could expect a proper well cooked hot meal three times a day from the field kitchens. This is one of the reasons why despite heavy losses, morale never broke down.

I would cite the late Richard Holmes widely acclaimed and extensively peer reviewed history "Tommy: The British Soldier On The Western Front" for the real story about what they got by on and how much of it they got. It doesn't tie in with his decades of research into the rank and file at all. The British armed forces in fact never suffered a shortage of food in either war, they got more than the civilians did.

A curious wee story from my own family: My Great-Great Grandfather was out in France during WW1 with the Cameron Highlanders. Before the war he had been a wood sawyer and lived with his family in the deprived district of Camlachie. He told his grandson twenty years later that he had "never ate as much in my life as what I did in the trenches".

In the UK during the age of both the Titanic and the First World War many households in poor industrial districts had to live largely off bread, margarine and tea for most of the week. Some of my ancestors did. It was all they could readily afford. Meat or fish was a treat for the weekend or a special occasion. A lot of men aboard the Titanic would have been able to tell you stories of near starvation in slums when they were kids.

That's interesting. I knew about Sid Daniels and Frank Prentice but not of the other two.

Mr Alan Sheppard, the second-hand bookshop owner in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire whom I met and befriended in March 1985 was the man who rekindled my interest in the Titanic and introduced me to Mrs Alice Braithwaite, the first source that started me on my research into Titanic survivor John Collins. Mr Sheppard was from the Portsmouth area and his parents were close friends of Sidney Daniels and his second wife Alfreda. Mr Sheppard went to school with one of Daniels' sons (I think it was Albert) and himself spent a lot of time listening to Sidney Daniels' stories about his experiences on board the Titanic and both World Wars. That was what started him on his own interest in those subjects.

But the most interesting person on that Seumas' list is William Edwy Ryerson. The "other" Ryerson, as he was sometimes called, was just a Second Class steward but he had a distant cousin in First Class, passenger Arthur Ryerson. The irony of it was that William Ryerson survived the disaster whereas his wealthy cousin did not.
William Ryerson served with the British Army in the Royal Artillery during the war and had previously served in the Boer War with the Canadian cavalry.

John Diaper had been a regular from 1902 to 1909 and was still a part of the army reserves when he signed on aboard the Titanic. He was recalled to the Hampshire Regiment in 1914 and wounded during "The Great Retreat" from Mons. Diaper then spent the rest of the war on home service as a cook with the Royal Engineers. The reason you can tell that Diaper was still with the reserves whilst aboard the Titanic is in the photograph of him in his ET biography - three good conduct chevrons on his cuffs denoting at least twelve years of good conduct whilst with the colours. It would have overlapped with 1912.

Technically, Tom Whitely also saw active service with the British Army during the First World War. He was with the Royal Flying Corps which began the war as a part of the British Army but which in April 1918 ceased to be part of the army and became an independent entity as the RAF. Whitely seems to have started off as a ground crew mechanic but subsequently become an aerial observer/gunner and was wounded in action at some point. He served again in the RAF during WW2 as a warrant officer where he died in Italy of a sudden illness.

Two survivors briefly served with the colours but saw no what is called "active service".

Wilfrid Foley joined the British Army in 1915 but was soon invalided out just a few months later because he had TB from which he died a year later.

George Knight had served with the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1883 to 1904 and reached the rank of colour sergeant. He rejoined in 1914 but it's highly unlikely that a man of fifty would have been sent abroad. He was discharged in 1915.

A lot of the Titanic's crew were for obvious reasons Royal Navy reservists but there were a few who were British Army reservists such as Dr John Simpson, Thomas Teuton, Joseph Dawson and John Chorley amongst others.

Now this one is a great story. Third Class Passenger Harold Reynolds had just weeks previously deserted from the Royal West Kent Regiment and was a wanted man when he stepped aboard the Titanic !
 
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Arun Vajpey

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John Collins, the surviving scullion, also served during the the First World War. he was, in fact, a POW in Germany when he shared stories of his experiences on board the Titanic. From what I learned during my research, there is a lot of consistency with Collins' statements over the years, tallying with what he testified at the American Inquiry.
 
