Steerage Survivor Tells Story of Wreck

Washington Herald

Miss Mary Glynn, Visiting Relatives in Washington, Praises Heroism of Passengers on Titanic---Women Tried to Save Men
The heroic deeds of some of the first and second cabin passengers, as the giant Titanic was preparing for her final plunge into the depths of the Atlantic, have been recounted time and again since the survivors were picked up by the Carpathia, but little, if anything, has been told of the conduct of the occupants of the steerage, and, if the truth were known, perhaps as much self-sacrifice and devotion was shown by them as was displayed by those who left sumptuous staterooms in a frantic endeavor to foil the relentless ocean.

Some of the heroism incident to the sinking of the leviathan will undoubtedly never be known, but one survivor, the first of the steerage survivors to reach Washington, tells a story of the sacrifice made by the third-class passengers that entitles them to a niche in the hall of fame alongside the bravest.

The survivor is Miss Mary Glynn, nineteen years old, en route from her home, in Feakle, County Clare, Ireland, to the home of her cousin, Mrs. D. D. Courtenay, 715 North Capitol Street.

Was Running Full Speed

Miss Glynn arrived in Washington last night, and gave a detailed story of the disaster. She declared that the Titanic was running at top speed when she struck the iceberg, and bases her statement on the fact that she was informed by a member of the crew, just before retiring on the night of the accident that the Titanic "was being thoroughly tested, all of her boilers being in use for the first time."

Miss Glynn's story of the accident, the escape of the few passengers who were saved, and the final plunge of the ill-fated ship, is interesting. In a rich Irish brogue she commanded attention from the beginning of her recital, and covered thoroughly every detail of the disaster. Miss Glynn said:

"When the Titanic left Queenstown several of the steerage passengers wore given compartments in the bow. They were so near the engine room that they were unable to sleep, and after the first day we other passengers shared our compartments with them. At the time of the disaster, six persons, instead of the regulation four, were asleep in my compartment. The Titanic struck at about 11:45 o'clock, and all of us were thrown from our bunks. We were badly frightened, but the idea that the ship was in danger never entered our minds. We did not think it possible that such a giant boat could have been so badly damaged.

Crew Denied Danger

“When we asked members of the crew what the trouble amounted to, they ridiculed our fear, saying the boat was in absolutely no danger and we would proceed at once. Several minutes later, however, we were aroused and told to make for the lifeboats. There never was a more courageous set of men and women than the occupants of the steerage. The men behaved admirably. The acme of heroism was reached when several of the single women, who had been conversing in a secluded corner, came forward and insisted that they remain behind, and that husbands be permitted to accompany their wives. It was splendid.

"When our boat was lowered it contained forty-odd passengers, the only men in the boat being two Celestials, who were so badly scared that they cowered in the bottom and refused to move, and the members of the crew. While we were being lowered, the tackle became caught in some manner, and a lifeboat descending from the upper deck was about to strike us. One of the girls in our boat, who was one of the party which so gravely proposed the escape of the husbands as well as the wives, with rare presence of mind took a small clasp knife from her pocket and severed the rope. The sailors then began to pull with might and main in order to clear the boat from the danger zone.

"Nearer, My God, to Thee"

"When we were about half a mile away they rested on their cars and we watched the Titanic, rolling and bobbing like a cork. All her lights were burning, and over the water we caught the strains of 'Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ Finally Titanic ceased rolling, seemed to hesitate a moment, and plunged her bow into the ocean, and a moment later was engulfed by the waves. Several moments after she had disappeared there was a terrific explosion, which threw the water in a turmoil, and fragments of the ship were hurled high into the air. I supposed the boilers had exploded.

"After picking up two men who were swimming, we proceeded to row around, and the women in the boat made torches of their hats, handkerchiefs, and other articles of clothing, thinking a passing ship might thus be attracted. This availed nothing, however, and after we had been drifting more than seven hours we hailed the Carpathia and were taken aboard.

Man Disguised as Women

"Most persons think the report that one of the men disguised himself as a woman in order to escape is a manufactured tale. It is not. That man occupied a seat in the boat I was in, and I never looked with greater disdain upon any creature that [sic] he. He was an object of scorn to every man, woman, and child in our boat. Just imagine, a strapping man, twenty-two years old, who admitted that he donned feminine attire and wrapped a towel around his head in order to fool the officers who were placing the passengers in the boats."

Miss Glynn saved nothing from the wreck, except the clothing she wore. She said that she was well treated on the Carpathia and commended Capt. Rostron, of that ship, for his bravery. Miss Glynn declared that a lifeboat was sighted two days after the wreck, but the Carpathia crew found only two dead bodies in the boat and they were not taken aboard.

It is probable that Miss Glynn will be summoned to testify before the Senate investigating committee, as she is the only steerage passenger who seems to have a clear conception of the conditions existing in the steerage on the morning of the wreck.

Related Biographies:

Mary Agatha Glynn


Mark Baber

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