Unknown child Sidney Goodwin

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Richard Coplen

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PLEASE NOTE: It has been 100% firmly established that the "Unknown child", formerly identified as Eino Panula, is actually SIDNEY GOODWIN. This has been verified by advanced DNA testing and an analysis of shoes removed from his body which were too big to be Eino's and of British manufacture NOT Finnish. All records should be updated to this effect and the documentary "Ghosts of Titanic" should be re-edited and re-aired. Sidney Goodwin's story has been overshadowed by that of Eino Panula. His gravestone needs to be corrected - he is unknown no longer.
 
Feb 7, 2005
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Richard, this topic has been discussed at length on the ET board and elsewhere ever since an announcement was made during a presentation at the British Titanic Society joint convention held at Halifax this past April. I would point out to you that no "official" results have been published. From what I understand, a second DNA test was done at some point after the child was positively identified in 2002 as Eino Panula. A paper describing the process and results of this second DNA test has been submitted for peer review. No one seems to know exactly when the review process will be complete and the final, official results made public.

Denise
 
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Richard Coplen

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Denise,
Please note this news release less than 2 weeks ago:
http://tinyurl.com/2bufrh

Reviewed or not the results are conclusive. I think Sidney Goodwin's story has been overshadowed long enough. The public need to be made aware of this mistake as soon as possible. The sloppiness of the first DNA test cannot be simply swept under the carpet and Sidney Goodwin's story along with it.

Richard.
 
Feb 7, 2005
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Like you, Richard, I also assume that the results of the second DNA test are "conclusive," but technically speaking the paper submitted for review has to "pass muster" with a panel of experts before it can be considered official.

The problem here was that the work done by Parr and Ruffman was incomplete, not "sloppy." The first DNA test narrowed the possible choice for the "Unknown Child" from four candidates to two: Eino Panula and Sidney Goodwin. Instead of taking the logical and necessary next step and doing the second, more precise DNA test (which was available to them at the time), Parr and Ruffman decided to parlay the first DNA test results with information gleaned from dental evidence and the child's shoes to tip the scale in favor of Eino Panula. A big problem with that decision was that the authenticity of the shoes was in serious doubt, something which should have raised a red flag when weighing their evidentiary value.

The first DNA test merely narrowed the field to two children, not one. The shoes were unreliable evidence. The evaluation of the teeth was highly subjective. In order to make a positive ID it was necessary to do the second, more precise DNA test, but Parr and Ruffman chose not to do it and announced that Eino Panula was the "Unknown Child." That was their mistake.

Denise
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Richard, while I appriciate your passion on this, please be mindful of the fact that some of the threads on this matter have turned so ugly that either one of my colleagues or myself have been obliged to close some down and even remove one such thread from the board. In that spirit, I would caution all to tread lightly. Debate...even passionate debate...is one thing. A thread that degenerates into personal attacks as the last one did is another and if it goes that far, I gaurantee you this one will be shut as well.

Simply put: The topic in controversy is fair game. The people debating same are not!

All interested parties be guided accordingly.

Whatever one feels about this matter, I don't think you'll find anyone here guilty of sweeping anything under the rug, and The Public is well aware of this to whatever extant they actually care.

When you get down to it, that's the rub: Those of us in Titanic circles care quite a bit about this, but overall, John Q. Public is more interested in the next episode of "Survivor." I think we can all agree that this is a rather sad commentary on modern sensibilities but there's not much we can do about it.
 
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Richard Coplen

Guest
This is a coincidence:
20.00 on Monday, 13 August, 2007.
RTE1 (The main TV station here in Ireland) will broadcast the documentary "Titanic's Ghosts". No doubt the documentary will go on to declare the "Unknown Child" to be Eino Panula. Yet again, thousands of viewers will be led to believe something which is simply not true and yet again Sidney Goodwin's resting place will be declared as that of Eino Panula. Parr and Ruffman's mistake has once again resulted in Sidney Goodwin being ignored.

Also, Michael, I do think the public care about this topic. Many people visit the "Unknown child's" grave every year to pray by his grave and to leave flowers and trinkets there. Why would they do this if they didn't care? These people aren't Titanic buffs - they're just people who care. If the public aren't interested in the story then why are such documentaries and news stories broadcast? If just 1 in 50,000 who read the article stop to consider that child's story then they will think of Eino Panula and not Sidney Goodwin. While the "Unknown child's" grave should serve as a monument to all the children lost on Titanic it is nonetheless Sidney Goodwin's resting place. People go to his grave to pay respects to him and not to someone else. It would be like people flocking to Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to Ronald Reagan while he is buried in California!
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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You could do as I did and email the production company, and the broadcaster involved. Good luck getting a reply!
 
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Richard Coplen

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Watching "Titanic's Ghosts" now and it's cringeworthy how mistaken they are! Now half of Ireland thinks Eino Panula is the "Unknown child"! Not good!
 