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I've just went through that article and was not all that impressed with its content if I'm honest with you Steven.

It's a bit misleading, it gives the impression that the men (specifically Australians) where in the frontline trenches 24/7. For French and German troops that was the case, they spent weeks in the frontline without rest.

For British and Commonwealth troops it was different. They spent at most about seven days a month in the trenches. The rest of the time was spent in the roomier and safer support trenches or behind the lines training, digging ditches, drilling or unloading stores. When they were behind the lines they could expect a proper well cooked hot meal three times a day from the field kitchens. This is one of the reasons why despite heavy losses, morale never broke down.

I would cite the late Richard Holmes widely acclaimed and extensively peer reviewed history "Tommy: The British Soldier On The Western Front" for the real story about what they got by on and how much of it they got. It doesn't tie in with his decades of research into the rank and file at all. The British armed forces in fact never suffered a shortage of food in either war, they got more than the civilians did.

A curious wee story from my own family: My Great-Great Grandfather was out in France during WW1 with the Cameron Highlanders. Before the war he had been a wood sawyer and lived with his family in the deprived district of Camlachie. He told his grandson twenty years later that he had "never ate as much in my life as what I did in the trenches".

In the UK during the age of both the Titanic and the First World War many households in poor industrial districts had to live largely off bread, margarine and tea for most of the week. Some of my ancestors did. It was all they could readily afford. Meat or fish was a treat for the weekend or a special occasion. A lot of men aboard the Titanic would have been able to tell you stories of near starvation in slums when they were kids.


William Ryerson served with the British Army in the Royal Artillery during the war and had previously served in the Boer War with the Canadian cavalry.

John Diaper had been a regular from 1902 to 1909 and was still a part of the army reserves when he signed on aboard the Titanic. He was recalled to the Hampshire Regiment in 1914 and wounded during "The Great Retreat" from Mons. Diaper then spent the rest of the war on home service as a cook with the Royal Engineers. The reason you can tell that Diaper was still with the reserves whilst aboard the Titanic is in the photograph of him in his ET biography - three good conduct chevrons on his cuffs denoting at least twelve years of good conduct whilst with the colours. It would have overlapped with 1912.

Technically, Tom Whitely also saw active service with the British Army during the First World War. He was with the Royal Flying Corps which began the war as a part of the British Army but which in April 1918 ceased to be part of the army and became an independent entity as the RAF. Whitely seems to have started off as a ground crew mechanic but subsequently become an aerial observer/gunner and was wounded in action at some point. He served again in the RAF during WW2 as a warrant officer where he died in Italy of a sudden illness.

Two survivors briefly served with the colours but saw no what is called "active service".

Wilfrid Foley joined the British Army in 1915 but was soon invalided out just a few months later because he had TB from which he died a year later.

George Knight had served with the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1883 to 1904 and reached the rank of colour sergeant. He rejoined in 1914 but it's highly unlikely that a man of fifty would have been sent abroad. He was discharged in 1915.

A lot of the Titanic's crew were for obvious reasons Royal Navy reservists but there were a few who were British Army reservists such as Dr John Simpson, Thomas Teuton, Joseph Dawson and John Chorley amongst others.

Now this one is a great story. Third Class Passenger Harold Reynolds had just weeks previously deserted from the Royal West Kent Regiment and was a wanted man when he stepped aboard the Titanic !
No problem. I prefer that you are honest about disagreeing. We will just have to disagree with each other on this. I wasn't trying to make it out like it was a famine like in some countries where millions die of starvation. But there were problems at times getting food fit to eat to the troops. And often it was at the expense of the civilian population. Towards the end of the war when Germany started unrestricted submarine warfare the problem was getting worse. Britain had started food rationing among the population to try and keep it going to the troops. Crop failures where also taking their toll. Food production also got hit because many farmers and field hands had left to go to the war. Crop yields were down hence the drive in Britain to plant an early version of the Victory gardens and the formation of the Women's Land Army to replace farmers. Whether that was just propaganda which there was a lot of during the war one would have to come to their own conclusions. But we obviously have a different take on this. Again no problem. I like hearing different views on things. I brought it up because I was surprised that with all the problems during the war that people were still donating to the Titanic victims. Cheers.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I have seen a live example of how even modern reporters stoop to cheap levels in search of sensationalism. It was doing the April 1998 annual British Titanic Society meeting in Southampton. It was the first one after Cameron's 1997 film had been released and as can be imagined, there was quite a bit of (often polarized) opinions about it. I was looking at some displays in the lounge area when a young female reporter and her cameraman (they looked semi-tabloid but I don't recall the specific agency they represented) were asking for comments from a senior BTS member who has written a well known book about a certain aspect of the disaster but who shall remain nameless here.

