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You are here:home > Leisure > Arts and Heritage > Family and Local History > Titanic > First Hand Accounts

First Hand Accounts

Black and white image of the Titanic leaving Southampton docksYou will find below fascinating first hand accounts from survivors of the Titanic tragedy. Listen to recordings and read written accounts from passengers and Stewards working on board the Titanic. There is also a detailed personal narrative from Joseph Scarrott who was an eye witness on board the Titanic.

icon represents sound fileLook for the 'Listen to the recording' icon in the following accounts.

First Hand Accounts

1. Eva Hart (City Heritage Oral History)

"She felt this little 'bump' as she always described it, because we were a very long way from it. We were on the port side of the ship and the collision was on the starboard side of the ship, and had she been asleep it wouldn't have wakened her... she immediately awakened my father..."

"My father went away and spoke to one of the sailors and came back and said 'We've hit an iceberg ... they're going to launch the lifeboats but you'll all be back on board for breakfast."

"They started to lower the boats and my father put my mother and I in without any trouble at all ...

"I never saw him again ... he told me to hold my mummy's hand and be a good girl, that's all he said."

"The panic seemed to me to start after the boats had gone, we could hear it ... after we were rowing away from the ship ... then we could hear the panic of people rushing about on the deck and screaming and looking for lifeboats ... I was terrified ... it was dreadful ... the bows went down first and the stern stuck up in the ocean what seemed to me like a long time ... but it stood up stark against the sky and then keeled over and went down, you could hear the people screaming and thrashing about in the water."

"... and finally the ghastly noise of the people thrashing about and screaming and drowning, that finally ceased. I remember saying to my mother once, 'How dreadful that noise was' and I'll always remember her reply and she said, 'Yes, but think back about the silence that followed it ... because all of a sudden the ship wasn't there, the lights weren't there and the cries weren't there. "

"I was taken to hospital when I got to New York because I was still so sick and then in a very short space of time we came back. My mother's greatest thought was to get back to England and I was the one in trouble coming back, I was terrified, she wasn't at all nervous coming back ... she had no more fear ... she had such a job to get me on to, the deck to get some air, I was terrified. "

2. Eva Hart, her story continued

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"She had felt this little bump, as she always described it, because we were a very long way from it, we were on the port side of the ship and the collision was on the starboard side of the ship - and had she been asleep it wouldn't have awakened her - it didn't waken anybody else in the cabins round about there at all, but she was wide awake and she felt this bump and she immediately awakened my father and he wasn't very pleased about this because she awakened him the night before and made him go up on deck because she had heard something that she thought was untoward and that was ice flows in the sea, bumping against the side of the ship, so when she called him on the Sunday night he wasn't very pleased about that and then she wakened me and she didn't say why, but she said I'm going to dress you and I said oh no you're not and got back into bed.

By that time my father, who had been up to the boat deck, in a lift which was quite close by our cabin, he'd been up there, and he came back and all he said to her was 'you had better put this thick coat on that I've got on' and she stood up and he put his coat on her I used to say to her, many years afterwards, when he came back you didn't say 'what was it?'. She said 'I didn't have to I didn't know what it was but I didn't have to ask I knew this something that had been over my head for months and here it was, a great black cloud'. Anyway my father put another coat on, and he picked me up, wrapped a blanket round me and he went up onto the boat deck and got there of course, quite quickly.

Well as you know and as everyone knows the tragedy of the Titanic was the fact that she hadn't got enough lifeboats - so it was only the people who were there first that got into a lifeboat - and we were there in plenty of time the boats weren't even being lowered when we got up on the deck and my father went away and spoke to one of the sailors, and he came back and said 'oh we've hit an iceberg'.

Again my mother didn't say 'oh have we' or 'where is it' she just said nothing - and he went away again and he came back and said I've spoken to one of the officers, they're going to launch the lifeboats but you'll all be back on board for breakfast'. So thinking that this was what was going to happen they started to lower the boats and my father put my mother and I in without any trouble at all, as I say, if we'd still been in the cabin asleep, we would have got on deck to late. So it's only because my mother had that premonition that I'm able to talk to you today. There's no doubt about that. He made no attempt to get in himself, he helped other women and children and that was it, I never saw him again".

3. Edith Haisman nee Brown (City Heritage Oral History)

"I was in my cabin at the time when it struck the iceberg ... asleep ... but the vibration was so great when she struck, she was going so fast she struck the iceberg and was thrown back.

