Encyclopedia Titanica

The Titanic's End : Graphic Description by Woman Survivor

Devon and Exeter Gazette

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The Evening Standard publishes extract from a letter describing the last moments on the ill-fated Titanic, and the dramatic rescue of the survivors by the Carpathia. The letter was written on the Carpathia while proceeding to New York by an American passenger to a niece in Madeira. She pays a glowing tribute to the heroism of the officers and crew of the lost liner, and for the first time mentions that the Titanic had slowed down when she struck the iceberg.

We are still in a dazed state, says the writer, from the effects of the disaster and in spite of all THE HORRORS AROUND US I don’t think we will realise its enormity till we reach shore. The ship struck the iceberg at 11.55 Sunday night and we immediately got dressed and went up on deck, but it was so dark that we couldn’t see anything except the ice on the forward deck, and that the ship was listing a little bit, so we decided to go down and finish dressing.

There was no panic then, for a number of people hadn’t even got up, and some who had had been reassured by some stewards and sent back to bed. I met our stewardess, however, who said the water was already in the baggage room, so we hurried to get all our warm clothes on. I grabbed my jewellery, and we five kept close together, and went up on the boat deck, where two boats were being lowered.

We got in the third, and F. (the writer’s husband) said good-bye to us, and even then we SIMPLY COULD NOT REALISE that anything serious was going to happen, and I felt that F. would be in the next boat, so you may imagine my joy when I suddenly saw him near me. There were no other women on deck at the time, so he and about twenty other men were ordered to jump in, and the boat was lowered from an enormous height, and many times it looked as if it would upset, but no one moved or spoke, and we finally reached the water and rowed off.

Luckily the sea was as smooth as glass, (otherwise not a soul would have been saved), and we had the stars to guide us. We tied up to another boat once, but the rope got broke, and we also lost two oars, and got pretty well separated from the others. Then some of them lighted their lanterns after awhile and we kept track of them.

It was so dark that we couldn’t find our light, and the bow of our boat was so packed we could not move. Altogether there were thirty-two of us, ten of them being stokers and sailors, but we had no officer with us. I shall never forget the sight of THAT WONDERFUL SHIP GOING SLOWLY DOWN nor the cries of the poor people who couldn’t get off. It was too dreadful, and yet almost impossible to realise.

Many times we were deceived into thinking that the stars on the horizon were the lights of a ship, so we could hardly believe our eyes when we saw the mast-light of the Carpathia and her rockets.

It was a curious fact that none of us expressed any fear of death, but it was perhaps because none of us gave up hope, for on Sunday we were in communication with eight ships. We were taken into the dining room, and the scenes which followed as the poor bereaved creatures came in were frightfully harrowing. Fortunately we who were fortunate to escape together, could help a lot, and it was the greatest blessing to be able to keep busy

I feel so sorry for the five officers rescued from our ship, for people are questioning them to death and CRITICISING EVERYTHING that was done, but the more sane passengers are going to do their utmost to contradict any statements derogatory to the officers and crew for they are a noble lot, and did their very best. One really shouldn’t blame anyone for the tragedy, for every man was at his post, and the ship had slowed down, but in spite of the starlight it was impossible to see anything. Of course, there weren’t enough lifeboats, but that was not the fault of anyone on the ship.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) The Titanic's End : Graphic Description by Woman Survivor (Devon and Exeter Gazette, Tuesday 14th May 1912, ref: #19613, published 22 October 2013, generated 25th March 2023 01:07:04 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/the-titanics-end-graphic-description-by-woman-survivor.html