New York Herald, Monday April 22, 1912
(Cameron Bell, Northern Ireland)
Dr William Francis Norman O'Loughlin was born in Ireland. An orphan, he was raised and educated by an uncle. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.
Ill health persuaded him to pursue a career at sea aged 21. He would be at sea 40 years. Prior to being transferred to the Titanic he was surgeon on board the Olympic. O' Loughlin was a resident of Southampton.
Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia 28 April 1912)
According to a colleague Dr J.C.H. Beaumont the Doctor had some misgivings about joining the new ship:
|'Whether he had any premonitions about the titanic (I think it is known that (purser) McElroy had) I cannot say, but I do know that during a talk with him in the South Western Hotel he did tell me that he was tired at this time of life to be changing from one ship to another. When he mentioned this to Captain Smith the latter chided him for being lazy and told him to pack up and come with him. So fate decreed that 'Billy' should go on the Titanic and I to the Olympic'
Dr J.C.H. Beaumont in Hyslop et al (1997) Titanic Voices
On April 10th before she sailed Dr O'Loughlin and his assistant Dr J. Edward Simpson examined the crew muster sheets with Captain Maurice Harvey Clarke, the Board of Trade immigration officer to ensure a healthy crew was aboard. Just one of the many formalities which had to be completed before the maiden voyage could begin.
Throughout the voyage he regularly dined with Mr Thomas Andrews and 14 April was no exception. But, according to Steward, Thomas Whiteley he on at least one occasion dined with Captain Smith and J. Bruce Ismay, Whiteley said:
|‘Dr. O’Loughlin rose and lifting his glass, exclaimed: ‘let us drink to the mighty Titanic.’ With cries of approval everybody stood up and drank the toast.’
North Berks. Herald, April 20, 1912 p.2
After the collision O'Loughlin whispered to Stewardess Mary Sloan 'Child, things are very bad'.
Later as the water reached C deck O'Loughlin stood quietly with Purser Herbert McElroy, Assistant Purser Reginald Barker and Assistant Surgeon J. Edward Simpson, for a brief time they were joined by Second Officer Herbert Lightoller, they shook hands and said goodbye.
Perhaps the last person the see Dr O'Loughlin was Chief Baker Charles Joughin. Around 1:20 Joughin had retired to his cabin to find some liquor, about 1:45 he noticed Dr O'Loughlin nearby searching for something. Joughin did not ask what he wanted but given the proximity of the pantry, he may have had a similar idea to the baker.
O'Loughlin died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.