William Dye's Account


Apr 22, 2012
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Hello!

Under "Introduce Yourself", I told you about my great-aunt and great-uncle that both survived the Titanic tragedy. Their real names were William Dye and Anne Mary Dye, but they were traveling in second-class under assumed, unknown names, because my great-uncle never traveled under his real name (I never figured out why).

Anne Dye died of an overdose in 1947; my family still thinks it was suicide. William Dye wrote an account of the sinking in a notebook, of which I have poured over and nearly completely memorized in the past three or four years since I discovered it in my grandmother's home.

I got response from the "Introduce Forum", and so I have decided to post the account here. I will start with a backstory explaining why they were on the ship and everything, and then I will do "daily" posts (starting with April 10th and continuing). It's actaully quite lengthly and could take me several days to get entirely posted.

I will also include a "dictionary" of the terms my great-uncle uses for shipboard life, since he wasn't exactly an educated man. Some of his terms for stuff is actaully ridiculous, especially when he calls the lifebelts "floats".

He mentions several other passengers in the account, but doesn't name them. I honestly think they could be identified; if you think you have any idea of whom they might be, then please let me know! I would LOVE to be able to identify them and add to the account!

Thanks, hope you find it interesting.

-Brandon
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Backstory: William Dye was a coal miner in Richmond, Va., and worked with his sister's husband, whom I believe was also named William. They had married in 1910, when his sister, Anne Mary Dye, was 19. In mid-March 1912, Anne's husband was crushed by a fallen rock in the mine. She was immediately pushed into a deep depression, her wonderful charm eternally lost.

William had been planning on re-visiting some of his family in New York, and thought that taking Anne with him for the visit could be just what she needed to cheer up. He booked passage on the Titanic in early April, second-class. As was his strange habit of travel, neither gave their real names. They boarded at Southampton on 10 April 1912.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Dictionary

In his account, William proved the point that he wasn't very educated, and since I'm going to quote the account exactly (besides making spelling corrections). He uses terms that aren't "ship terms" for shipboard life, and this dictionary is the deciphered meaning of the strange and often funny words he uses for stuff (ex: instead of lifebelt, he called it a "float").

float- lifebelt
chimmney- funnel
exercise room- Gymnasium
rear-end- stern
front-end- bow
"men in white outfits"- stewards
bull ride- the electric camel in the Gymnasium
"turning to the side a little"- means the ship was listing
"men in black outfits"- must have been officers, which had dark blue outfits; probably looked black to him in the dark
round windows- portholes
music makers- the orchestra
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Wednesday

Me and Sis (Anne) came to the dock about a 1/2 hour before Titanic took off. She was the mightiest thing I had ever seen. And, for the first time since her husband died, I saw Sis smile. A good start, because she had a smile that would beat Monroe.

I could not see the whistles on the chimneys without turning my head way back! That's how tall it was!

Before take-off time, they was letting us go into the rich people's area so we could see what it was like. My, it was pretty! Made me feel rich!
We tried out some new machines in the exercise room and Sis fell off something like a bull ride.

At 12, the Titanic left. Hundreds were on the dock waving at us, and me and Sis waved and hollered (slang for yelled) at them. A small boat almost hit the Titanic! It missed us though, but I felt I could've touched the thing.

Good food on that boat. I can't remember what we had that night, wish I could, though.

We had a nice room. Had round windows, that's the only thing I hated. Too small! I like big windows with a lot of sunshine.

We talked to other people in our area. One man wrote books. Another drove for somebody in the rich class.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Thursday

I got up early and had a puff (had a cigarette) in the smoke room. Not many people in it. I left Sis in bed, I figured she needed the rest.

The food was still just as good; Sis had breakfast a little later than me.

We strolled on the deck awhile before dark, then I took another puff and we went to bed.

That was the day after we left.
 
Apr 22, 2012
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The account then goes to Sunday, where things get interesting.

Sunday

It was Sunday morning, and there was meeting in our area, and the rest of the ship. A good meeting, and Sis was there. She usually didn't attend church. I think I heard the preacher's name; believe it was Byles.

In the late evening, it got cold out, and Sis and I went in after the sun set.

Now, the iceberg. I was in bed thinking and Sis was asleep. I felt a little noise, sound like a cow kicked the side of the ship. That's it. Then, the engine quit running. I figured, "Why not check it out?"

I got up, put on some clothes, and stepped out real quiet. I asked a man in a white outfit what had happened. He said, "Mister, we've hit a berg." Then I asked "Is it badly hurt?" I meant the Titanic. The man replied, "Oh, yes sir, that iceberg's got a rough blow from us."

I went back, and Sis was still sleeping right away. Well anyhow, I set up for awhile, and then them same men came and told us to put on some floats that were in our room. Sis and me did, and then they told us they was going to put Sis in a boat, and that we should come up to the top.

Sis refused, the poor girl. She didn't want to leave me behind. So I said, "All right, little girl, you can stay awhile."

