Encyclopedia Titanica

Mystery of Miss Dowdell 

The Sydney Morning Herald

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British film producer William MacQuitty, now making Kenneth More's A Night to Remember is trying to unravel an authentic mystery which has its roots in that terrible sea disaster...


Do you know Elizabeth Dowdell? Is she living in your home town?

British film producer William MacQuitty, now making Kenneth More's "A Night to Remember" the story of the ll-fated Titanic, wants to Know. 

For he is trying to unravel an authentic mystery which has its roots in that terrible sea disaster. And he needs Australian help. 

If Elizabeth Dowdell believed to have gone to Australia in the late 1920s can be traced, she might be able to solve the riddle of another woman who has been without a name ever since the Titanic sank, with the loss of 1,500 lives, 45 years ago. The mystery woman is a Mrs. Vera Hansom [sic Vera Hanson].

BROUGHT up from babyhood in a London orphanage, she has no knowledge of her parents and is not even sure of her exact age. 

Her birth certificate states merely that she was born "between 1908 and 1911:" 

Then, in March 1932, the in explicable delivery of a bundle of newspaper cuttings at Vera Hansom's flat sparked off a dramatic trail which is still without end. 

The clippings told of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Although there was no accompanying letter, the implications were startlingly clear. 

VERA HANSOM was an unidentified baby who had been handed over the side of the doomed ship into lifeboat 13!

Inquiries by a solicitor led to Ireland ... to a Mrs. Julia Murphy, of County Kerry. 

Mrs. Murphy said that a friend named Elizabeth Dowdell had sailed in the Titanic and upon reaching New York in the rescue ship Carpathia, had written giving details of how she looked after a baby in lifeboat 13.

But there the lead petered out. It was years since Mrs. Murphy had heard from Elizabeth Dowdell, whose last letter had said she was going to Australia. 

Vera Hansom had almost abandoned, hope of discovering her real identity when, a few weeks ago, she learnt about the filming of "A Night to Remember."

She wrote to McQuitty, asking for his help.

Careful checking bv the producer has proved that there was an Ellizabeth Dowdell on the Titanic, and that she was rescued and taken to New York aboard the Carpathia. 

Investigations have also established that there was a young unnamed Irishwoman in lifeboat 13 and she DID care for a baby of about 10 months. 

All trace of both, however, was lost after the Carpathia reached New York. 

But the young Irishwoman may have been Elizabeth Dowdell, who would now be in the middle sixties. And the baby may have been Vera Hansom. 

That's why William McQuitty is asking: Do YOU know Elizabeth Dowdell?

Related Biographies

Elizabeth Dowdell
Virginia Ethel Emanuel
Vera Hansom (Hanson)

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William Macquitty A Night to Remember (1958 Film)

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2022) Mystery of Miss Dowdell  (The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 7th December 1957, ref: #627, published 7 February 2022, generated 28th November 2022 02:40:35 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mystery-of-miss-dowdell.html