Survivors audio testimonies


Oct 19, 2001
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Dear all, We here in France published a double CD containing oral testimonies by Titanic survivors, recorded between 1915 and 1999. Among them are Michel Navratil, Berthe Leroy, Edwina Troutt, Charles Lightoller, Amelie Icard, Agnes Sandström, Joseph Rosenblatt, Athur Hay, Eva Hart, Edith Russell, Mrs Kenyon, Margaret O'Neil, Joseph Boxhall, Fred Dent-Ray, Franck Goldsmith, Washington Dodge Jr., John Butler, Captain Lord, but also rare documents : whistles of the Titanic recovered from the wreck, song Wreck of the Titanic, song Der Untergang der Titanic, song Be British, Marconi's testimony, song Autumn, song Stand to our post!, etc. Documents are in French and English. If interested, please ask for details. 95 minutes of excellent archival material.

Olivier Mendez
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Hi Peter, Sorry to have listed Joseph Rosenblatt amongst the Titanic survivors... He is a famous Jewish cantor who, circa 1915 - 1920, sang in Hebrew 'The prayer for the dead', a song also known as 'El mole rachmin für Titanik' (a Victor record # 35312-8). The recording is a RARE item!
 
Oct 19, 2001
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May I add a few other details about this double CD? It includes items such as:

- the Olympic's whistles
- Der Untergang der Titanic, a German song by Rudolf Hook and Alexander Herbakoff (ca. 1920)
- a CQD recorded aboard a liner
- a SOS recorded aboard a liner
- an interview of Guglielmo Marconi (dec. 1931)
- song 'Every Man for Himself', by Neville Wilson (ca. 1915)
- song 'Plus prí¨s de toi mon dieu' (nearer my god to thee)
- song 'Wreck of the Titanic' (ca. 1915)
- passage of a Radio Berlin program (1943) about the Nazi propaganda movie TITANIC
- Elisabeth Navratil (Michel's daughter)
- Paul-Henri Nargeolet (famous 'PH')
- Titanic's whistles recovered from the wreck site
- Baltic's steward Harry Todd's testimony (April 14, 1972)
- song 'Stand to our posts'
- song 'Be British'
- Russian version of Nearer my god to thee
- John Butler's testimony
- song 'Autumn'
- captain Stanley Lord's testimony (ca. 1960)

Along with the CDs: a 88 page booklet with many rare illustrations (rare records...) Texts are translated into French and English

Olivier
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I have this set and it does contain some interesting material, such as the music recordings and the voices of a number of non-English speaking survivors like Agnes Sandstrom. Be warned, however, that it also contains the recollections of 'Quartermaster John Butler who was in charge of lifeboat 7', 'Monsieur Philipona who was in Captain Smith's service', and (my favourite) 'steward Arthur Hay' who recounts how he left the ship by jumping 200 feet from the boat deck and landing on his head on the ice. I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere on that disc are the recollections of the Mummy!
 

Vicki Logan

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May 15, 2003
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Hello Oliver,
I would love to get a copy of this CD. Where can I order it? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Vicki Logan
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Hi Bob, hi Vicki! Thanks for your messages. Of course, as usual, there are a great deal of errors in the document I was talking about, as the people who wrote the comments are not specialists... So sad they forgot to ask Titanic historians. Yet, the document is very interesting in itself, and as it was produced here in France, I thought it interesting to tell 'the rest of the world' that it was available. There ARE mistakes, stupid comments and errors, but some of the documents are so rare and interesting that I really think it is worth listening to or buying. Of course, we at the Association Francaise du Titanic (French Titanic Association) have no right whatsoever on this document, I am not 'trying to sell it to get rich'... They won't even say thank you for talking about it... The producer is Fremeaux et Associes, 20 rue Robert Giraudineau - 94300 Vincennes, France
Yours, Olivier
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo, Olivier. As you say, it's a pity that the producers of discs like this don't take the trouble to get advice from one of the many Titanic Societies. However, I agree that the set is worth buying, despite my reservations about some of the content. This is where I obtained my copy:

