Mr Bashīr Tannūs

Mr Bashīr Tannūs (Charles Thomas) was born in Hardīn, Lebanon on 15 May 1881.

He was the son of Tannūs Tannūs and Ramzah (Rose) Silvanie and he had several siblings, including his brother Iskandar (b. 1890).

He had emigrated to the USA in 1896 and worked as a dry goods merchant, settling in Pennsylvania, and in 1903 was married to Lebanese-born Shelah Deghir (b. 1886). By the time of the 1910 census the couple were living at 192 Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre and they had three children: Thomas (b. 1904), Celia (b. 1906, later Mrs Russell Joseph) and James (b. 1910). He and his family returned to Lebanon later that year when his younger brother Iskandar (Alexander) was married to Thamīn Tannūs (Thelma Thomas). Charles and Alexander later returned to the USA, leaving their respective families behind in Hardīn with the intention of bringing them across in due course. In his absence, it appears, another child of his was born, Samuel (b. 1912).

His brother Alexander's wife Thelma gave birth to a son in the latter months of 1911 and Alexander sent Charles on an errand to fetch his wife Thelma and infant son and return with them to Wilkes-Barre. Charles did so and after spending time with his own wife and children in HardÄ«n made the journey to Beirut where they would cross to Marseille and eventually arrive in Cherbourg. The party boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912 as third-class passengers (Charles on ticket number 2621 which cost £6, 8s, 9d).

On the night of the sinking Charles and his sister-in-law, Thelma brought baby As'ad to the upper decks but they got separated in the confusion, Thelma ending up in a lifeboat with Charles still clutching baby As'ad. He reportedly approached a lone woman pleading with her to save the infant, which she did, carrying the child into the next available boat. It is not certain which lifeboat Thelma departed in: some sources would suggest that she left in lifeboat 14 with baby As'ad being passed to a woman (later identified as Edwina Troutt) who then entered boat 16. Other sources have Thelma departing in boat C and baby As'ad in the arms of Miss Troutt in boat D.

Although Thelma and As'ad Thomas were saved from the disaster, Charles Thomas was lost and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His widow later brought her children back across the Atlantic and settled in Wilkes-Barre once again, appearing there on the 1920 and 1930 census records. What became of her is not certain.


Articles and Stories

Washington Post (1974) 
North American (1912) 

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Gavin Bell, UK
Leila Salloum Elias, USA

References and Sources

Unidentified newspaper, 14 April 1979: DeCosmo Identified Titanic Baby's Rescuer
Sunday Independent
, Wilkes-Barre, 10 April 1960
Unidentified newspaper, 13 April 1962, City Resident Tells Of Disaster At Sea
Unidentified newspaper, 15 September 1985: Titanic Discovery Stirs Memories For Mae Thomas
The Times Leader
, Wilkes-Barre, 13 April 1992: The Night Lives On
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Leila Salloum Elias (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers. Atlas, ISBN 978-9933-9086-1-4
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Bashīr Tannūs (ref: #1253, last updated: 19th September 2017, accessed 31st October 2020 07:19:49 AM)