Hastings and St. Leonards Observer

Miss Annie Caton, sister of Mr. Charles Caton, bookseller, 56, of Norman-road, St. Leonards, one of the stewardesses was fortunate enough to be saved from the " Titanic " disaster, and has sent home to St. Leonards a very interesting letter written on the ss. " Lapland, " which conveyed her to America [sic] after being picked up by the "Carpathia." 

She arrived in England on April 30th. and was photographed in a group of other stewardesses at Plymouth.

Miss Caton says : -

" The bitter experience is one that will last in my memory for ever. 

We sailed on Wednesday, April 10th, and everything went splendidly.   

On Sunday night we went to bed (my friend and I) about half-past ten.  About eleven o'clock we were awakened by a terrible crash, and then an awful grating sound.  We both jumped up and called out, and a gentleman came in and assured us that there was no danger, and we were to get back to bed, and he would let us know if necessary. 

Well, we sat on the side of the beds until an officer came downstairs three at a time and cried out 'For God's sake, you two girls, get up and put some warm things on and lifebelts, and go on deck unless you want to be sucked under.'  Much to our alarm, the water was coming in on our floor.  Then we went up, and all was perfect order.  One officer calmly stopped me, took my lifebelt, and turned it, and tied it on me again, saying I had put it on wrongly.  He patted me on the back, and told me not to be alarmed, as they were only putting us in the lifeboats as a precaution.  But as we stood waiting for our boat we felt the ship shiver under our feet. 

After what seemed hours of waiting we were lowered in the boat with great difficulty, as the ropes were stiff, and we nearly turned turtle.  Then the pull from the ship - oh ! how those boys worked to get clear of the suction. 

Just imagine us adrift on the ocean in a small boat in the dead of the night, no lamp, no water, no food, and ice all around us, lumps knocking against us all the time.  It was a nightmare, expecting every minute to meet death.  The last we saw and heard of the "Titanic" was our brave men standing with set faces waiting for the last.  One officer called out, 'Now, boys, remember you are English.'  The bandsmen were kneeling and playing, 'Nearer, my God, to Thee,' and then the ship turned and hurled all those brave fellows to their death.  The shrieks I heard will for ever ring in my ears. 

Well, we then drifted on and on, tossing up and down and I cannot say how thankful we were when daylight came.  After about eight hours we sighted the 'Carpathia,' and made for it, and when they picked us up we were in a half-frozen condition. The doctors attended to us all, and rubbed a little life into our limbs, and wrapped us up in blankets, and also gave us brandy. 

Everybody was very kind, but it was most dreadful to see the poor women crying out for husbands, sons, fathers and brothers, who never came.  Every man was in tears. It was heartrending. 

I pray to God I may never witness such another scene."

Related Biographies:

Annie Caton


Michael Poirier


Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) LETTER FROM LOCAL LADY SURVIVOR (Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday 4th May 1912, ref: #19434, published 27 April 2013, generated 9th May 2021 11:38:16 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/letter-from-local-lady-survivor.html