Rich People in Society


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Brian Ahern

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Am trying to think which of Titanic's passengers lost their lives or loved ones in WWI. Not because I expect the stats to mirror real life or shed any light on your discussion. You guys have just got me thinking. There's probably another thread on this somewhere on ET.

Off the top of my head:

In first class, Edith Pears lost two brothers and had a third institutionalized as a result of his experiences, and Florence Cumings lost a son. The Countess of Rothes' husband and one of Eloise Smith's husbands sustained injuries that - according to writers - contributed to their early deaths.

Third class passenger Daniel Buckley was killed in the war, as was crewman Archie Jewell. Stewardess Violet Jessop lost at least one brother.

One upper class family that was nearly decimated by the war was the Allans of Montreal. After losing both her daughters in the Lusitania sinking, Lady Allan and her husband then lost their only son to combat. In fact, they also buried their third daughter, though of natural causes and, I believe, many years later.

Actually, the Canadian Ryersons were on the Lusitania because a son had been killed, and the very important Stephenses were visiting a family member who'd been injured. I feel like quite a few of Lusitania's wealthy passengers made the final voyage because they were either intending to join the war effort themselves or were hurrying to relatives who were involved.

And the Bowes-Lyon who survived the Empress of Ireland's sinking was killed in WWI.
 

Brian Ahern

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It was Fergus Bowes-Lyon who was the Queen Mum's brother lost in WWI.

Also, since Winston Churchill's been brought up, I think the Countess of Rothes must have been related in some way to Clementine Churchill. Clementine's grandmother (born 1797) was named Clementina Drummond, which was also the Countess's mother's name. 'Clementina' seems to have been a name that was used over and over again in the family tree, and so nothing says they had to be too closely related. The distant branches of the Leigh family, for example, produced a multitude of Cassandras.
 
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My idea has always been that the Drummond clan was enormous - weren't the Lamson sisters travelling back from the funeral of a fourth sibling in England, a Lady Drummond? Brief perusals of Debrett have not turned up this woman - which, of course, would not be surprising if she were merely the wife of a knight. But if she had married into a peer's family, then she would still be listed. Does anybody have any idea who this fourth Lamson sister may have wed and when? There was a Drummond's bank at one point - any connection? I can't comment on the link to Noelle Rothes, I'm afraid.

Near my home on the Shropshire/Herefordshire border, there is the most exquisite house (now owned by the National Trust), Berrington Hall. At the time of the Great War, it was owned by Lord Cawley. Three of his four sons were killed - this kind of multiple trauma really doesn't bear thinking about.

Speaking of Clementine Churchill (nee Hozier) - Brian, you know what was said about her in Edwardian Society? That only she, along with Diana Manners, would have had the full complement of one thousand ships launched for her, a la Helen of Troy?!
 
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And no, Sashka, last night was one which I spent OFF the cocktails. I concede (in fact, would never dispute) that the monopoly of the aristocracy was being assailed during the inter-war period. If I'm arguing against anything, it is merely against your assertion that the dollar princesses in Twenties and Thirties Society felt glum and short-changed, finding that the toffs they'd so blithely wed were on the way out. I honestly do not believe that this notion would have prevalent, since there were still so many areas where the upper-classes really did maintain the upper hand. Besides, the decline had begun long before the Great War. Any girl with half-a-brain (or an informed papa) marrying into the aristocracy between 1880 to 1914 would have understood that it wasn't going to be all ermine and strawberry leaves. She would have known what she was getting into; to put it bluntly, that her coronet was being purchased for a substantial sum of her father's money. If the boost thus given to the ducal finances allowed her to spend the rest of her life (never mind her heirs) in splendour, then I don't think she would have been TOO 'disappointed'.
 
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sashka pozzetti

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I am pleased to hear that those of us who are not living in London, aren't missing parties every night!!!