"Being young ... I didn't realise we might be drowned ... because when I stood on the boat deck my father was talking to Reverend Carter, I turned round and said to my father, 'Look, there's a ship over there, see the lights', and then the lights went out. "

"You could see the ice for miles across the sea ... nobody worried about it, some of the people came up playing with the ice on deck and they wouldn't believe it, they said 'No, she's unsinkable, they went back to bed... I thought it was wonderful to see the ice like that, you know ... just wondered what happened, like everybody else. "

"My father never said anything ... he was smoking a cigar ... he put my mother and me into a lifeboat ... then he walks away, they wouldn't believe that the boat was sinking.

Well you couldn't notice it, you couldn't feel the boat was going because, until you were out in the lifeboat you could see her lights going down ... and you could see her lights disappearing all the time 'til it got to the boilers and then a most terrible explosion. She went down slow ... "

"It was terrible, lots of shouting and people crying as she went down, people were so upset, never heard anything like it, you could hear the screams of all the people that was left on deck, it was really terrible. "

"Our lifeboat was number 14 ... we had quite a lot of people on our lifeboat ... mostly women ... but there was a man dressed as a woman, he jumped into the lifeboat as it was going down" ... and the officer said 'I've a good mind to shoot you, you might have capsized the boat ... "

"... Nearly 6 hours we must have stayed in that lifeboat ... freezing it was, terribly cold ... "

"After we were picked up on the Carpathia my mother came to me 'cos every time a lifeboat came I went to see if my father was on it you see, and he wasn't, so my mother turned round and said 'You've lost your father, you won't see your father any more ... he's gone'. "

"And the next morning you'd never believe when daylight came that the iceberg could do that damage to a ship... "

"When we got to New York there were crowds of people at the docks, I think that the whole of New York must have been there."

4. Sidney Daniels (City Heritage Oral History)

"I was born in Bolton Road Portsmouth on the nineteenth of November 1893 and I joined the Olympic in 1911 on her maiden voyage and ... after five voyages we were in collision with the Hawke in the Solent so we put back again. Then I did about five voyages and I was transferred, selected I might say ... to be conceited ... selected to go to the Titanic. They were picking out the best of the crew ... pat my back a minute ... best of the crew to go to the Titanic. Well anyway ... we sailed on the 10th April on the Titanic until the... Sunday evening. Everything went all smooth and quiet and at about half past eleven or twenty past eleven I was in a bunk sleeping, the night watchman came down and said 'All hands on deck, get your life belts on'. We thought it was an emergency boat drill. We weren't very pleased with it ... so anyway we eventually went up on deck and stood by our boats. We were all allotted certain boats to go to and mine was number thirteen, by the way ... well we just stood around waiting for orders. Dancing around on the deck and the musicians were on board playing different tunes on deck and ... eventually they got orders to get all the women and children up to their lifeboats. I don't know what the time was, but it was getting on. Anyway we got them all up. Well, as many as we could, and got them into the boats. We got away from that and ... got all the boats away ... excepting the last boat, which was a collapsible boat, secured to the top of the wireless room and lashed down with different lashings. And a crowd of them up there unlashing it. Someone shouted out 'Anyone got a pocket knife?' I said, 'Yes, I have, here you are' and passed my pocket knife up. And I think that was the last lashing to the upturned lifeboat. "

"Well, by that time, the ship was getting well down ... and all our lifeboats were away excepting this one. I was wandering around ... and ... I went up near the bridge ... I stood ... looked from the port side over to the starboard side, I could see the water coming up the bridge like that ... so I thought ... it's time to leave. ... well I was standing up to my knees in water then and I jumped up onto the rail and ... dived into the water. I climbed up to the davits ... the tap rail by the davits on the ship, then the water's round my knees, ... so I jumped into it. I had nowhere to swim to but I just had to get away from the suction, as I feared the suction would thus take me down. Well, I swam away and, by sheer good luck, I came across a life buoy, one of the big round life buoys with another man clinging to it. I looked around and I said to this fella 'We're too near for suction, she'll suck us down.' I turned and swam away again, no objective, just swam away. This other fella ... well he never answered, he may have been a foreigner I didn't know who he was but I think he apparently followed me ... and eventually I came across some roll and in the distance, in the darkness, I could see something flash. So I swam to that and it was the upturned lifeboat with the crowd out there. It was the lifeboat out there that they'd tried to cut adrift. So I climbed on that and the other fella apparently followed me and he tried to climb on too but he was too exhausted to get fully on there. I managed to sit up on the keel of the lifeboat, but he just laid across there. He eventually died of exposure. "