Then, Titanic started turning to the side a little, and you could hear what sounded like a river toward the front-end. Now, the rear-end was coming out of the water, and the blades were clear under the stars. I could feel the floor sinking under us, and told Sis that it was time for her to go. She didn't like it a bit, but I gave her over to a man in a black uniform, and he put her in a boat. Wasn't many left, either.

After Sis's boat left and I said goodbye, I went and talked to a man under one of the chimneys. He was from the rich class, and he told me right there that he knew he wouldn't make it. I told him my prayers were with him, and then I went to get myself in one of the last boats.

One of them men in the black outfits let me in one of the last boats. You could see people jumping off Titanic's side, and the music makers continued to play their instruments. Once, they put them down and went in. Then they came back out wearing thicker clothes. Must've got cold.

Our boat smacked the water and we wasn't but a short distance from Titanic. I kept my eyes on her, all lit up against the stars, and couldn't believe what was going on. You could hear a banging sound inside of her, and people were hollering and jumping and doing anything to keep alive. I saw a whole bunch slide down the deck, which was sloped like the side of a mountain. Then, her juice (slang for electricity) went off, and she sunk out of sight, gone forever.

Swimmers were flopping around and hollering, making all sorts of sounds, but our boat stayed put that night. I kept thinking, "Poor people out in the water."

A small rocket went off from way off, and they said "Rescue! Rescue!" Then, someone suggested that it was just lightning, but it wasn't. We were saved by Carpathia!

I found Sis on the other boat and we hugged until we warmed each other up. But now she was in a worse state of mind than ever. I knew neither of us would ever be the same.

-Willy Dye

May 12, 1966
 
Apr 22, 2012
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William Dye died in 1971 of a heart attack. His sister, Anne Mary Dye, died of what we believe was a suicide-based overdose in 1947.

I look forward to hearing your responses; this is the first time I have publicly told the account.

-Brandon
 
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Kimberly R. Loop

Guest
Brandon, Do you know how old your great uncle was when he was on Titanic? I wonder who the first class passenger was by the funnel. Maybe it was John Thayer, George Widener, or even Milton Long. Didn't you mention earlier that Milton Long couldn't swim? If he mentioned he wouldn't make it that could be why. I enjoyed reading the account. It is a shame about your great aunt. It seems that so many survivors committed suicide later on in life doesn't it? Hmmm. I wonder if the man writing in 2nd class was Lawrence Beesley? Do you like Lawrence Beesley? I'm not really fond of him and I'm not sure why. He was probably a wonderful person. Well, I've got to go and practive my sign language. I have been taking a class and there's a quiz coming up. Who do you think some of the other passengers could have been? Oh, do you know what name your great aunt and uncle were traveling under? Why did so many people do that? Have a great night! Kimby
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hello Kimby-

My great-uncle was 19 at the time of the sinking. My great-aunt was 21. Yes, Milton Long couldn't swim, and it could've been him prior to finding Jack on deck.

I still feel sorrow for my aunt. She was really beautiful in the photos, but I heard that the sinking just affected her to the point that she became an "upset recluse", who would fly off at the mouth if anybody even mentioned the Titanic. I've been trying to research her lately, because she seemed interesting, and I don't know much about her. Luckily, many surviving family members did, and even my grandpa knew her in the last years of her life while he was dating my grandma.

The man who wrote in second-class very well could have been Lawrence Beesley. Actaully, I am rather fond of Mr. Beesley, but not to the point of Jack or R. N. Williams. Have you read his biography on ET? The night of the sinking, he stuffed several books in his Norfolk jacket when he was going to the boats.

I am pretty sure that I have identified the man who drove for a member of first-class as being Mr. Rene Pernot, Benjamin Guggenheim's chauffer.

As for the name they used, I haven't a clue. It's like the last piece of the puzzle in the account, but perhaps someday, some member of the family who was close to them will recall it. But for now, it's not in the account and no one remembers it. I would also like to find out what lifeboats they left in.

As for my great-aunt's suicide, it is just my personal opinion and the opinion of the family that it was suicide, due to her overwhelming depression.

Have a good day!

-Brandon
 
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Kimberly R. Loop

Guest
Hi Brandon! I read some information on Lawrence Beesley from ET. I'm starting to warm up especially since he was thoughtful in his lifeboat and helped a cold child. I guess I kind of thought of him as boring, but I'm going to do more research on him to find out more. He died about 4 months before I was born. He lived to be 89. I'm almost the same age that he was when he was on the Titanic. Why do you like him so much? I like Colonel Archibald Gracie. I would have enjoyed having a conversation with him. He reminds me of one of my uncles. It's a shame that Colonel Gracie died the December after Titanic sank. He seemed so strong. I know that his daughter died so maybe this also took a toll on him. He must have written his book with Lawrence Beesley and Charles Lightoller right after the sinking. Do you know anything about this? You'll probably think I'm silly, but my baby girl's middle name is Gracie. Talk to ya later. Kimby
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hi Kimby!