I don't think I meant that the Dollar princesses felt glum and short changed. I just think that the reality for them when they arrived, as often in life, can't have been as good as the dream. That's why I like history so much. You can enjoy the best bits, and keep your distance from the worst. The Dollar Princesses must have got both.

I tried to find some statistics and figures for War dead but failed. I have a friend who is a lecturer and an expert on WWI so I will ask him.

Now I am getting sick as well, and have begun wondering what they had for headaches on the Titanic.
 
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'I just think that the reality for them when they arrived, as often in life, can't have been as good as the dream.'

I completely agree.
 

Bob Godfrey

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In the meantime, if you want to treat your headache with the remedies available on the Titanic, use Spirits of Ammonia if it's mild, Laudanum or Compound Tincture of Chloroform and Morphine if it's a severe neuralgic pain.
 
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sashka pozzetti

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I saw the statistics above, but the thing I wanted to know, which is what I said originally, was about the statistics for survival of Aristocratic Officers. I think it would be quite difficult to work it out, but knowing what WWI historians are like, I bet someone has. They would give Titanic buffs a run for their money in getting right into the detail!!!
 

Bob Godfrey

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Traditionally, almost all of the officers in the British army were from the 'right background' - ie upper or at least upper middle class. This was the situation at the beginning of the Great War. Later in the war, men of lower social standing (generally from the lower middle class) also were commissioned. This was due to the fact that so many from the traditional 'officer class' had by then been killed.

Cut it any way you like, young men from an upper class, public school background (with or without titles) volunteered in their thousands and were commissioned first as junior officers and sent into action with maximum enthusiasm and minimal experience. As such their chances of survival were lower than those of the men they commanded. In a combat situation you shoot the officers first (generally the enemy's, but sometimes your own!). And a gunsight makes no allowance for a man's social standing.
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Although not 'of' Society, there was one man aboard the 'Titanic' who's connections with it went up to the highest levels - W.T. Stead. During the late Victorian period, he was one of the most famous and prolific journalists and social commentators in Great Britain and he met with many of the movers and shakers of his day. At one point, he befriended that ornament of Society, Daisy Warwick (this, I believe, during the period when the countess was converting to socialism) and she in turn arranged for Stead to take tea at her house with her lover, the Prince of Wales. Although I seem to recall that the two men had an uneasy respect for one another, the meeting was not a success and was not repeated; they were simply too different. I'm sure I remember reading, too, that Stead had had rather a lot to say about the Tranby Croft Affair, in which Edward was implicated, so perhaps that might also go some way toward explaining why they didn't really hit it off.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Stead was also a friend of Gladys Deacon, future Duchess of Marlborough. I'm actually amazed that he doesn't receive more attention on this board. Along with Lady Duff Gordon, he was probably the passenger who was best known on the international stage during his lifetime and who, 'Titanic' connection quite apart, is still celebrated, talked of and written about in the present day. A couple of years ago, Channel 4 ran a documentary devoted to him and his crusade against child prostitution which made only passing reference at the very end to the sensational circumstances of his death.
 
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>>In a combat situation you shoot the officers first (generally the enemy's, but sometimes your own!). <<

A charming little practice that was known as "Being Fragged" to U.S. soldiers by the time Vietnam rolled around, but hardly a new one. A smart officer was the one who listened to his NCO's to gain the benefit of their experience. The ones who were "accidentally" shot in the back by their own troops tended to be the gung-ho types who thought a commission made them some sort of intellectual even though they had no idea what they were doing, and their mistakes were getting their own boys killed.

I don't know if it was all that common during the Great War as the idiot officers usually did something to make it really obvious who they were to everybody on the front. In that instance, and enemy sniper/marksman would obligingly blow him away and save them the trouble.

Per one of Murphey's Laws of combat: "Try not to be conspicuous. It draws fire!"
 
