Miss Emily Louisa Badman was born in Clevedon, Somerset, England on 19 January 1894.
She was the daughter of Solomon Badman (1853-1918), a labourer, and Emily Cox (1861-1929), Somerset natives of Banwell and Worle, respectively, who had married on 31 December 1878 in Banwell Parish church.
One of seven surviving children from a total of eleven, Emily's known siblings were: Mary Jane (1879-1962), George (1881-1890), Henry John (1883-1949), Caroline1 (1886-1973), Solomon Charles (b. 1888), Arthur (1891-1955), William James (1896-1898), Ada Irene2 (1899-1934) and Ellen Maud3 (1903-1978).
Emily first appears on the 1901 census when she and her family were living at Briarside, Kenn, Somerset. The family were listed on the 1911 census as living at 128 Kenn Road, Clevedon but Emily was absent and listed elsewhere as a domestic housemaid at Holmwood, Walton Park, Clevedon, the family home of a Mr George Whitfield Mott-Distin, a wealthy retired provision merchant, and his family.
At least two of Emily's siblings had made the leap and moved to America and, hoping for a better life for herself, Emily had full intentions of joining them. Her sister Mary Jane (Mrs Ernest Arthur) had emigrated in March 1910 along with her husband and young son Cecil Ernest (b. 1908), settling in Skaneateles, New York and saving enough money to send Emily the fare with which to join her. Emily's mother was against any notion of her travelling alone across the Atlantic but soon relented. It was also planned that Emily was to be met in Manhattan by her cousin Mrs May Gillis (née Cox, daughter of George Cox). As both cousins had never met, they had arranged to wear a bow of orange (or yellow, depending on the article) ribbon tied to each of their left wrists in order to ease identification.
After being accompanied to the White Star Line terminal by a brother, Miss Badman boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third-class passenger (ticket number A/4 31416 which cost £8 1s) and she and three other women shared a cabin located somewhere in the bow.
Whilst aboard she made the acquaintance of several other English passengers, including Sarah Roth, and the Goldsmith family, and possibly also gained an admirer, Edward Lockyer. In interviews many years later Emily recalled some particulars about him, including the fact that he was from Sandhurst, a minute detail possibly indicating that the pair got to know each other quite well aboard the ship.
Sometime around the evening of 14 April 1912 Emily and Edward Lockyer had enjoyed a stroll together on the open deck; fearing the breeze would pull her spectacles off of her face, Emily removed them and gave them to Lockyer for safekeeping, along with a small mesh purse containing some coins. He placed the items in his pocket and the pair went on with their stroll. Later over dinner, she told her companion that she would love the opportunity to see such a grand ship such as Titanic from a smaller boat. That evening she went to bed at around 10.30 pm.
In an interview printed in the Auburn Citizen (24 April 1912), Emily recalled being awoken by a sound "as if the boat were scraping land"; she dressed and left her cabin to investigate and found the passageways "filled with foreigners going up on deck loaded with luggage," many wearing cumbersome lifebelts. In another interview with the Skaneateles Free Press (23 April 1912), Miss Badman recalled hearing stewards imploring some other women passengers to get dressed and head up top but that they were unmoved and scoffed at such suggestions.
The Democrat, 25 April 1912
Miss Badman went to one of the upper decks where she encountered Edward Lockyer who told her to go back to her cabin for heavier clothing. She did not want to do so and instead, he helped her into a lifebelt. She found this piece of lifesaving apparatus so mortifying that she put her coat on over the top of it so that others could not see her wearing it.
The same interview, perhaps embellished either by herself or the reporter, stated that Miss Badman and Lockyer waited on deck (perhaps the aft well-deck) for some time before a call for "... all women and children this way" came. Again she was reluctant to go but Lockyer took her and guided her up to the lifeboats. On deck, she described seeing two men shot, one a steward who refused to cooperate with an officer, and the other an Italian who had jumped into a lowering lifeboat. She described being one of the last-placed in her lifeboat before it was lowered and later recalled catching a final glance at the young man who had been so considerate of her safety, Edward Lockyer.
It was only after the lifeboat was launched that Emily realised how deep Titanic had sunk. She then recalled the conversation she had had with Lockyer earlier about how she wanted to see Titanic from a smaller boat; she did not realise that wish would come true, nor in such circumstances.
