Encyclopedia Titanica

Mr. And Mrs. Dick Reach Home

My Wife Saved My Life, Says Husband

Calgary Herald

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My Wife Saved My Life, Says Husband in Discussing Experiences


But Nobody at First Believed The Big Liner Would Founder

Because his wife would not leave him when urged to enter boat after boat as they were launched from the decks of the sinking Titanic, A.A. Dick, Calgary’s survivor of the world’s greatest shipwreck, was enabled to sit comfortably in his home, 804 Third avenue west, this morning and tell a representative of The Herald the whole story of their thrilling experiences.

Mr. And Mrs. Dick arrived in the city at an early hour this morning after breaking their journey at Toronto and Winnipeg.

“This is who saved my life,”  said Mr. Dick, pointing to his wife. “If it had not been for her I wouldn’t be here now to tell this story.” Mr. Dick and his wife had assisted to fill six other boats from this one place on the ship before they were forced aboard, and it was not until the last woman had left and the officers were attempting to force Mrs. Dick into this boat that she, while clinging to her husband in one last embrace was shoved into the boat by this officer. She dragged her husband in after her.

Officer Asked for a Gun

In relating his story to The Herald, Mr. Dick said that everyone did not for one instant realise that the great ship was doomed. Many, claims Mr. Dick, did not take the trouble to even get out of bed. Everyone was warned in time but all thought the ocean palace was practically unsinkable. After the sixth boat had been lowered from where A.A. Dick and his wife stood and there were no more women in sight some men in the crowd attempted to jump into the boat. This action on the part of the men angered the officer so that he called out: “If I had a gun I would fix those fellows.”

Immediately a sailor said “Here is a gun, sir,” and handed the officer one. “It was not until then, “ said Mr. Dick, “that I was absolutely convinced that we were in extreme danger.” Then he told his wife that she had better get aboard but she said, “I will not go without you,” and clung to him, then they were both hustled aboard.

Was a Peaceful Sunday Till Crash.

All the day on the Sunday of the great disaster the weather had been extremely calm. The evening dinner was the finest on the whole trip. Mr. And Mrs. Dick sat alongside Thomas Andrews, the designer of the ship. Mr. Andrews had asked Mr. And Mrs. Dick to go and take coffee with him after dinner, but as they were late, being the last to leave the palatial dining saloon, they adjourned to what was called the Parisian cafe, or the palm room, where coffee was served. Soon after this the Dicks retired for the night. Mr. Dick had not fallen asleep but was reading when he felt the shock, which was not very severe. He immediately dressed and went up on deck and walked over the whole of the ship to try to find out what damage was done or what was really the matter. He was told by a fellow passenger that they had struck ice and from his position on the promenade deck,

Mr. And Mrs. Dick Reach Home (continued from Page One)

Just over the steerage passenger’s promenade, he could see ice on the deck.

Wakened Mrs. Dick

He immediately went below and wakened Mrs. Dick. She hastily threw on a kimono and went up on deck with him, because she said she wanted to see an iceberg. They were assured by the officers that there was really no danger and were advised to go back to their cabins. They did so, but Dick himself was not absolutely assured of the ship’s safety. This uneasiness was caused, said Mr. Dick, “through a previous railway accident which I had undergone, which made me decide to make sure that everything was safe.”

Found Life Belts.

“Soon after this I heard the cries of the officers for all to come on deck and put on their life belts, which all passengers would find on their wardrobes. I immediately went below and found the life belts which we donned and assisted many others to do the same. We had not time to save our valuables then, but could have saved many if we had taken the precaution at the time of the first warning.”

“We went on deck with what clothing we had on, which was not a great deal, and there assisted in the loading of six of the boats. Mr. Andrews was there, also assisting and I wish to state here to the public that too great praise cannot be spoken of Mr. Andrews, the designer, for his bravery and his efforts to save as many lives as possible. He worked heroically and never left the ship.”

“Being the last man to enter the boat, and Mrs. Dick being the last woman on the deck, and as there were already four men in this boat besides sailors, I felt no compunction on being compelled to enter the boat.”

Danger of Upsetting.

“During the lowering of the boat – which was 70 feet above the water – several times we were in danger of being “upended” as the new rope would not work well. However, we got afloat and safely away from the ship and cautiously picked our way among the large masses of floating ice. We had some difficulty at first in finding the oars, but I eventually found one and with the stokers commenced to row. I rowed all night until I was completely played out. We saw the great liner plunge to her water grave and heard the awful cries of the drowning people after the boat had disappeared.”

“I immediately said to the other members of the crew that we should go back and pick up some of the survivors. Every other passenger with one voice descried this idea, and as I could not compel them to turn back we had to leave the struggling mass of humans to their fate.

Saw Steamer Lights

“During the night we plainly saw the lights of a steamer which could not have been more than a few miles away from us. I myself am inclined to think that this boat was the Mount Temple and am confidently assured that this steamer could have rescued a larger part of the passengers had she only made the attempt. In reading the denials of the close proximity of any vessel, I am certainly convinced that someone is lying, for we saw, sure and certain, the lights of a steamer but a very short distance from us.”

Woman Saw Lights

“On towards morning, however, one of the women passengers said that she saw the lights of a steamer. The “bosun” of the boat said that she was mistaken, that it was only a star and to shut up. She did keep quiet for some time, but again called out that she saw the lights of a steamer, and sure enough from the boat could be seen the two lights of a steamer, one row above the other. Soon after this the lights from the portholes of the Carpathia were visible, and this was the happiest and gladdest sight I have ever seen in my life. We rowed towards the rescuing Carpathia with every ounce of our remaining strength. We were soon hoisted on deck and given a first class hot breakfast. Every convenience was offered us that the captain of the Carpathia could give us. The members of the crew and passengers as well gave up their quarters to the survivors of the Titanic.

Sent Survivors’ Names

“As soon as they could be ascertained the captain of the Carpathia sent by wireless, the names of all the survivors he had on board, regardless of person and without any expense to anyone. A meeting of the survivors was held after the excitement had got quieted down somewhat and a loving cup was voted to the captain of the Carpathia as well as the surviving officers of the Titanic and a large subscription for the crew of the Carpathia. In acknowledging the receipt of the loving cup Captain Rostron, of the Carpathia, with tears in his eyes, said: “I am only too sorry that I did not arrive soon enough to save the whole of the passengers. I had doubled the stokers at the boilers and had come to the scene of the disaster at full speed, as soon as I received the message. Every one of my crew did his very utmost and assisted in getting the ship there and making preparations to receive the survivors.”

 “I did not see Mr. Ismay at all, nor did I hear any shots fired on the boat,” said Mr. Dick. “Also, the members of the Fortune family, of Winnipeg, were not in our boat as was previously stated in eastern papers. My firm conviction is that Mr. Ismay does not deserve the criticism that he has been subjected to, and that to other sources should be looked for the cause of the disaster.”

“This is the most trying experience that I have ever gone through, and I will never forget the awful cries and moaning of the drowning, struggling people. Their  ? will stay with me always, but, “ putting his arms around his wife, he said, “It is to this little woman that I owe my life.”

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Mr. And Mrs. Dick Reach Home (Calgary Herald, Tuesday 30th April 1912, ref: #19551, published 12 September 2013, generated 13th July 2024 03:39:27 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mr-and-mrs-dick-reach-home.html