Encyclopedia Titanica

Mystery of Bert's Titanic Postcard

Clues to identity of unknown crew man

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Titanic Postcard
Titanic postcard possibly sent by unknown crewman

A postcard of the Titanic discovered in a picture frame at a Southampton house clearance may have been sent by a crew member prior to sailing.

The front of the postcard shows the Titanic in profile with below it a description of the vessel; while the reverse contains a message, seemingly from a crew member, identified only as Bert.

The Message reads:

Dear All, Just a few lines before I sail. Well, I (have) been working very hard down here (hear) but we done the worse. (A)am sending a P. 0. 2/6 to give to the girls for Easter. I have not had time to write before. I sleep on board tonight. I have not heard from you. I hope you got my bank book I hope (M)may is happy. (W) well my cold is a lot better. I must close hear(here) With best love Bert

Titanic postcard text
Titanic postcard text

Who sent the card is a mystery and there are few clues in the text other than the reference to 'the girls', 'May' or 'Mary'; and the fact that he had been working aboard the ship already.  There were several crew members named Herbert, Albert or nicknamed Bert and close comparison of the message with the crew lists may yet reveal his identity.

Comment and discuss

  1. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    I'll throw a spanner in the works. Why assume the postcard is from somebody on Titanic? Anybody could buy a postcard. Notice that he is sending 2/6 for Easter. Easter fell well before Titanic sailed, so when was the card sent? Where are the address and stamp?

  2. William Oakes

    William Oakes said:

    Could It be Bert Pittman? He would have been on board at that time getting ready for the maiden voyage. Just my 2 cents...

  3. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    No way! Herbert Pitman was an educated officer. The card is from a semi-literate man, who has been doing some unpleasant drudgery. As I say, why assume the card is from somebody on Titanic? The card itself is one of many rushed into print in 1912, with Olympic standing in for Titanic and the common error about her displacement.

  4. William Oakes

    William Oakes said:

    I'm so sorry to enflame your passions.... It was just a thought. Sorry to have started a 3rd world war with my feeble 2 cents.

  5. Jane55

    Jane55 said:

    I took the remark 'Didn't have time to write before' as he didn't have time to write before Easter. I'm going to assume he bought the postcard on the ship as he was so busy working on board and he was sleeping on board for the night, and why buy a postcard from a ship he wasn't working and sailing on? I'm also going to assume he wasn't married, or at least the postcard doesn't sound like he was writing to a wife, maybe Mother and Father and sisters? Was Bert Pittman married? Wish we knew the address this postcard was found in. I do like a mystery. :)

  6. William Oakes

    William Oakes said:

    I don't see how you read all of that into a postcard. Semi-litterate? Drudgery? Some ginormous assumptions from a few lines on a postcard.

  7. Jane55

    Jane55 said:

    Ok, I've cracked it. I think it's Albert Hector Crisp. He married a widow called Florence late 1911 and she had two little girls from her previous marriage, (P/O was for 'the girls'). He joined the ship in Belfast on 01/04/1912, before Easter, which was on 07/04/1912, so P/O WOULD have gotten to them on time. He gave his address as 37 Macnaughten Rd, Bitterne, Southampton. I've looked at the 1911 census and Florence was at that address, not just with her daughters, but her parents and brother and sister as well. Her Mother's name is Mary (Name on the postcard is Mary, not May). So, that would explain why he started his message to 'All' and not just his wife's name. It was a bit of a housefull. Plus, when he asks if Mary was happy, that could be because Florence was pregnant with Alberts baby, so could be why he asks if she's happy. Unfortunately he died and his body was never found. So

  8. Justin Charles Patterson

    Justin Charles Patterson said:

    . It is strikingly odd that the tear goes through the ships profile on the post card in almost the same area of the ship were the breakup occurred in real life. Considering the value of this postcard I dont think a person with post wreck discovery knowledge would have torn it in half much less tried to repair it afterword's with scotch tape. The yellowing discoloration to the damage and the repair tape indicates that it occurred at a time when it was widely believed that the ship sank in one piece, which leads one to believe that it wasn't done by someone before the wreck was discovered to demonstrate or prove a point about the sinking and break up. Rationally I dont think it was an ominous premonition just a bizarre coincidence. After dismissing any intentional motive, however the thought that the random location and the type of damage to the ship profile in mimicking what really happened feel disturbingly eerie to make you wonder why the hairs on the back of your neck are now

  9. Jim Currie

    Jim Currie said:

    That is not a postcard of the Titanic. Have look at "A" deck forward end.

  10. Mike Spooner

    Mike Spooner said:

    More like the Olympic not just A but deck B and C to.

  11. Keith Peterson

    Keith Peterson said:

    The Olympic is on the postcard and not the Titanic. They do look similar tho.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2021) Mystery of Bert's Titanic Postcard ( ref: #225, published 28 January 2021, generated 20th January 2022 08:21:03 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mystery-of-berts-titanic-postcard.html