Mrs Bertram Frank Dean (Eva Georgette Ettie Light), was born 18 May 1879. In 1912 she was 32 and married to Bertram Frank Dean, who was eight years her junior, and had two children: Bertram Vere, 2, and Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina", two-months-old. She and her husband ran a public house in London.
The Deans boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers. Etties parents came down to the dock to see them off on a horse-and-trap.
While at sea Ettie wrote a postcard to her parents which she posted at Queenstown; it read:
Dear Mother Just a card to say we are enjoying ourselves fine up to now. Little baby was very restless. With best love, Ettie.
On the night of the sinking Ettie was awoken by her husband who said that he felt a crash. He went on deck and returned, telling her to get the children, and herself, dressed-up warmly. The family headed towards the lifeboats.
It is not clear which lifeboat the Deans escaped in, but there are several suggestions (1). Ettie apparently lost track of her son when she finally got into a lifeboat, but was allayed by the idea that her husband was still on board the Titanic to look for him and go with him in a later lifeboat. Her husband had promised that he would see her later. She was finally reunited with her son Bertram on board the Carpathia, but lost her husband in the sinking.
Upon her arrival in New York aboard the Carpathia she and her children were sent to hospital to recuperate. They returned to England aboard the Adriatic, having lost all hopes of starting a new life in Kansas. Ettie went to live with her parents in the New Forest, near Southampton. She received £40 from an Emergency Relief Fund and a pension of 23 shillings per week for the care of her children until they were eighteen.
Ettie remarried in 1920 to Leonard Burden, her parents farm vet, and she enjoyed a happy marriage.
Ettie Burden (late Dean, née Light) died on 16 September 1975, aged 96.
Cameron Bell, Northern Ireland
Phillip Gowan, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
- Sources differ over which lifeboat the Deans were rescued in. One story suggests that Bertram wandered off into the crowd and was eventually placed in a different boat than his mother and sister (possibly lifeboat 13). Alternatively it has been suggested that Ettie and Milvena, and possibly Bertram as well were all in fact rescued in either 10, 13, or Collapsible C. These propositions are founded on Etties claim that there was a Chinaman in her lifeboat, who was not well-received by the female occupants who had to leave their husbands behind. Apparently several of the women were inclined to throw him overboard, but they thought better of it. Ettie also recalled a hysterical woman who was sobbing, not for her husband but for her feather bed!
Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (1997) Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage, Sutton Publishing, Southampton City Council. ISBN 0 7509 1436
Articles and Stories
Western Daily Mercury (1912)