He initially was reluctant, except to say that it was an OK film or something like that. But the reporter actually pressurized him into making it a bit more "colourful" at which point he responded in a very very artificial sounding raised voice "I was disappointed that Lightoller was not shown like James Bond!" I had to move away a little so as not to appear to be eavesdropping but their subsequent body language suggested that more of such exaggerated nonsense was being spouted. Frankly, the whole spectacle looked and sounded unprofessional and utterly ridiculous.

The problem is that a lot of the media outlets pander to the expectations of the general public who often have little idea of the various aspects of the Titanic disaster. When Gardiner's atrocious book about the switch theory was released, one of my then colleagues - who knew about my Titanic interest and had mocked me several times about it - thought it was a major breakthrough and tried to laugh in my face in front of others when he got the chance, saying "looks like your Titanic did not even exist!" or something like that. I had to exercise enormous self-control not to drive my fist into his sneering face but got my own back by saying something quite rude about his intellect. From his shocked expression and those of the others within earshot, I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had scored a home run.
 
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I have seen a live example of how even modern reporters stoop to cheap levels in search of sensationalism. It was doing the April 1998 annual British Titanic Society meeting in Southampton. It was the first one after Cameron's 1997 film had been released and as can be imagined, there was quite a bit of (often polarized) opinions about it. I was looking at some displays in the lounge area when a young female reporter and her cameraman (they looked semi-tabloid but I don't recall the specific agency they represented) were asking for comments from a senior BTS member who has written a well known book about a certain aspect of the disaster but who shall remain nameless here.

He initially was reluctant, except to say that it was an OK film or something like that. But the reporter actually pressurized him into making it a bit more "colourful" at which point he responded in a very very artificial sounding raised voice "I was disappointed that Lightoller was not shown like James Bond!" I had to move away a little so as not to appear to be eavesdropping but their subsequent body language suggested that more of such exaggerated nonsense was being spouted. Frankly, the whole spectacle looked and sounded unprofessional and utterly ridiculous.

The problem is that a lot of the media outlets pander to the expectations of the general public who often have little idea of the various aspects of the Titanic disaster. When Gardiner's atrocious book about the switch theory was released, one of my then colleagues - who knew about my Titanic interest and had mocked me several times about it - thought it was a major breakthrough and tried to laugh in my face in front of others when he got the chance, saying "looks like your Titanic did not even exist!" or something like that. I had to exercise enormous self-control not to drive my fist into his sneering face but got my own back by saying something quite rude about his intellect. From his shocked expression and those of the others within earshot, I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had scored a home run.
I once had an encounter with the press about Titanic but not quite the same. When I was in Belfast for the 100th anniversary the night before the events I ran into a BBC news crew that were there to cover it. I got back to my hotel late and there was a big party breaking up. I was holding the door open for a whole gaggle of drunken chicks making their way out. The BBC crew was outside sitting having a smoke cause I guess there are no more smoking rooms in Ireland. Anyway one of them asked me what did my ball cap mean that I was wearing. I told him it was a Phoenix Suns cap. When they realized I was a yank they started asking me questions why I was in Belfast. I told them I had been in Germany and arraigned to be there for the Titanic events. They just didn't get why anybody was still interested in Titanic after a 100 years. I tried to explain it to them but they just didn't get it. They didn't want to be there at all but a job was a job. But they were nice people just not into Titanic at all. I BS'd with them for awhile. They were more interested in hearing about Las Vegas than Titanic.
 