I like Beesley because he is how I picture myself at his age, just more "updated". I plan on becoming an author, and will probably teach, just as he did, basically.

Colonel Gracie's life seems to have been full of grief. His father died at the age of 32, when Gracie was only 5; and all his daughters died at a young age. Gracie wasn't finished with the manuscript for "The Truth About The Titanic" when he died in December, the third survivor to die. I don't know about his relationship with Lightoller, but I know that he had become very close friends with Third Officer Pitman on the Oceanic.

I feel that Gracie wasn't portrayed well at all in Cameron's "Titanic". The film shows him with an English accent even though he was American. It would also make you think, if you didn't know any better, that he died in the sinking, because he isn't seen getting in a boat. Up until I read Robert Ballard's "The Discovery of the Titanic", I thought he had died.

Gracie isn't a silly name at all; I think it's a lovely middle name for a baby girl.

Also, do you know anything about how we write biographies for this site? Do we just send them to Phil and he puts them on here? I've gathered up a lot more info. on my great-aunt now, and would like to write a bio. My grandma seems to think they were using the assumed last name of Brown.

Take care!

-Brandon
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I never heard of Beesley being considered boring befor.
wink.gif


I read his account of the sinking recently and some of his comments on the matter afterwards. Amid all the media hoopla of the time, his story was a helluva lot more rational then anything else available back then. In many respects, he was literally decades ahead of his time in that he tried to set things streight.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Kimberly R. Loop

Guest
Brandon, I wish I could help you with some biography info., but I'm still so new to the site that I'm not clear on how you do everything yet. If I figure it out I'll let you know, but I bet someone else will pick up the message and let you know. Everyone seems so helpful. What kinds of things do you want to write about? The Titanic? What do you want to teach? I love teaching! This may sound sappy, but it truly makes me happy.
I was wondering if you or anyone else knows about Colonel Gracie's familial connection to Teddy Roosevelt. Were they cousins? Have a nice evening! I have to grade some papers before it gets to late. By the way, are you a sophomore? Kimby
 
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Kimberly R. Loop

Guest
Hi Michael!
I hope I didn't offend any Beesley fans out there. Now that I've been reading a little about him, I'm surprised to find out how much we have in common- like our similar professions and his age on the Titanic was only slightly older than my age now. He actually died a few months before my birthday. I have a book at home that he wrote with Colonel Gracie and Charles Lightoller. I haven't really read it yet. If you have time would tell me a little bit about him. If you see a similar note to this one, please disregard it. It didn't look like it got posted so I'm writing it over. Thanks- Kimby
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 27, 2000
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Hope you don't mind my jumping in here. I have greatly enjoyed and been enthralled by this account! Absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us, Brandon.

As regards Beesley, while I can't speak for others, Kimby, I don't think there's any need to apologize. Beesley can be a bit tedious; especially his last chapter which deals with pontoons and submarine signaling devices and such. What Michael and I find so enthralling about his work is his almost romantic descriptions - the Irish hillside and gulls, the 2nd Class Library with it's 'sad-faced steward' - and straight-forward account of the event which, as he himself says, was put down on paper to help quell the sensationalism of the newspaper accounts at that time. It is an astounding testiment that here, after all these decades, his work (written in 6 weeks!) is still considered a canon in Titanic and maritime disaster research.

Now, it sounds like I'm giving a speech!

Best regards,
Cook
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Hello Kimby,

I'll probably write on the Titanic, and also the Britannic, Andrea Doria and Lusitania; as well as non-shipwreck themes.

I would like to teach World History. I think Teddy and Archie were cousins. Also, I'm a Freshman, and I actaully won't be 15 until June.

-Brandon
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Kim, looks like the Cookster beat me to the punch. Skeptic that I am, what I found most appealing about Beesley above all was his level headed non-sensationalist description of the events. With all the sensationalist stuff floating around then and even now, his account was a real breath of fresh air. Not that he got every detail right(He believed the ship sank intact.), but he made a very game try at it. I have the same book, BTW, and I reccommend reading it at your earliest opportunity.

Beesley was particularly harsh in his opinion of the contemporary press to the point of reccommending legal sanctions against those who fabricate stories out of nothing. Nor did he have much use for much of what we call Monday Morning Quarterbacking which was going on even then. I just love a writer who takes a Just-The-Facts- Ma'am kind of approach who still manages to be readable.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 27, 2000
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Hey, Michael! You said: > Not that he got every detail right(He believed the
ship sank intact <

Actually, what he said was he had seen a drawing of how the ship sank (Jack Thayer's account) and it didn't sink like that at all. He was quite right about this, as you know, since the drawing shows both the bow and the stern afloat while the midship was under the water, in a sort of 'V' formation.

I'm going through his text again to see if he mentions this aspect again, tho'.

Best regards,
Cook
 

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