"Well we sat there, about twenty of us, right through the night. Nothing to do just living in hopes ... well someone started to curse and swear further down on the ship but someone said 'this is no time for swearing, it's time to say your prayers'. "Which we did. So we all said our prayers there ... the Lord's Prayer ... But I said to this fella, sitting with his back to me, I said 'I'm tired I'm going to sleep'. He said 'For God's sake, son, don't go to sleep'. Course I didn't had I gone to sleep I'd never of woke up again, it being so cold. Anyway we sat there through the night well, come towards the dawn . . well, a ship came into sight. 'Here's a ship', I said, 'there's two'. It turned out that one was the ship and the other was the iceberg alongside of each other. It was the Carpathia came up to take us of. Well, our own lifeboats by that time were able to see, (the ones that were afloat proper), able to see any survivors around and came and took us off, there were twenty of us on the two different boats. And they took us to the Carpathia. That was the first time I ever tasted coffee in my life. When they hauled me aboard the Carpathia they gave me something hot to drink. I used to hate coffee but I didn't care what it was then just something to warm me up. "Which I did, they took me down to the sick bay in the hospital and there I stopped... for a while."

5. A Personal Narrative by an Eye-witness Joseph Scarrott, A.B., of the Titanic

Joseph ScarrottA Personal Narrative by an Eye-witness Joseph Scarrott, A.B., of the Titanic Who described the iceberg for The Sphere.

"The night of April 14, 1912, will never be forgotten. It was a beautiful starlight night, no wind, and the sea was as calm as a lake, but the air was very cold."

"Everybody was in good spirits and everything throughout the ship was going smoothly. All of a sudden she crashed into an iceberg, which shook the giant liner from stem to stern. The shock of the collision was not so great as one would expect considering the size of the iceberg and the speed the ship was going, which was about 22 knots an hour." "I was underneath the forecastle enjoying a smoke at the time. It happened about twenty minutes to twelve o'clock. The shaking of the ship seemed as though the engines had suddenly been reversed to full speed astern. Those of the crew who were asleep in their bunks turned out, and we all rushed on deck to see what was the matter."

When Realisation Came

"We found the ship had struck an iceberg as there was a large quantity of ice and snow on the starboard side of the fore deck. We did not think it very serious so went below again cursing the iceberg for disturbing us. We had no sooner got below when the boatswain called all hands on deck to uncover and turn all the boats out ready for lowering. We did not think then there was anything serious. The general idea of the crew was that we were going to get the boats ready in case of emergency, and the sooner we got the job done the quicker we should get below again."

"The port side boats were got ready first and then the starboard ones. As the work proceeded passengers were coming on deck with life belts on. Then we realised the situation. Every man went to his station. There was no panic, everybody was cool, and when the boats were ready the usual order was given, 'Women and children first.' That order was carried out without any class distinction whatever. In some cases we had to force women into the boats as they would not leave their husbands."

The Origin of the Revolver Shots

"The men stood back to allow the women to pass, except in one or two cases where men tried to rush, but they were very soon stopped. This occurred at the boat I was in charge of No. 14. About half-a-dozen foreigners tried to jump in before I had my complement of women and children, but I drove them back. Shortly afterwards the fifth officer, Mr. Lowe, came and took charge of the boat. I told him what had happened. He drew his revolver and fired two shots between the boat and ship's side into the water as a warning to any further attempts of that sort. When our boat was lowered we had fifty-four women, four children, one sailor, one window-cleaner, two firemen, three stewards, and one officer; total, sixty-six souls."

"When the boat was in the water we rowed clear of the ship. We then saw four other boats well clear and fairly well filled with women and children. We went to them and found none of them had an officer in charge. So the fifth officer took charge of the lot, ordering them to keep with him."