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Prior to the lecture I'm hearing at the Last Tuesday Society next week, I've been doing a spot of reading up on my hero, Cecil Beaton. Yesterday, I purchased the second volume of his unexpurgated diaries, edited by Hugo Vickers, which chronicle Beaton's adventures in the haute monde of the mid to late Sixties.

I'm actually struck by how many 'Titanic' connections there are in the diaries, despite the fact that Beaton never, to my knowledge, makes reference to the disaster directly. Many of his friends in English and American Society, even half-a-century after the event, knew or were related to first-class passengers.

As I've mentioned earlier on this thread, Beaton's neighbour in Wiltshire around this time was Viscount Head, who had been one of the oafish 'hearties' responsible for dumping Cecil in the river during a ball at Wilton House in the Twenties. Fifty years later, when both men had achieved positions in Society, they became reconciled and Lord Head and his wife were in fact good friends of Beaton, attending the same parties and even, on occasion, dining with the Queen Mother. The interesting thing is that Lord Head was a nephew of Christopher Head, who drowned on the 'Titanic'.

During a trip to New York, Beaton encounters an ageing beauty (I think possibly Ina Claire) who, in 1912, was appearing in a smash-hit musical on Broadway and who was being kept by Vincent Astor. The actress tells Beaton that it was whilst visiting her flat that Astor received the news that his father, the Colonel, was drowned. Either Claire or Beaton mangle the specifics horribly - Beaton has the Colonel AND his wife, Vincent's mother, dying on the 'Lusitania' but it's clear that, really, they are referring to the 'Titanic'.

In early 1966, Beaton visits Barbados, where he is taken to call on Agnes Meyer, who had married the brother of Edgar Meyer's father, Eugene. It seems that Edgar's Uncle Eugene was a very important man, a Wall Street banker, who became Governor of the Federal Reserve, organiser of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and first President of the World Bank. He and his wife also built an impressive art collection and Cecil was enormously taken with Mrs Meyer and writes at length of her in his diary. Mr and Mrs Meyer were the parents of Kay Graham, proprieteress of the 'Washington Post' and guest-of-honour at Truman Capote's legendary 'Black and White Ball' (which Beaton also attended and was a little bit sniffy about).

Lastly, it goes without saying that Beaton, always an Edwardian in spirit, was a devoted fan of Lucile and drew on her designs from the 1910-1914 period for much of his inspiration when costuming both the stage and film productions of 'My Fair Lady'.
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Cecil Beaton certainly was a fascinating person, and obviously had very good taste as he appreciates Lucile!!! All the articles I have read about her include his quote from ' Glass of fashion' about her use of colour. I love the photographs he did with plastic and cellophane in. The thing that worries me about him though is when he apparently started putting swastika's in his photographs. Not something that it is easy to get my head around!!!
 

Brian Ahern

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Martin - I had NOT heard that said about Clementine Churchill. Thanks for sharing it. Her photos certainly reveal a lovely woman, and a stylish one. The Churchill marriage was definitely one in which there was an enormous disparity in looks.
 
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Clementine was certainly very striking. Her family was connected to the Mitfords but, from the top of my head, I can't think how...

I've never quite seen why Diana Cooper was considered such an icon of loveliness for fifty years. As one small child was heard to remark, having just been told that he was about to see the most beautiful woman in the world; 'But Mummy, she looks like a sheep!'
 

Brian Ahern

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Martin, it never occurred to me to associate the Lamsons' sister with the Drummonds we were discussing. I've tried over the years to find out about the Victor Drummond who married the Lamson sister, and been surprised that it was so difficult. I think I did unearth something, though, and will look into it again.
 
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As will I...between us, we might just get there!

This very afternoon I purchased on-line a book about the Drummond family in the 1820s and 1830s, when the family were at the height of their powers, both socially and financially. A bit out of our period, I know, but it might shed light nonetheless. I've always been amazed by the places I find information on otherwise obscure or elusive characters. Like Tyrell and Julia Cavendish, for example!
 
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