Encyclopedia Titanica

Alden Gates Caldwell

Master Alden Gates Caldwell, 10 months, was born in Siam, the son of Albert Francis and Sylvia Mae Caldwell.

The family boarded the Titanic in Southampton as second class passengers.

Courtesy of Charles Caldwell, USA

Alden's mother got into lifeboat 13 and then Alden, who was wrapped in a blanket, was tossed to Steward Frederick Ray in the stern. Mr Caldwell stepped into the bow as the boat was lowered.

Alden Caldwell was the baby that Lawrence Beesley spoke of as crying incessantly in his lifeboat until someone noticed his feet were exposed. As soon as the feet were covered the crying ceased.

Alden Gates Caldwell graduated from the University of Illinois, class of 1934, and received a Masters Degree in chemical engineering. He never married and lived most of his life in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was a chemical engineer and worked for the Leigh-Portland Cement Company for almost 33 years. He spent much time trying to prove his citizenship status in preparation for his retirement in order to receive social security benefits.

Alden retired to Largo, Florida in 1977 (after his father's death) and spent the remainder of his life travelling between his winter home in Florida and summer cottage in Stone Lake, Wisconsin. He loved to golf and fish.

Many remembered Alden as a reclusive and unfriendly man. When he died in 1992 some of his nearest neighbours did not even know his name and had never spoken to him. But others remember him as extremely kind and amiable. He freely spoke about what his parents told him about the sinking. He admitted that while the story of the Titanic held no interest for him (unlike his parents), he didn't mind speaking about it.

He apparently grew a long, unkept white beard in his last years that was unmistakable. His memories were preserved on audiotape in 1986, and in 1987, and are in the archives of the Titanic International Society. It is the only known interview that Alden gave about his experiences on the Titanic.

According to both Frank Aks and Alden Caldwell: At the time of Albert Caldwell's passing in 1977, survivor Frank Aks attended Albert's funeral. Both had met several years earlier. It was at the funeral that Mr Aks met Alden for the first time. Until that time, Mr Aks believed that he had been the youngest survivor, his birthdate being 7 June 1911. Alden jokingly told him after the funeral that he was born on 10 June 1911 - thus making him at least the younger of the two. Mr Aks eventually did meet the youngest survivor of the Titanic, Millvina Dean, at a reunion of survivors in 1988. Mr Caldwell was invited to attend the affair but chose not to.

He died on 18 December 1992 in Largo, Florida and was buried at East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bloomington Indiana.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Master Alden Gates Caldwell
Age: 10 months and 5 days (Male)
Nationality: American Siamese
Last Residence: in Bangkok, Siam
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 248738, £29
Rescued (boat 13)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 18th December 1992 aged 81 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Bloomington, Illinois, United States

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References and Sources

Pittsburgh Post, April 18 1912, Article
The St. Petersburg Times (Florida), December 23, 1992
State of Florida Certificate of Death (#92-141137)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
New York Herald, April 19, 1912
The Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC), April 12, 1998
Albert Caldwell (1965) They said that the Titanic could not Sink

Newspaper Articles

Monmouth Daily Atlas (24 April 1912) Common Sailors Heroes of Titanic, Say Survivors
St. Petersburg Times (23 December 1992) CALDWELL


The Caldwell Family
Titanic survivor : Alden Gates Caldwell (photograph)
(1912) The Caldwell Family aboard RMS Titanic
Indianapolis News (1912) Sylvia and Alden Caldwell
Bloomington High School (1928) Alden Caldwell High School Graduation

Documents and Certificates

(1992) Alden Gates Caldwell (Death Certificate)


Mike Poirier Titanic Review (2012) A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival
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Comment and discuss


Charles Caldwell, USA
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Nick West