Mrs Vera Dick (née Gillespie1) was born in Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario on 12 June 1891 2, the daughter of machinist Frederick William Gillespie (1865-1952) and Annie Eliza Crane (1871-1946). She had three brothers Wilbur Frederick (1898-1983), Carl Alfred (1900-1905)3, and Verne Albert (1913-1933). Her family later moved to Calgary, Alberta.
Vera married Albert Adrian Dick on 31 May 1911, the same day as the Titanic was launched.
They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first-class passengers (Cabin B-20, ticket number 17474, £57). The couple were rescued in lifeboat 3 Vera wearing just a nightgown and kimono. She lost all her jewellery including a heart-shaped ruby, perhaps the inspiration for the "Heart of the Ocean" from the 1997 film Titanic? Mrs Dick claimed to have heard the band playing Nearer, My God, to Thee, as the ship went down.4
Albert Adrian Dick died in 1970 and Vera Dick died in Banff, Alberta on 7 October 1973. Their only surviving child Gilda died in 1992.
In Calgary Herald August 26 1996 there was an interview with Mr. Bruce van Norman. Van Norman s grandmother was Vera Dick on the Titanic. According to van Norman, Vera was saved because she would not go in the boats without her husband. The daughter to the couple Dick, Gilda, died in Calgary at age 77 in 1992. According to the obituary about Vera Dick in the Albertian Oct 7 1973, she had three great grandchildren. They must be children to Bruce van Norman?
They are. Last I heard they live in Seattle. There are several stories about how they were saved. Gilda told me that during the trip, a young steward had a crush on her mother, much to Bert Dick's annoyance...it was the steward that saw to it that both Mr. and Mrs. Dick were saved.
To my delight, I have just discovered an account of the sinking by Bert and Vera Dick published by Maclean's Magazine, May 1, 1950 - "When That Great Ship Went Down" by Ray Gardner. Kinda pre-dates Walter's book. For those interested, there is also another piece from Maclean's,Nov 21, 1959, by Sir James Bissitt, "I watched the Titanic Rescue..."
Alan: Good finds! Is Bisset's article basically a promotion for "Tramps and Ladies" (same year), or is it a quite independent "telling"?
It is an independent telling, John. No metion of Tramps and Ladies, all it says is that he was known as "Lucky Bisset, who went to sea at the age of 15. In all of my dealings with the Dicks I never heard tell before that Bert "had been badly clipped by professional gamblers in Naples..." Maybe that is why is wife was cheesed off at him aboard Titanic.
Thanks, Alan: Regarding Bert's gambling misadventure and any subsequent familial fallout -- Yep, I imagine that could do it! :-) (Time for some new Inter-library loan requests.)
You can find both accounts in a book called In the Face of Disaster, True Stories of Canadian Heroism from the Archives of Mcleans, published by Penquin books. isbn-0-14-028804-x
does anybody have any other then a profile shot?