Encyclopedia Titanica

Oldest Titanic survivor plans visit to site

Ceremony will honor tragic sinking

Unidentified Newspaper

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The oldest living survivor of the sinking of the Titanic wants to visit the site this summer and throw a rose into the Atlantic Ocean where her father went down with the ship 84 years ago.

"It could be a sort of remembrance for my mother," said Dorothy Kendall, daughter of Edith Haisman, 99, who was a passenger on the ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg.

Ms. Kendall told the Boston Herald she and her mother, who lives in Southampton, England, plan to be on the cruise ship Royal Majesty, which will leave Boston Aug. 25 to take passengers to the site of the sinking about 400 miles off Newfoundland.

Passengers will be able to watch the recovery of artifacts and a small section of the Titanic on closed circuit television.

The ship, two miles below the surface, was located in 1985 by oceanographer Robert Ballard.

The trip to the site was arranged between Majesty Cruise Lines, owner of the Royal Majesty, and RMS Titanic Inc., which holds salvage rights to the liner.

Ms. Kendall said her mother, who will need a nurse for the trip, was not quite 16 when the boat, headed from England to New York, sank April 15, 1912.

Ms. Haisman is alert and remembers the sinking, according to her daughter, the Herald reported.

Ms. Kendall said Ms. Haisman's father put Ms. Haisman and her mother in a lifeboat.

"He (Edith's father) was talking to the Rev. Carter and smoking a cigar," Ms. Kendall said. "That was the last time she saw her father. He said, 'I'll see you in New York.'"

Ms. Kendall said her mother remembers a man jumping into the lifeboat after it was launched and a ship's officer yelling at him, "I've got a good mind to shoot you."

"She saw the ship go down from half a mile away," Ms. Kendall said. "The lights were on, and the band was playing.

"The next morning she saw bodies, a lot of bodies in the water, some in their pajamas, some in vests, some only in underpants.

"She had nightmares for years, but she's got over it," Ms. Kendall said.

She said her mother married in South Africa and had 10 children.

Charles Haas, a Titanic historian, said he is designing a historic program for the trip to the site.

"We want to do it right," he said. "We would like to see as tasteful a program as possible. There has to be a significant historical content to everything that happens on that ship."

Mr. Haas opposed the salvage efforts at first, but now supports them.

"If any parts of this ship are to survive, they must be recovered," he said, and noted that such efforts have been made with other famous wrecks.

Not everyone has welcomed the salvage attempts.

The late Eva Hart of London, a 7-year-old passenger on the Titanic when it sank, said in 1985 that the ship was her father's grave, "and you don't go poking around in someone's grave."

Floating over the wreck, "You can't help but know where you are when you're out there," said Mr. Haas, who has been down to the sunken liner in a submersible research vessel.

"There is a profound feeling about the spot," he said.


Andrew Y. Liu


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Encyclopedia Titanica (2006) Oldest Titanic survivor plans visit to site (Unidentified Newspaper, ref: #5253, published 5 October 2006, generated 13th July 2024 06:04:39 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/oldest-titanic-survivor-plans-visit-site.html