Dr William Francis Norman O'Loughlin


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.

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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.

 

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Comment and discuss

  1. Mark Baber said:

    Here are two articles I recently stumbled across in the microfilms. I've written to St. Vincent's to try to find out if this plaque still exists. I'll report back once I've heard from them. MAB An emergency ward in St. Vincent's Hospital containing seventeen beds, with a treatment room adjoining, will be dedicated on Feb. 16 to the memory of Dr. W. F. N. O'Loughlin, the surgeon of the Titanic. In the absence of Cardinal Farley, who... Read full post

  2. John M. Feeney said:

    Mark: Great finds, those! I'd never heard of this memorial either, and it's nice to know that the good doctor was so commemorated. (Some excellent background on the man, as well.) Good luck with Saint Vincent's! And thanks -- as usual, a superb contribution. Cheers, John.

  3. Cassandra Crowther said:

    Dear Mark, How wonderful to know that Dr. O'Laughlin was honored in such a wonderful way! Imagine, being a ship's doctor for all those years-- it really is impressive.

  4. Andrew Williams said:

    Congratulations Mark! Well done this is an excellent discovery. If this memorial does survive at St. Vincent's then have you thought about notifying Brian Ticehurst in Britain. Brian does a beautiful book which is constantly being update and dedicate to the Titanic Memorials World-wide. Best wishes Andrew W.

  5. David Huffaker said:

    Does anyone know the name of the doctor's parents and his birthdate?

  6. Mark Baber said:

    >have you thought about notifying Brian Ticehurst in Britain Brian is a member of one of the mailing lists where I posted this information when I posted it here, and responded on that list with a lengthy post about Dr. O'L. If/when I find out if the plaque still exists, he'll know about it, both through that list and through a private email. MAB

  7. Josefine Venneman said:

    Mark, I know it's been 10 years since this post, but I'm very interested to know, did you ever find out about the plaque was still there? I believe it may be to late to try and find out now as St Vincent's has closed down.

  8. John Lamoreau said:

    Josefine, I saw this post and wanted to let you know that I have obtained the plaque. It was quite a search. But it is safe. I have pictures if your are interested. Sincerely, John

  9. Mark Baber said:

    That's great news, John! What do you plan to do with it? Care to post a photo here?

  10. John Lamoreau said:

    Here is a picture... Mark, I host an annul Titanic Dinner. I plan to have it on display at next year's dinner. This is a spectacular item. It belongs in a museum. I have put a yard stick on it to give you an idea of dimensions. It is 51 1

    attachment
  11. Mark Baber said:

    Terrific, John. Thanks.

  12. John Lamoreau said:

    Mark, This plaque belongs in a museum where more people can see it. I have been contacted by the good Doctor’s hometown where no memorial for him exists. That might be a good place. But I am very open on where it should go.

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Credits

George Behe, USA

References and Sources

New York Herald, 22 April 1912, Article
North Berks. Herald, 20 April 1912 p.2
Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (1997) Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage, Sutton Publishing, Southampton City Council. ISBN 0 7509 1436 X
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
Search archive Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) William Francis Norman O'Loughlin (ref: #1363, last updated: 10th June 2013, accessed 30th October 2020 04:21:32 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/william-francis-norman-oloughlin.html