After her lifeboat rowed out about a mile Miss Badman recalled hearing two explosions coming from the ship which then broke in two:
"... The front end went down at once and the back stood up so that it was almost straight and then went out of sight." - The Auburn Citizen, 24 April 1912
With the ship foundered Emily recalled the screams of those left behind; naively she thought that, with most wearing life preservers, they would later be picked up safely. She herself suffered from exposure and found the conditions in the lifeboat to be cramped.
In which lifeboat Miss Badman escaped is unclear; in a 1912 interview (Skaneateles Free Press, 23 April 1912) she stated she escaped in the last lifeboat but one and as such several historians place her in collapsible C. However, in a 1932 interview with The Record it was stated that she was in lifeboat 13, she described the skipper of the boat, a stoker, telling the occupants of the boat to sing to drown out the cries of those struggling in the water. Lifeboat 13 was the second to last lifeboat in its section of the boat deck to leave so she may well have been in this boat.
Miss Badman recalled that she tried to help reassure some women who had parted from their husbands that they might end up in New York before them. As her lifeboat approached at around 7.00 am Emily, still trying to buoy the hopes of the other survivors, joked that their lifeboat was Oxford and that another nearby was Cambridge and it became a competition to see who would win the race to the rescue ship.
The enormity of the tragedy only dawned on Emily when she was aboard Carpathia; it was there she noticed how few men had survived and also realised that she was the only one from a total of twenty people from her dining table aboard Titanic. She also noted how many other women whose faces she had become familiar with over the journey were nowhere to be seen. In a 1938 interview, Emily recalled sharing a compartment aboard Carpathia with another woman whose hair turned white overnight.
Arriving in New York Emily was described as an unmarried domestic aged 18 and gave her destination as to the home of her sister, Mrs Ernest Arthur, in Skaneateles. Before going there she spent time recuperating in St Vincent's hospital due to the effects of shock and exposure. Despite all the hardships she had endured she never allowed her bow of orange ribbon to be taken from her and when her cousin Mrs Gillis arrived in Manhattan to search for her, scouring hospitals for survivors, she was also wearing her own ribbon as planned. The recognition between the two women was instantaneous. Before leaving Manhattan Emily acted as bridesmaid to fellow survivor Sarah Roth who married Daniel Iles in St Vincent's Hospital on 23 April.
With Emily later arriving in Skaneateles at the home of her sister, the pretty English newcomer was said to be the object of many male admirers. One person was not far from her thoughts though, Edward Lockyer, and she corresponded with the young man's mother back in England. Perhaps hoping to put her experiences aboard Titanic behind her, with the loss of personal property and of several acquaintances she had made aboard, after several months correspondence Mrs Lockyer visited her in Skaneateles. Emily was surprised when the grieving mother reunited her with a certain item she had thought lost forever, her spectacles which had been among the effects found on Edward Lockyer's body which had been recovered just over a week after the sinking and returned to his family in England. The glasses, although in a poor state of repair, were kept by Emily as a momento.
One of Emily's admirers in her new home was Michael Edward O'Grady, a papermaker from Willow Glen, Skaneateles; the pair had met not long after Emily's arrival in her new home. O'Grady, the son of Irish parents from Limerick and Kilkenny, had been born in New York on 1 July 1888. The attraction was mutual and in August 19134 in St Mary's Church, the couple were wed.
Emily never returned to Britain and she and her husband went on to have four children: Thomas Edward (1914-1994), Michael Arthur (1917-1989), Margaret Tatiana "Titania" (1922-1999, later Mrs Herbert Christian Umland) and John Henry (1926-1992). The family initially lived in Skaneateles but moved to Ridgefield, New Jersey around 1925 where Michael O'Grady took up a managerial position with the Lowe Paper Company.
Whilst in Ridgefield Emily was active in her local Roman Catholic church, St Matthews. In later years she became acquainted with another Titanic survivor, Margaret Devaney O'Neill, and the two remained friends and would often meet on the anniversary of the sinking.
Emily died at her home, 553 Prospect Avenue, Ridgefield on 17 July 1946 following a long illness and was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Tenafly, New Jersey. Her husband Michael died in 1963 aged 75.