Seumas

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I once had an encounter with the press about Titanic but not quite the same. When I was in Belfast for the 100th anniversary the night before the events I ran into a BBC news crew that were there to cover it. I got back to my hotel late and there was a big party breaking up. I was holding the door open for a whole gaggle of drunken chicks making their way out. The BBC crew was outside sitting having a smoke cause I guess there are no more smoking rooms in Ireland. Anyway one of them asked me what did my ball cap mean that I was wearing. I told him it was a Phoenix Suns cap. When they realized I was a yank they started asking me questions why I was in Belfast. I told them I had been in Germany and arraigned to be there for the Titanic events. They just didn't get why anybody was still interested in Titanic after a 100 years. I tried to explain it to them but they just didn't get it. They didn't want to be there at all but a job was a job. But they were nice people just not into Titanic at all. I BS'd with them for awhile. They were more interested in hearing about Las Vegas than Titanic.
I wasn't impressed with the BBC's coverage of the centenary. I wonder if Arun felt the same too ?

They did quite a lot of reports into it visiting Belfast and Southampton etc. Old photos and the only bit of film footage of the ship were shown. A few tales of people who left the shires to go to America or Canada and never made it etc etc etc

Still, it was all very half hearted and slapdash. Often lacking any substance.

A lot of the reporters knew little about the subject and viewed many people who were interested in it as being eccentrics.

They had Kate Williams (a well known UK historian of royalty and aristocracy) as their resident historian for the centenary. She's a nice lady but was only concerned about the first class passengers. The whole engineering, navigation, seamanship side of things had no interest to her. And that was their resident "expert" for goodness sake !

I also remember them doing an interview aboard a cruise ship going to the wreck for the centenary that went like this

"Joe, your great-grandfather was a sailor aboard the Titanic and was in charge of one of the lifeboats, were there any stories passed down to you about his experiences that night ?

"Em, no."

"Ok, Liz, your grandfather was a stoker who got away by the skin of his teeth. When you were a girl did he ever tell you about what he went through."

"No, his allotment and the horse racing was all he really talked about"

"Oh right. Ah, Bill, your Great-Great Uncle was a third class passenger who drowned. Did your family ever speak about it ?"

"No, we didn't know he even existed until about ten years ago."

"Ok, well thank you guys. Back to the studio."


The reporter was left looking like such a chump :D

I can recall Mark Chirnside getting the occasional brief interview but I don't recall Paul Lee or Dan Parkes getting asked to explain things for a UK audience like they should have been asked to.

All in all the BBC's coverage of the centenary was poor I thought.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I wasn't impressed with the BBC's coverage of the centenary. I wonder if Arun felt the same too ?
TBH, I was scuba diving in Cozumel and Belize at the time and missed it. But I have heard others mentioning that it was not very impressive, considering BBC's usually very good documentaries.
 
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I don’t get why people can’t let others enjoy things lol
I agree with you on that. A lot of people like to be buzzkills when they don't have to be. But in fairness to those BBC guys I was talking to they weren't rude or mocking in any way. They were just more curious and astounded that people still cared about something so long ago in their minds. Like I said they didn't want to be there. Must have been an F1 race or something else they wanted to cover. Cheers.
 
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I wasn't impressed with the BBC's coverage of the centenary. I wonder if Arun felt the same too ?

They did quite a lot of reports into it visiting Belfast and Southampton etc. Old photos and the only bit of film footage of the ship were shown. A few tales of people who left the shires to go to America or Canada and never made it etc etc etc

Still, it was all very half hearted and slapdash. Often lacking any substance.

A lot of the reporters knew little about the subject and viewed many people who were interested in it as being eccentrics.

They had Kate Williams (a well known UK historian of royalty and aristocracy) as their resident historian for the centenary. She's a nice lady but was only concerned about the first class passengers. The whole engineering, navigation, seamanship side of things had no interest to her. And that was their resident "expert" for goodness sake !

I also remember them doing an interview aboard a cruise ship going to the wreck for the centenary that went like this

"Joe, your great-grandfather was a sailor aboard the Titanic and was in charge of one of the lifeboats, were there any stories passed down to you about his experiences that night ?

"Em, no."

"Ok, Liz, your grandfather was a stoker who got away by the skin of his teeth. When you were a girl did he ever tell you about what he went through."