John Clifford

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Nov 12, 2000
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My take on this is that the story of the Titanic has been so much a part of our collective consciousness, from the story of the sinking and its impact, to the many films about it, and especially from the discovery of the ship in 1985 and subsequent salvage operations and Exhibitions.

As a result, people are more aware of the story of the Titanic than those of other shipwrecks.
Witness: no one has ever mentioned trying to identify the bodies of the many LUSITANIA victims buried in the mass graves outside Cobh, and I don't know how many unidentified EMPRESS OF IRELAND victims were buried near Rimouski and Quebec City.

It would be like people flocking to Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to Ronald Reagan while he is buried in California!
Actually that is an "Apples and Oranges" statement: people know where Ronald Reagan is buried; both he and President Nixon had their libraries chosen as their final resting places.
When one goes to a place like Arlington National Cemetery it is usually with a sense of tribute to our Country and its leaders and military heroes. One, of course, can know the names of the famous persons buried at Arlington National Cemetery: Lee Marvin, Joe Lewis, President Taft, Dick Scobee and Michael Smith (Shuttle Challenger astronauts), and while they do pay tribute to persons lost in noteworthy events (the USS MAINE and Space Shuttle Challenger Explosions are noted, and likely the loss of the Shuttle Columbia, as I was last at Arlington in 2002) it is not like one has to go there to remember someone like former President Ronald Reagan.

At the Fairview Cemetery, though, are many TITANIC victims whose identities we will never know, and one can only imagine who those persons were. If the grave of Sidney Goodwin had been so water damaged that his identity would not have been known, his would be another one that people would pray for, but not know for sure.
The same as the Unknown Soldier; we know his service to the United States, but his family (if he left any descendants) can only wonder if that person was related to them.
 
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It still saddens me, but at least the TRUTH is out in the open. I would like to thank all the people on this site who have helped me through this. I do hope now, that i five years, that the child will not be re-re-identified, as another little one. Let us hope that they all rest in everlasting peace.
 
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Timothy Trower

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Hildur,

Thank you for your post. I agree with you one hundred percent.
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dec 31, 2005
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Hildur,
I just wanted to say that I am sorry that your family had to go through this. I agree with your sentiments, and hope that the finding is correct, and that the matter is permanently resolved. I too hope that the victims have found peace, as have your family and the Goodwin relatives.

Kind Regards,
Tad
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Also, Michael, I do think the public care about this topic. <<

I wouldn't make that assumption based on a small cross section of tourists who visit the gravesite. Especially when the vast majority of tourists head for other points on the globe. The reality is that in the grand scheme of things, Titanic is not a priority with the general public. Were it otherwise, you might for example, expect to see some sort of mass movement calling for Parr's and Ruffman's heads on a pike and this just hasn't happened.

You would also expect to see every tidbit of this as front page news and this hasn't happened either.

Mind you, I'm not saying that all this is of no consequence, but don't make the mistake of thinking that just because we care, that everybody else does as well.

>>If the public aren't interested in the story then why are such documentaries and news stories broadcast?<<

Most of the recent documentaries have been over technical/forensics issues and wreck exploration, not identifying the dead. In fact, I haven't seen even a single documentary on this affair. If you can show me one, I'll make a point of tuning in if it's going to be broadcast again.
 
Feb 7, 2005
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quote:

In fact, I haven't seen even a single documentary on this affair. If you can show me one, I'll make a point of tuning in if it's going to be broadcast again.
Mike, in 2002 PBS broadcast the story of how the "Unknown Child" was identified as Eino Panula in one episode in their popular series, "Secrets of the Dead." The installment was called, "Titanic's Ghosts." I have the VHS version, but there is a DVD edition as well. It's featured here on the PBS website:

http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=2638443&cp=1378003.2722837&parentPage=family

I believe this program is still shown occasionally on PBS, so keep an eye out for it.

Denise​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Denise, if you see it on the schedule, I would look forward to receiving a heads up about it. In light of recent events however, I wouldn't be surprised is this show just up and disappeared. That sort of thing tends to happen when something is shown to be as conclusively wrong as this was.
 
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Timothy Trower

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It was just shown in the British Isles this past weekend.
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
A good question, to which I do not know the answer -- I'm in the Americas, not Britain. But at this point everyone in the Titanic community should know that the original identification of Eino Panula as the "Unknown Child" was wrong, yet drivel like this continues.
 
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Mike,

It's possible that PBS knows that Parr and Ruffman have already made an informal announcement (in Halifax) that the "Unknown Child" is Sidney Goodwin. The network may be waiting for the completion of the peer review process before making a decision to pull "Titanic's Ghosts" from further broadcast and their online store (just speculation on my part).

Like Parr and Ruffman, PBS is in a tough situation. No matter what happens now, everyone looks bad.

Denise