The women near Collapsible A


Arun Vajpey

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I found that Steward Edward Brown's testimony before the British Inquiry was one of the better ones in the sense that his answers were clear cut with very little of the waffling that occurred with many other witnesses. Based on his account, I am trying to find out the probable identities of the women who were in the vicinity of Collapsible A during the people's struggles to get it into the water.

Below are relevant excerpts from Brown's testimony:

10526. After you had finished with that boat where did you next go to?
- We turned our attention to another collapsible boat that was on top of the Officers' house on the same side of the ship.

10529. Did you get it down?
- Yes; we got two planks on the bow-end of the boat, and we slid it down on to the boat deck.

10530. Having got it down, the next thing, I suppose, would be to get it to the davits?
- We tried that, and we got it about halfway and then the ship got a list to port, and we had great difficulty. We could not get it right up to the davits, so we had to slacken the falls. The ship took a list to port, and we could not get it up the incline right up to the davits.

10534. Were there any women there whilst you were dealing with this boat that had come from the top of the Officers' quarters?
- There were four or five women that I could see there waiting to get into this boat if we got it under the davits.

10546. Did you notice what happened to these three or four women who had been standing there?
- The last I saw of them they were in the water struggling.

10547. You could not help them, I suppose?
- No

10572. Did you pick anybody up in that boat?
- When I was there I saw them pick two up, a woman and a gentleman - a very big gentleman.

Based on those statements, my guess about the identities of those 'four or five' women is as follows:

Rhoda 'Rosa' Abbot - the only actual female survivor on Collapsible A
Elin Lindell - likely one of those struggling in the water. Mrs Lindell and her husband managed to reach the lifeboat but she did not have the strength to get in. I think her husband was at least partly pulled on board but died soon afterwards.
Edith Evans - George Rheims, who might have known her by sight, claimed that Edith swam to Collapsible A but was too weak to haul herself on board.
Martta Hiltunen - She was probably with Edith Evans when they both missed places on Collapsible D (based on A B William Lucas' testimony). If Edith then went to the starboard side, Martta might have followed her.

I cannot think of anyone else who might have been among the women seen by Edward Brown. Any other conjectures?
 
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William Oakes

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August Wennerstrom was quoted as saying that they ran into, "A Swedish woman from Chicago and her four children, whom they had gotten to know during the voyage."
Alma Palsson and her children Gosta, Paul, Stina, and Torborg.
Wennerstrom, Edvard and Elin Lindell tried to get the family into Collapsable A.

"Also, Scullion John Collins and another Steward were pushing forward through the crowd on the Starboard side of the boat deck trying to help a woman(unnamed) and her two children into collapsable A. Collins was carrying one of the children in his arms."
(Source, On a Sea Of Glass)

First class passenger Peter Daly was about to leap overboard, when a woman (unnamed) rushed up to him and said, 'Oh, save me! Save Me!
Daly replied, 'Good Lady, save yourself! Only God can save you now!'
(source; On A Sea of Glass)
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Alma Palsson and her children Gosta, Paul, Stina, and Torborg.
Wennerstrom, Edvard and Elin Lindell tried to get the family into Collapsable A.

"Also, Scullion John Collins and another Steward were pushing forward through the crowd on the Starboard side of the boat deck trying to help a woman(unnamed) and her two children into collapsable A. Collins was carrying one of the children in his arms."
(Source, On a Sea Of Glass)

First class passenger Peter Daly was about to leap overboard, when a woman (unnamed) rushed up to him and said, 'Oh, save me! Save Me!
Daly replied, 'Good Lady, save yourself! Only God can save you now!'
(source; On A Sea of Glass)

Thanks. Looks like Alma Palsson was another woman seen near Collapsible A in the final minutes. Pity neither she nor any of her 4 children survived. Their befriending Wennerstrom and his attempt to help them reach the lifeboat is also mentioned on Alma's ET biography.

I knew about Elin and Edvard Lindell, as mentioned in the opening thread.

I wonder who the woman who asked for Peter Daly's help was and in which part of the ship she spoke to him. If it was just before he jumped overboard, she might or might not have been one of the "four or five" women seen by Edward Brown. If she was and spoke to Daly in English, it certainly could not have been Martta Hiltunen; could it have been Edith Evans?