How the Stem Sank

"The ship sank shortly afterwards, I should say about 2.20 a.m. on the 15th, which would be two hours and forty minutes after she struck. The sight of that grand ship going down will never be forgotten. She slowly went down bow first with a slight list to starboard until the water reached the bridge, then she went quicker. When the third funnel had nearly disappeared I heard four explosions, which I took to be the bursting of the boilers. The ship was right up on end then. Suddenly she broke in two between the third and fourth funnel. The after part of the ship came down on the water in its normal position and seemed as if it was going to remain afloat, but it only remained a minute or two and then sank. The lights were burning right up till she broke in two. The cries from the poor souls struggling in the water sounded terrible in the stillness of the night. It seemed to go through you like a knife. Our officer then ordered all the boats under his charge to row towards where the ship went down to see if we could pick up anybody. Some of our boats picked up a few. I cannot say how many. After that we tied all our boats together so as to form a large object on the water which would be seen quicker than a single boat by a passing vessel. We divided the passengers of our boat amongst the other four, and then taking one man from each boat so as to make a crew we rowed away amongst the wreckage as we heard cries for help coming from that direction. When we got to it the sight we saw was awful. We were amongst hundreds of dead bodies floating in life belts. We could only see four alive. The first one we picked up was a male passenger. He died shortly after we got him in the boat. After a hard struggle we managed to get the other three."

Giving Way to Tears

"One of these we saw kneeling as if in prayer upon what appeared to be a part of a staircase. He was only about twenty yards away from us but it took us half-an-hour to push our boat through the wreckage and bodies to get to him; even then we could not get very close so we put out an oar for him to get hold of and so pulled him to the boat."
"All the bodies we saw seemed as if they had perished with the cold as their limbs were all cramped up. As we left that awful scene we gave way to tears. It was enough to break the stoutest heart. Just then we sighted the lights of a steamer, which proved to be the steamship Carpathia of the Cunard line. What a relief that was."
"We then made sail and went back to our other boats. By this time day was just beginning to dawn. We then saw we were surrounded with icebergs and field ice. Some of the fields of ice were from sixteen to twenty miles long. On our way back we saw one of our collapsible boats waterlogged; there were about eighteen persons on it, so we went and took them off. We left two dead bodies on it, and we were told two others had died and had fallen off."

A joyful Arrival

"All our boats then proceeded towards the Carpathia. She had stopped right over where our ship had gone down. She had got our wireless message for assistance. When we got alongside we were got aboard as soon as possible. We found some survivors had already been picked up. Everything was in readiness for us dry clothes, blankets, beds, hot coffee, spirits, etc; everything to comfort us. The last of the survivors were got aboard about 8.30 a.m. The dead bodies that were in some of the boats were taken aboard and after identification were given a proper burial. They were two male passengers, one fireman, and one able seaman. We steamed about in the vicinity for a few hours in the hope of finding some more survivors, but did not find any. During that time wives were inquiring for husbands, sisters for brothers, and children for their parents, but many a sad face told the result."

A Tribute to America

"The Carpathia was bound from New York to Gibraltar, but the captain decided to return to New York with us. We arrived there about nine p.m. on Thursday, the 18th. We had good weather during the trip, but it was a sad journey. A list of the survivors was taken as soon as we had left the scene of the disaster. On arrival at New York everything possible was ready for our immediate assistance clothing, money, medical aid, and good accommodation, in fact, I think it would have been impossible for the people of America to have treated us better. Before closing this narrative I must say that the passengers when they were in the boats, especially the women, were brave and assisted the handling of the boats a great deal. Thank God the weather was fine or I do not think there would have been one soul left to tell the tale."

(Signed) J. Scarrott (A.B.) (City Heritage Collections)

6. Arthur Lewis, Steward

"It was 1 o'clock in the morning and I was in my cabin asleep when one of the head stewards came in and woke me up. He told me if I wanted to see anyone else alive I would have to get up because the ship was sinking. I got up and put a few, a few bits of clothes on and went up to the working alleyway. I went from there to the bow of the ship and when I got up to the bow of the ship the water and the ice was coming over the gunnels. I stood there for a little while and said a prayer. I left there and made my way up to the promenade deck where I saw three ladies arm in arm walking up and down. I said to them, I says, 'You come along with me, I said, the ships sinking and we'll go up and see if there's any lifeboats left'. She said, 'We're, alright Steward, the ship can't sink, we don't want to go down in one of those little boats'. I left them and went up to the boat deck and I saw one lifeboat left in the corner. I started taking the canvas off when a sailor come and help me and we got the boat slung out, an Officer come along and asked me if I could row. I said 'Yes, sir'. He said 'Get in the boat, he says, and take the bow oar'. We were filled up with ladies, with women and children, their husbands had to remain behind, it was very sad, broken hearted. "

"We were lowered down to the water and we got away about, five, ten minutes when the ships bow was under the water and the propellers was up in the air. And after another ten minutes we heard a sound as the engines fell off the blocks and then she just slid down under the water. And then we heard the screams and we heard the screams for a little while and it all faded away. It was very calm but bitter cold. We rowed about all night, 'til I got picked up in the Carpathia about half past eight in the morning".