http://www.audio-archives.com/catalogue/fiches/e_Enreg-historiques_341.htm

Current price is about 30 Euro (£20 or $37 US). They will despatch to any country at no charge.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I should add that disc 1 of the 2-disc set consists of recordings mostly in French or a variety of languages other than English and there are no transcriptions of what is said. For some this might be a problem, but it's also part of the attraction as it means that much of the content has not appeared in the usual compilations aimed at the English-speaking market. The voice clips are of course very brief - many under a minute and Stanley Lord speaks for less than 20 seconds - but it's a treat to hear, for instance, steward Frederick Dent Ray sounding more like a 1st Class passenger than a waiter, and Winnie Troutt's impression of Nora Keane as an 'oirish' prophet of doom is a gem!
 
Oct 19, 2001
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At the time when I was visiting Louise Laroche two or three times a month at her home, I had been asked by a producer to tape her comments and souvenirs. I never dared, she wouldn't speak before a microphone. I lost a lot! And I can tell you that she had so much to say about Mrs Weisz, Mme Mallet and her son Andre, about Edith Russell and other survivors she and her family met sometimes... I know Truman Capote could put down a whole conversation word by word hours after he had it - he trapped Marlon Brando this way - but I am no Truman Capote, and sadly, some of what Louise told me is now lost. Yet, I still have most of her recollections - i.e. her mother's, as she herself was so young in 1912... This is why, however short these documents may be, I believe they are of interest, as the editor gives his sources (Archives Nationales du Canada, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Suisse Romande...) Another producer might look at the whole documents and make a still better CD? Who knows?
Olivier
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Hi Peter, I deeply regret not to be able to confirm anything about the Laroches ON the Titanic. What I know is that they met the Mallets on the train to Cherbourg (see Juliette Laroche's letter to her father). They met a man on the Titanic whom I think was Emile Richard. They met Mrs Weisz either on the ship or on the Carpathia (Louise did not know exactly). The Laroches and Mrs Mallet met for years after the sinking, and Louise remembered that Mrs Mallet remarried one Mr Romodanowski around 1919; she then stopped seeing the Laroches, maybe "because she had remarried and Juliette had not", thought Louise. Louise did not know much about the lifeboat they escaped on, only that (1) there was a countess, or a 'lady' on board and (2) they met Mrs Astor who gave her mother a silk ribbon to tighten her stockings (I hope I am clear, sorry for my English). I know many passengers recalled meeting Mrs Astor, or being saved by Mrs Astor, or being offered something by Mrs Astor, but the silk ribbon still exists, I saw it, I had it in my hand. Did it come from Mrs Astor? That is another mystery. I think that the Laroches and the Mallets certainly never parted on the Titanic, because they could speak French and the Mallets fluently spoke English. Mr Laroche also was fluent in that language. They certainly escaped at the same moment, the two families being by then 'intimate' (is 'ship mates' a good English expression?) So yes, I believe that they escaped in the same lifeboat. But which one? Once in New York, the women were transferred to St Vincent Hospital (Judith Geller found a splendid picture of them in the New York Times). Other French speaking survivors were also in St Vincent. We know that the Laroches and the Mallets met for years after the sinking then we can imagine that their relationship was born on the Titanic. I am unfortunately unable to add any more, as nothing survived about it all. Just another detail: Mrs Laroche told a newspaperman in France that she never saw the Titanic go down as they had rowed away for a long time when she foundered. What lifeboat was far away enough at 2.20 for a young woman on board it to be unable to see the ship break and sink?
Olivier
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Hi Darren, I learnt English reading Oscar Wilde's plays and short stories by Truman Capote. Capote is one of the greatest authors I ever read, if only I could have met him once... I remember that the Titanic is quoted twice in George Plimpton's 'biography' of Capote.
Back in 1996, I was in Paris for two days with Titanic Historical Society member Michael Rudd and his son, (great) actor Paul Rudd. We met Louise Laroche and visited the Nomadic. Paul is a very nice guy, I enjoyed so much my trip with him from Paris to Cherbourg! He showed me Donald Pleasance's calling card, it thrilled me! Mike (Paul's father) told me that at the time when he was working at Kansas City airport, he came across Capote. He certainly was there working at In Cold Blood which takes place in this part of America. Last year, I was in San Francisco and I bought To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Capote inspired one of her characters). One of the BEST novels I ever read, I loved it! How lucky you are to have such great authors!
Olivier
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Oh, may I add another detail on the Laroches? I never talked about that, so take it as new info and please tell me if you think I am right or not.
Juliette Laroche sent her father, M. Lafargue, a long letter she wrote on the morning of April 11th and posted in Queenstown. She talks about many things: the band, passengers, their cabin, Joseph (her husband) strolling on the decks with the girls, the Mallets, etc. She notes that the girls, Simonne and Louise, felt at ease on the liner as they even ran after a young man and asked for chocolate.
I believe this unnamed man was French and that he was Emile Richard.
The girls felt at ease and ran after him: that would mean that they knew him, or the Joseph and Juliette had already spoken to him. Then, I imagine he was French.
Then, he had already given chocolate to the girls. Why would they run after someone they did not know, asking for chocolate and not sweets or bread or anything else? The man had already offered them chocolate. Maybe on the Nomadic, the previous day, or on the Titanic, the previous evening.
What man would have chocolate on him on a Transatlantic trip?
Let's say... a man who was used to sweeten his mouth after tasting... wine. Emile Richard was a Cognac seller. I imagine he used to have chocolate with him in order to 'sweeten' his mouth (what is the exact expression in English?) in order to be able to taste many wines and distinctly make the difference. Then, I believe Juliette Laroche was talking about Emile Richard, Cognac seller and amateur.
What do you think of this theory? Am I just raving?
Olivier
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Hello Olivier, I am quite sure that you are right about M Richard. I remember reading that Mme Laroche said there was only one crewman in her boat, so I feel the Laroches (and possibly the Mallets) left in No 10. But I am not certain.