I have also known about scullion John Collins' attempt to help the unknown woman and her two children into Collapsible A. I did some research on Collins in the 1990s and it seems like the incident happened a few minutes after he witnessed the shooting incident that has often been discussed. He did not mention the shooting part at the American Inquiry - the only one where he was summoned - but Senator Bourne's line of questioning did not seem to give him the opportunity. But a few years later, whilst a WW1 POW in Germany, he discussed his survival in some detail including the shooting incident with a fellow British prisoner who chronicled the details. I know a bit about it but there are probably others like Bill Wormstedt and Inger Shiel who are better informed.

But getting back to Collins' encounter with the woman and her two children, I wonder who she could have been? Whoever she was, she had two children in tow and at least one of them was described by Collins as a 'baby' whom he carried in his arms for a while before the waves separated them. Therefore, it could not have been Rhoda Abbot whose two children were 16 and 13 years old respectively. There is a small chance that they could have been one of Alma Palsson's other two children (Wennerstrom was holding onto two) and Gosta aged 2 or Stina aged 3 would have been small enough for Collins to hold in his arms.
 

Arun Vajpey

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First class passenger Peter Daly was about to leap overboard, when a woman (unnamed) rushed up to him and said, 'Oh, save me! Save Me!
Daly replied, 'Good Lady, save yourself! Only God can save you now!'
(source; On A Sea of Glass)

Can anyone throw more information on this encounter? Information relating to Titanic survivor Peter Daly from most sources is limited. My own copy of On A Sea of Glass, A Night to Remember and Dusk to Dawn are all inaccessible at present and will remain so for several more weeks unfortunately. There is his bio and the letter from his grandson on ET of course which corroborates some of the information on ET and other sources but there are still gaps.

Daly was multilingual but as far as I know, did not speak any of the Scandinavian languages. If the above encounter with the unknown woman did take place, it must have been in the vicinity of Collapsible A. If the woman was one of the group listed above and spoke to Daly in English, that most likely was her native tongue and she was travelling alone (said "save me!" rather than us). AFAIK, Elin Lindell and (if she was also there) Martta Hiltunen did not speak English. With 2 brothers and a husband in America Alma Palsson probably did a bit but with 4 children in tow, would have said "save us!" rather than 'me'. Likewise, Rhoda Abbott would have said 'us'.

Therefore, by inference I wonder if the woman who sought Peter Daly's halp in those final moments was Edith Evans? She was travelling alone (her friends had left the ship by then) and spoke English.
 
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Harry Peach

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Therefore, by inference I wonder if the woman who sought Peter Daly's halp in those final moments was Edith Evans? She was travelling alone (her friends had left the ship by then) and spoke English.

I wonder if it could also have been Catherine Wallis, Daly being a passenger wouldn't really have known if the women was a passenger or crew (as i assume they wouldn't have been in full uniform/or uniform covered in overcoats etc). She was quoted as returning to her quarters to retrieve things - maybe she re-emerged just as titanic was about to plunge, and rushed to the nearest man to assist her over the railings!

it could just as likely been one of the other two female crew members who died all 3 english, and presumably each 'on their own' respectively, as theres nothing to suggest they were all together!

Theres also a point, that even the women who couldn't speak much English, probably knew 'Help' or 'Save' me as an expression!

Moderator's note: Edited to correct formatting. MAB
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I wonder if it could also have been Catherine Wallis, Daly being a passenger wouldn't really have known if the women was a passenger or crew (as i assume they wouldn't have been in full uniform/or uniform covered in overcoats etc). She was quoted as returning to her quarters to retrieve things - maybe she re-emerged just as titanic was about to plunge, and rushed to the nearest man to assist her over the railings!

it could just as likely been one of the other two female crew members who died all 3 english, and presumably each 'on their own' respectively, as theres nothing to suggest they were all together!

Theres also a point, that even the women who couldn't speak much English, probably knew 'Help' or 'Save' me as an expression!

I agree that it could have been some other woman who asked Peter Daly for help. Edith Evans, as a lady passenger travelling alone in First Class, would probably have been recognized by Daly on the 5th day of the trip. But I am not sure about your conjecture about it being Catherine Wallis; didn't Mrs Wallis refuse to even leave her room, believing that she was safer there? Is there any witness statement that suggests that Wallis or either of the other two lost lady crew was near Collapsible A?