"No, his allotment and the horse racing was all he really talked about"

"Oh right. Ah, Bill, your Great-Great Uncle was a third class passenger who drowned. Did your family ever speak about it ?"

"No, we didn't know he even existed until about ten years ago."

"Ok, well thank you guys. Back to the studio."


The reporter was left looking like such a chump :D

I can recall Mark Chirnside getting the occasional brief interview but I don't recall Paul Lee or Dan Parkes getting asked to explain things for a UK audience like they should have been asked to.

ght.All in all the BBC's coverage of the centenary was poor I thought.
Yes. I will say I was surprised when the next evening I watched the covering of the events on the news. Maybe I should say lack of covering. It was like there were only a few short segments on it the next night. Maybe it was just the channels I was getting. As for the BBC, I have always liked their network. The made many good shows in my opinion over the years. But I have noticed in the last couple of years it doesn't seem to be the same outfit as far as quality goes. Seems like they have gone cheap so to speak. At least that's my perception of it. Cheers.
 

George Jacub

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I guess it's possible but I'm surprised any disaster fund made it past the days of WW1 with all the trouble England was having funding the war and providing rations for the troops. Must have been some charitable people kicking in. But maybe not all that strange. WSL/Cunard has funded the upkeep of the Halifax cemetery for decades and decades. Or so I've read.

The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954)

Wed 21 May 1952


Titanic Survivors Dwindling

LONDON. — Miss Susan Webster, a Cornish woman, who has just died in

Hartford, Connecticut, at. 77, was one of the now dwindling 711 survivors of

the Titanic, which, in April, 1912, hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage and

sank, with the loss of 1513 lives.

In the office of the Pub lic Trustee in a little room off Kingsway a civil servant and two women still

administer the Titanic Fund for the dependants of those who were drowned.

Allowances of just over £3 a week (including State help) are drawn bv 117 dependants.

Oldest is a widow of 96; youngest a woman in her 40's. Among them are 90 widows, who lose their

pensions if they re-marry.

Capital of the fund is being paid out as well as interest. Actuaries estimate that the last few

pounds will last until the last dependant dies.
 
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The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954)

Wed 21 May 1952


Titanic Survivors Dwindling

LONDON. — Miss Susan Webster, a Cornish woman, who has just died in

Hartford, Connecticut, at. 77, was one of the now dwindling 711 survivors of

the Titanic, which, in April, 1912, hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage and

sank, with the loss of 1513 lives.

In the office of the Pub lic Trustee in a little room off Kingsway a civil servant and two women still

administer the Titanic Fund for the dependants of those who were drowned.

Allowances of just over £3 a week (including State help) are drawn bv 117 dependants.

Oldest is a widow of 96; youngest a woman in her 40's. Among them are 90 widows, who lose their

pensions if they re-marry.

Capital of the fund is being paid out as well as interest. Actuaries estimate that the last few

pounds will last until the last dependant dies.
Wow. Thanks for the article. I had no idea that the fund went on as long as it did. I knew about the upkeep of the Halifax cemetery but not this. Thanks.
P.S...sort of related as to pensions and funds with a little gaming of the system going. I read it was not uncommon for young girls to marry civil war pensioners to get the cash back in those days.
 

Jim Currie

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I wasn't impressed with the BBC's coverage of the centenary. I wonder if Arun felt the same too ?

They did quite a lot of reports into it visiting Belfast and Southampton etc. Old photos and the only bit of film footage of the ship were shown. A few tales of people who left the shires to go to America or Canada and never made it etc etc etc

Still, it was all very half hearted and slapdash. Often lacking any substance.

A lot of the reporters knew little about the subject and viewed many people who were interested in it as being eccentrics.

They had Kate Williams (a well known UK historian of royalty and aristocracy) as their resident historian for the centenary. She's a nice lady but was only concerned about the first class passengers. The whole engineering, navigation, seamanship side of things had no interest to her. And that was their resident "expert" for goodness sake !

I also remember them doing an interview aboard a cruise ship going to the wreck for the centenary that went like this

"Joe, your great-grandfather was a sailor aboard the Titanic and was in charge of one of the lifeboats, were there any stories passed down to you about his experiences that night ?