Best regards,

Peter
 
Oct 19, 2001
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Yes Peter, Juliette Laroche gave an interview to Le Matin, who published it on Friday 3rd May 1912. The young pregnant widow and her two daughters had landed the day before from the French liner 'Chicago' at Le Havre and had just reached their home in Villejuif. She told the journalist that "Un marin, le seul homme qui fut avec nous, et une dame anglaise maniaient les rames", which means "A sailor, the only man on board our lifeboat, and an English lady, rowed". Then, from these hints, can we state that her lifeboat was # 10? As Mme Mallet and Mme Weisz were also on board lifeboat 10, it does not sound an utter mistake.
Olivier
 
Oct 19, 2001
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On 2nd May 1912, Le Matin published an article describing the Laroches' arrival in Le Havre. The reporter added that there was on board the Chicago five Titanic survivors : Juliette, Louise and Simone Laroche, but also two waiters from Liverpool, named Hillari and Dravis. I could not find anything about these two lads, can anyone help? Why should two youths from Liverpool travel on a French liner stopping at Le Havre instead of sailing on a British Southampton or Liverpool bound liner ? Sounds strange...
Olivier
 

Brian Meister

Member
Mar 19, 1999
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Olivier,

I have no doubt that the young man with
the chocolates was Emile Richard as Mr Mallet
and Richard worked for the same company, did
they not? It seems plausible that the children
may have been introduced to him when they
made the acquintance of the Mallet family.

Thank you for the memories of you con-
versations with Louise Laroche. They are
both enlightening and interesting as she
was a lady not many of us were able to
meet.

Best Regards,

Brian M
 

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