Mrs. Berthe Bourlard, World Traveler, Plans Another European Trip

Santa Barbara News-Press

Mrs. Berthe Leroy Bourlard, who survived the sinking of the “Titanic” with her patroness, Mrs. Walter Douglas, keeps her picture and the volume of her verses, which contains a poem entitled “Titanic” among her souvenirs of 35 years as traveling companion to Mrs Douglas. Here also is a photograph of Mr. Douglas who joined the gallant men on the deck of the sinking ship as the women were rowed to safety. A miniature of the rescue ship, the Carpathia, is worn by Mrs Bourlard. A survivor of the Titanic, Mrs Berthe Leroy Bourlard, 2206 Modoc Rd, who has made 19 round trips across the Atlantic, is planning her next trip to her native France by plane. The postal mailed from Queenstown, Ireland, April 11, 1912, to her mother, Mme. Jule Leroy, Rue Calevaire, Horsin-Coupigny, Pas de Calais, is a wry reminder of the gay and confident travelers on the White Star liner. The young French companion to Mrs. Walter Douglas of Minneapolis wrote to her mother: “I wish you could visit this lovely boat. I am very happy, “sur jolie bateau.”


By April 15, Berthe Leroy was stunned, frightened, struggling with a life preserver in the midnight scramble to the lifeboats. It was not until she was saved from her boat and brought aboard the rescue ship H.M.S. Carpathia that she found Mrs. Douglas. On their arrival in New York they learned the body of Mr. Douglas had been brought to Halifax on the S. S. California. “My dear right arm”, Mrs. Douglas called her French companion who was with her on future travels until her death in 1945. In Mrs. Bourlard’s home are souvenir pictures of Mr Douglas, retired executive of the Quaker Oats company, and his wife, the former Mahala Dutton, and a gift of her Christmas edition of poems, “This for Remembrance”. It contains a poem poignantly titled “Titanic”.


When Gaston Louis Bourlard left France in 1913 for America, he came to call on Melle Leroy as he brought messages from their mutual friends. Later, when Mrs. Douglas heard of the plans for their marriage, she added him to her staff, sending him to New York to train to be a butler. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bourlard became American citizens. She remembers her first day as a citizen in 1942 as it was on July 14, Bastille Day in her native country. Mr. and Mrs. Bourlard came to live in Santa Barbara about eight years ago when the retired butler became a tire maker. Since her husband’s death last year, Mrs. Bourlard has thought she would like to visit France and then remain there. Perhaps she will be in her native country to celebrate her birthday on Aug. 10, a date she likes to remember as also the birth date of the great American, H. C. Hoover.

Related Biographies:

Berthe Leroy

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Olivier Mendez


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) Mrs. Berthe Bourlard, World Traveler, Plans Another European Trip (Santa Barbara News-Press, Sunday 27th May 1956, ref: #3129, published 30 June 2004, generated 3rd June 2020 04:36:24 PM); URL :