Born in Hersin Coupigny in August 1884, the young Berthe Leroy was to lead a rather uncommon life, as was already described it in this paper on May 10th, 1965.
Some day, she left the modest miners home where she was born and grown up for Paris and was employed by a rich family.
Some time later, she was hired by a wealthy American manu-facturer, Mr. Douglas who, along with his wife, travelled a lot.
This is how Mme Bourlard, who still was Melle Leroy, found herself on April 10th, on the dock at Southampton, facing a gigantic ship called Titanic. She boarded her.
On April 14th, 1912, a few minutes before midnight, the ship hit an iceberg and went down. In her lifeboat, she rowed away from the Titanic which had been ripped open. From her boat she saw the liner sink: out of her 2207 passengers, only 651 survived the disaster.
Mr. Douglas died in the sinking; Berthe remained by his widows side, where a restless life awaited her. She almost met her death in an important fire which burnt down the hotel in Florida where she was staying one night. She ran through the flames and was saved.
Back in Hersin, Melle Leroy married Mr. Gaston Bourlard, a childhood friend of hers, and then left with her husband for the United States, on the Pacific coast, in Santa Barbara, near Los Angeles.
She became a widow in 1955, and came back here, in the Artois country where she was born. She settled at the Sully home for elderly people, quiet now after so many years spent travelling and in America.