Montreal Herald

   Hide Ads

April 14 is to most Montrealers just another day, but to Mrs. E.L. Wren, 376 Redfern Ave., Westmount, Belgian born singer who was decorated by King Albert for war time services, it is an anniversary which brings back ineffaccable memories.

On this date exactly 20 years ago the proud Titanic, then Britain's newest and speediest ocean greyhound on her maiden voyage, struck an iceberg somewhere off cape race, flashed out an S.O.S. call, and sank carrying to their deaths 1,535 passengers, officers and seamen.

"Twenty years ago! Is it possible," said Mrs. Wren. "I was then Mrs. Leopold Weisz. I was born in Belgium. Mr. Weisz was a Viennese sculptor trained in Paris.  The panels in the art gallery (today the Montréal Musée des Beaux Arts) and the shields on the Dominion Express Building are his work.

"We had been living in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, England, and Mr. Weisz had been sent out here by the Bromsgrove Guild of craftsmen to do work for them. We had been married for three years. He liked this county.

"He came back to England for me after he had been here for three months.

"This is the place for me to make money from art," he told me. We had booked passage on the Lusitania, but there was a coal strike in England at the time so she could not sail so we were transferred to Titanic.

"Do you recall the actual disaster?" she was asked.

"Shall I ever forget it? I am a singer. I had been singing in a sacred concert that evening. It was a Sunday. I had met with great success, but I
was unseasy. I said to my husband, "I do feel strange." I guess I will go to the library. He took a walk on deck then rejoined me, shivering with cold.

"I guess were in the ice," he said.

"We went to our cabin, undressed and and lay down. Suddenly there was a tremor as if someone shook me roughly, no more than that. I got out of my bunk and asked the steward what happened. He replied, "I'll be very glad if they'll turn the hands of the clock round so I can go off duty. Nothing has happened."

I went to bed again. In a few minutes an officer came into the cabin and said, "All women and children on deck." My husband assured me there would be no danger, saying "Don't worry, they always do that at sea."

Mrs. Wren described the lowering of the lifeboat in which she was placed with many others. She wore at the time merely a nightdress and a coat. No stockings.

"It was awful," she said simply, "But I don't think of it now. My Husband's body was found three weeks after the disaster and brought to Gaspé.. I
buried him in Montreal. He loved it here and so do I.

Mrs. Wren married her present husband shortly before the war. Believing "What will be, will be" she threw herself into the war effort for which she
was given the Medaille La Reine Elisabeth by the King of Belgium.

"Time has passed so quickly. I do not often talk about it, although this week about how much I have been thinking much about it as I have been very ill. But it is very true that saying, "laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you weep alone."

The Herald was permitted by Mrs. Wren to examine a photograph of the Titanic sent to her by relatives in Belgium, also two extremely beautiful pieces of wood carving - a statuette paper knife and a carved mirror, the work of the late Mr. Leopold Weisz.

Share on FaceBook Twitter

Related Biographies:

Léopold Weisz
Mathilde Françoise Weisz

Relates to Place:

Montréal, Québéc, Canada


Alan Hustak


Encyclopedia Titanica (2014) MONTREAL PASSENGER RECOUNTS TRAGIC SINKING OF TITANIC (Montreal Herald, Thursday 14th April 1932, ref: #19661, published 5 January 2014, generated 4th August 2021 05:34:22 AM); URL :