What a pleasant surprise to receive your letter on November 22nd.
I am Thomas Knowles's daughter. My father would have been 104 years old last May, therefore he would, I presume, be the ninth generation.
I myself, was 80 last September, I will try to answer your questions re the sinking of the Titanic and how my father was a survivor. If questioned by anyone, he closed up as an oyster on the subject, with the polite remark, 'Folk that were not on her knew more about it than those that were'.
A few years after, when an account of it was printed in a Sunday paper by 2nd Officer Lightoller, my father said that this account was the most accurate.
My mother and I heard the story from his brother Charles, who came for a weekend to see him after he got settled at home, but not a word was spoken, until my mother and I had gone to our beds, then the two brothers talked far into the night over it, and it was from Uncle that we heard it, later on.
First, my father was so greatly thrilled about this wonderful ship Titanic, that he left his own ship then to get on the Titanic, but she had her full list of crew. Not to be put off, he went up on chance, to do a dock head jump as they call it, and he succeeded.
Several crew members did not turn up on time, but not from the engine room. He sailed as a storekeeper. my mother was not sure that he was gone, until the third day.
Father, before retiring to his bunk, he remarked to one of the crew that the smell of the iceberg was strong, which seaman I understand know.
Already they had beaten the speed record.
My father, off duty went down to his bunk and was roused by the impact, grating and shuddering. He guessed what had happened and came up.
Many cabin doors were jammed and many passengers were unable to get out.
Seeing the seriousness of the conditions, my father tried to return to warn others, but found water rising quickly up the companion way. It was hopeless. The carpenter was sent down to measure the depth of water and he never returned.
This was a fatal sign. My father then returned on deck and stood just beneath the captain's bridge and advised many people not to join the rush to the stern of the ship which was already rising in the air, the bows slowly sinking.
''If you want a chance, stay here, or we shall all cling together as drowning rats''.
Only a few stayed. He could not swim, strange to say, but as the Titanic gradually sank, he stood on the rails, water over his feet, and Captain Smith pacing the bridge.
Finally father jumped into the sea of chaos and saw Captain Smith lift a baby into a lifeboat, but he refused to be saved himself.
My father was picked up by the Carpathia from the last collapsible lifeboat, half frozen feet and hands, from which he often suffered afterwards.
That, on top of other sea experiences, changed my father's disposition, he was like two different men and hard to deal with at times, yet still a sea dog, and carried on Patrol duty ships during the 1914 war, which I cannot go into details here, as someone has kindly offered to type this for me, for you.
P.S. I have left out what he said about the terrible noise of all the 'moveable' equipment in the engine rooms, etc. falling out of her as she sank, was unforgettable.