I also agree that even someone who could not speak English would know to say "Help me!". But if that was exactly what the woman said, IMO it rules out Alma Palsson, Rhoda Abbott and Elin Lindell; Palsson and Abbott were travelling with children and Elin was with her husband Edvard. All of them would have said "Help us!" There is the possibility that it was Martta Hiltunen, who spoke no English but might have been able to say "help me!". She was travelling alone, frightened and already missed places in Lifeboat #4 and probably also Collapsible D.
 
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Harry Peach

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I agree that it could have been some other woman who asked Peter Daly for help. Edith Evans, as a lady passenger travelling alone in First Class, would probably have been recognized by Daly on the 5th day of the trip. But I am not sure about your conjecture about it being Catherine Wallis; didn't Mrs Wallis refuse to even leave her room, believing that she was safer there? Is there any witness statement that suggests that Wallis or either of the other two lost lady crew was near Collapsible A?


I believe she almost got near a lifeboat (which one?) before turning away and telling someone she 'had to go get her papers' - she was featured in the documentary where they tried to exhume bodies at Halifax, her family believing the description of a retrieved body matched hers, unfortunately the graves were waterlogged and no trace was left of them to be able to do a DNA test!

Moderator's note: Edited to correct formatting. MAB
 
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Arun Vajpey

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There is the possibility that it was Martta Hiltunen, who spoke no English but might have been able to say "help me!". She was travelling alone, frightened and already missed places in Lifeboat #4 and probably also Collapsible D.

Apologies for an error in the previous post. Of course Martta Hiltunen was not travelling alone; she booked with Anna Hamalainen and her baby son Wiljo. Those two got on board Lifeboat #4 but Martta missed out, as discussed elsewhere. But she was alone on the ship after 01:50 am.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I believe she almost got near a lifeboat (which one?) before turning away and telling someone she 'had to go get her papers' - she was featured in the documentary where they tried to exhume bodies at Halifax, her family believing the description of a retrieved body matched hers, unfortunately the graves were waterlogged and no trace was left of them to be able to do a DNA test!
Thanks. But then it definitely could not have been Collapsible A, which was manhandled to the boat deck after Collapsible C was lowered at almost 2 pm. Then they had to try and drag it into position up the slope of the deck due to the port list. If Catherine Wallis had got anywhere near Collapsible A, she would have even considered going back to her cabin for those papers. It was probably flooded or very close to it by then.
 

Harry Peach

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Oh I didn't mean collapsible A was the boat she turned away - that was probably an earlier boat what I mean was that she would have remerged at some point having retrieved her 'papers' (or not if she discovered her quarters flooding) and once back on deck might have been near Collapsible A,
 

Arun Vajpey

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I suppose that's possible. I wonder if there are any other survivor accounts of the scene around Collapsible A in the final minutes. Most of those who were rescued from it were dragged from the water and had to spend hours in the partially flooded boat. They were physically and psychologically traumatized - Rhoda Abbott lost both her sons, Richard Williams his father and Olaus Abelseth his cousin & brother-in-law. Even August Wennerstrom, who was travelling alone and came across as a bit "happy go lucky", had things to upset him. He was unable to hold onto and save two of Anna Palsson's children or help the rest of the group; later he tried to pull Elin Lindell into the lifeboat but did not have the strength to do so and had to let go.
 
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lucykathleen

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I believe she almost got near a lifeboat (which one?) before turning away and telling someone she 'had to go get her papers' - she was featured in the documentary where they tried to exhume bodies at Halifax, her family believing the description of a retrieved body matched hers, unfortunately the graves were waterlogged and no trace was left of them to be able to do a DNA test!

Moderator's note: Edited to correct formatting. MAB


was edith evans maybe familar with cryril evans wireless operator of the californian
 

Arun Vajpey

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There was absolutely no connection whatsoever, other than the similar surname - a very common one. Cyril Evans was from Surrey near London and had a 'working class' background. Edith Evans was at least a second generation American socialite from New York.

But there was a real-life coincidence of two people from entirely different backgrounds being related to each other on the Titanic, although they may not have known it themselves at the time. First Class passenger Arthur Ryerson had a distant cousin William Ryerson on board, the latter being a dining room steward. Ironically, Arthur Ryerson died in the sinking while his working class relative survived.
 

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