(Courtesy: Bill Fowler, Canada)
Mr Achille Waelens was born in Ruiselede, Vlaanderen, Belgium on 14 May 1889. He was the son of Henri Waelens and Louisa Wostyn 1. He had two known siblings, René (1887-1914) and his twin brother Dociel Charles (1889-1972).
Two years previous to Achille's voyage on Titanic, his twin brother Dociel had emigrated, landing in New York on 26 February 1910 aboard the Mauretania before settling in Ithaca, Gratiot County, Michigan. It was he who sent the money for Achille to travel and join him in the USA.
Achille boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 345767 which cost £9) and his profession was given as farmhand and his last place of abode as Antwerp. He was apparently heading to Stanton, Michigan to take part in the sugar beet campaign and he was possibly travelling with the Zwevezele contingent of Belgian passengers.
Mr Waelens died in the disaster and his body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#140).
NO. 140 - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 28 - HAIR & MOUSTACHE, LIGHT
CLOTHING - Dark mixture suit; blue wool jersy; black shoes.
EFFECTS - $25.00 in notes; foreign coins; watch; knife; pipe; trouser clips.
NO MARKS ON BODY OR CLOTHING
SECOND CLASS TICKET - NAME ACHILLE WAILENS
He was buried at the Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3 May 1912. Interestingly, when his body recovered, the record indicated that he held a second class ticket. His descendants do not believe that he could have upgraded his passage from steerage since he was practically penniless. The records must have recorded the passage ticket incorrectly. His belongings were later returned to his father back in Belgium.
His twin brother Dociel remained in Michigan, later settling in Marine City, St Clair County where he worked as a labourer before running his own business. Married twice, firstly in 1916, his wife was Banie Hull (1900-1942), a native of Northstar, Michigan and with whom he had five children: Wilda, Dociel, Anna Marie, Virginia and Bernard (another child, a boy, died in early infancy). Following Banie's premature death he was remarried to Isabella Recor (1889-1986). Dociel died in 1972 and is buried Rose Hill Cemetery, Saint Clair, Michigan.