"Em, no."

"Ok, Liz, your grandfather was a stoker who got away by the skin of his teeth. When you were a girl did he ever tell you about what he went through."

"No, his allotment and the horse racing was all he really talked about"

"Oh right. Ah, Bill, your Great-Great Uncle was a third class passenger who drowned. Did your family ever speak about it ?"

"No, we didn't know he even existed until about ten years ago."

"Ok, well thank you guys. Back to the studio."


The reporter was left looking like such a chump :D

I can recall Mark Chirnside getting the occasional brief interview but I don't recall Paul Lee or Dan Parkes getting asked to explain things for a UK audience like they should have been asked to.

All in all the BBC's coverage of the centenary was poor I thought.
I'm not surprised, Seamas. because in reality, up until James Cameron's film, very few people cared, knew much, or indeed knew anything, about Titanic. The only time I ever heard the name mentioned was when, at age 14, I announce I was going to sea and an aunt made a joke about ships I might find myself on. She knew about Titanic since she and all of my adult family were adults or almost adults in 1912. That was the first time I had even heard any one of them mention the name.

Only after two world wars, an horrendous loss of life over a period of 30 years, and as you pointed out - some very hard times in between wars - did the public have time, and the luxury of being able to reflect on Titanic. Even then, the interest was very short-lived and the Cold War and a rapidly changing world banished Titanic from the minds of Joe public.

As for professionals?
Up until I left the deep sea in the mid 90's, I never heard the name of that ship mentioned once. I never saw the first film about it - I was at sea and away for 4 years in the 1950s, but I did hear a lot of criticism from professionals who had seen it.

By the way -Dan and Paul are among the best researchers on the subject. Mark's knowledge of Olympic class ships is encyclopedic. However, like al of us - each one is only able to enlighten on specific areas of interest which lie within the scope of subject knowledge. All three are, like many of our members, interested in minutiae whereas, Joe Public much prefers the juicy gossip. Hence the plethora of ridiculous, false, outlandish so -call news reports about Titanic which are spewed forth to this day.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I'm not surprised, Seamas. because in reality, up until James Cameron's film, very few people cared, knew much, or indeed knew anything, about Titanic.
That's not true Jim. I first heard about the Titanic in growing up in India in 1967 when I saw a re-run of the film The Unsinkable Molly Brown as a 12-year-old. After the film, the "uncle" with whom I went to the cinema explained about the famous disaster to me and that is was started the interest. Afterwards I endeavoured to get as much information about it as possible but could only get hold of a dog-eared paperback of ANTR and one of The Maiden Voyage plus the odd magazine featuring an article. Of course, all the information was filled with sensationalism about "unsinkable ship", "mountain of ice", "trying to break the Atlantic record", "everybody singing and dancing when the collision took place" and such nonsense.

Although I maintained a passing interest while in Medical School in the 70s, it was not until I came to the UK in 1985 and met Mr Sheppard that the hobby really took off. Over the next decade, I bought books, joined the British Titanic Society, met 3 survivors, researched into John Collins' experiences etc, all before Cameron's film.

IMO, it was the discovery of Titanic's wreck by Ballard's team and subsequent expeditions that stimulated greater public interest in the disaster.
 

Kyle Naber

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I think ANTR, the discovery of the wreck, and the Cameron film all gave boosts to the public’s interest in the ship and the disaster (from smallest to most significant impact).
 

Arun Vajpey

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I think the discovery of the wreck was the single most important stimulus for general public interest in the Titanic. Subsequent to that but before Cameron's film, there were several documentaries made, books published (The Night Lives On by Walter Lord in 1986, Titanic by Eaton & Haas in 1987, Titanic: An Illustrated History by Don Lynch in 1992, Ken Marschall's paintings etc). IMO, that increasing interest was one of the reasons that Cameron made the film with such a huge budget.

Also, the 75th anniversary if the sinking in 1987 was quite a big and publicized event as it took place after the discovery and new theories and speculations were coming about. I recall watching a TV interview with Ruth Becker and a couple of other survivors that year.
 
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