Arthur Lewis, Steward (Echo - 9th December 1972)

7. 9 year old Roy Diaper, Southampton schoolboy, 1912

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"I remember, my Father he did talk about this ship - the biggest ship in the world and it was called the Titanic. And it belonged to a steamship company called the White Star and during the time she was built I got to hear about it by my Father talking to other men in the garden. Then in nineteen hundred and twelve my Father was rather a sick man, but he could still get about. And he had friends come to see him, seafarers, and of course, there was a tremendous lot of talk in Southampton about this ship, the biggest ship in the world, being built in Glasgow (sic) and I heard the word Titanic and then my Father just suddenly said to me 'I'm taking you down to see Titanic'. He thought it would be a good thing for me to see it. And I remember we got on the tramcar which passed our house in Shirley Road and away we went down to the entrance of the docks. We got to the dock gate, there we could see the Titanic on the right hand side of the gate and then we went up a covered gangway into the ship."

8. Edith Haisman (nee Brown), travelling with her parents to Seattle at the age of 16.

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"When we arrived he went straight away to book our passage and when he got there he wanted first class. But it was full up so they said they only had three berths for the second class for us, so we took the three berths and that's how we managed to get on the Titanic. Then we went up the gangway and then my Father took bad like, you know - so my Mother turned round and asked if he was ill - he said, no he was quite alright. And of course, when we got our cabin, we took all our things off and put them there, then we went up on deck and saw all the people - you know - looking over the Titanic."

9. Millvina Dean, Roy Diaper and Eileen Schefer

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Millvina Dean, at 9 weeks old, the youngest passenger on board, travelling with her parents and her brother Bertram to a new life in America

"My Grandfather and Grandmother came to see us off at the docks in a horse and trap and he said, 'Oh it's a wonderful ship, you'll have a wonderful time because she's unsinkable.' We weren't supposed to go on the Titanic we were going on another ship, a message came to my Father from the Titanic, there was a cancellation, would he like to go on the Titanic and of course he thought it would be absolutely marvellous. He came home to my Mother and said, 'It's absolutely wonderful! We're going on the Titanic.' So its fate, isn't it - if you believe in fate - definitely."

9 year old Roy Diaper, Southampton schoolboy, 1912

"It was huge, and I was very overawed because it was something I'd never seen before in my life. The most magnificent big grand staircase was right in front of me and right down below, I think, it was a deuce of a way down, there was bands playing and of course, crowds of people and lots of people on board."

Eileen Schefer (nee Lenox-Conyngham), on her way to Cherbourg, aged 12, for a family holiday. Her mother chose the Titanic because the family were bad sailors and thought that the size of the ship would prevent seasickness.

"And all the fittings were so lovely, the glass and the china and the flowers, everything you see, was brand new. I remember vaguely, the enormous dining room. Of course, it was very exciting for us because in those days children led a very nursery life, we didn't have our meals with our parents, we had them in the school or nursery. And it was generally very plain food, I suppose, like milk puddings and rather dull things like that so it was very exciting to have this elaborate food."

10. Letter written by first class bedroom steward, Richard Geddes to his wife (he did not survive)

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"My dearest Sal,

We got away yesterday after a lot of trouble. As we were passing the New York and Oceanic, the New York broke her ropes and very nearly ran into us but we just happened to avoid a collision, I could see visions of Belfast. It must have been a trying time for the Captain. Now I hope you're feeling good and not worrying because I think you needn't. How is my little sweetheart getting along, I guess she misses me a wee bit, what do you think? The ship is going to be a good deal better than the Olympic, at least I think so, steadier and everything up to now. I will close now. Haven't any news, I'm feeling pretty good.

With fondest love and kisses to my dear wife and kiddies,

Your affectionate husband

Dick"

11. Eileen Schefer (nee Lenox-Conyngham), travelling to Cherbourg at age 12. Reads out from letter she wrote to her nurse-maid, Louisa

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"We went to the different desks and sat and wrote letters and postcards there."

Q: Would it be possible for you to read the letter out to me?

A: 'On board RMS Titanic Wednesday 10th April 1912

Dear Louisa,

The Titanic is the biggest ship in the world. There is a swimming bath, a gymnasium, Turkish baths in it. The ship started at about 12.15, then we had a long delay because the ship broke the ropes of another ship, the Oceanic, and it went floating about and knocked into the ship but they got it all right after a bit. This is the first long voyage the Titanic has ever made. It is quite calm now, nobody has been sick so far. We should arrive at Cherbourg at five, but I do not think we will get there until six. Please write soon to me,

love from Eileen'."

12. 9 year old Roy Diaper and Edith Haisman age 16

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"And then my other impression was a tall man, completely bearded and he was wearing a frock coat and he had on a peak cap of course, but the thing that struck me and this is true , it was not like the ones that are worn today. It had a small brim and small top and I remember my Father speaking to him and Captain Smith didn't even speak to me, but he did bend down and he shook me by the hand, and that was all I knew of Captain Smith."

Edith Haisman (nee Brown), age 16, travelling to Seattle with her parents.

"On sailing day, well, everybody was so happy and saying goodbye to everyone, you know, there was a boat called the New York and she nearly went into the Titanic.

Q: Were you on deck when this happened?

A: Yes, we were on Deck.

Q: What did you see?

A: My Father said, when he saw that, he said, 'that's a bad omen'."

13. Edith Haisman age 16 and Eva Hart age 7

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Edith Haisman (nee Brown), age 16, 2nd class passenger who was travelling with her parents to Seattle

"Then you could see the ice for miles across the sea.

Q: When could you see the ice?

A: Just before you get to the iceberg you could see all the ice right across until she was struck.

Q: Did you worry about seeing the ice?

A: No, I didn't realise anything at all. I thought it was wonderful to see the ice like that, you know."

Eva Hart travelling to Canada with her parents at age 7.

"She felt this little bump, as she always described it, because we were a very long way from it - we were on the port side of the ship and the collision was on the starboard side of the ship. And had she been asleep it wouldn't have wakened her and she immediately wakened my Father. And my Father went away and spoke to one of the sailors and he came back and said, 'Oh! we've hit an iceberg.' And he went away again and he came back and said, 'Oh, I've spoken to one of the officers, they're going to launch the lifeboats, but you'll all be back on board for breakfast.' They started to lower the boats and my Father put my Mother and I in without any trouble at all and that was it - I never saw him again. He told me to hold my mummy's hand and be a good girl, that's all he said."

14. Sidney Daniels, 19 year old 3rd class steward

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"At half past eleven or twenty past eleven I was in my bunk sleeping. The night watchman came down, and said, 'All hands on deck. Get your life belts on.' We thought it was an emergency boat drill - we weren't very pleased with this - so anyway, we eventually went up on deck and stood by our boats. We were all allotted certain boats to go to and I was number 13, by the way. We just stood around waiting for orders, dancing around to the music - the musicians were on board playing the different tunes on deck! Eventually got orders to get all the women and children off to the lifeboats. I don't know what the time was but it was getting on. Anyway, we got them all off, or as many as we could and got them into the boats. We had to forfeit our seat in the boat, of course, for the passengers. We got away from that, got all of the boats away, excepting the last boat, which was a collapsible boat secured to the top of the wireless room. It was lashed down with different lashings, and a crowd of them up there unlashing it. Someone shouted out, 'Anyone got a pocket knife?' and I said, 'yes, I have. Here you are'. And passed my pocket knife up and I think they were the last lashings up to the lifeboat."

15. Eva Hart travelling to Canada with her parents at age 7

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"The panic seemed to me to start after the boats had gone, we could hear it, but when we were in the boat rowing away, then we could hear the panic, of people rushing about on the deck and screaming and looking for lifeboats. I could only tell you I was terrified! It's quite impossible to use another word for it, I was absolutely terrified - as anyone would be. Oh it was dreadful. The bow went down first and the stern stuck up in the ocean for what seemed to me like almost like a long time, of course it wasn't, but it stood out stark against the sky and then heeled over and went down. And you could hear the people screaming and thrashing about in the water and finally the ghastly noise of the people thrashing about and screaming and drowning, that finally ceased. I remember saying to my Mother once how dreadful that noise was and I always remember her reply. She said, 'yes, but think back about the silence that followed it', because all of a sudden it wasn't there - the ship wasn't there, the lights weren't there and the cries weren't there."

16. Sydney Daniels, Edith Haisman and Eva hart

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Sidney Daniels, 19 year old 3rd class steward

"By that time the ship was getting well down and all our lifeboats were away, excepting this one, I was wandering around for a while, near the bridge. I was walking from the port side over to the starboard side. I could see the water coming up the bridge like that, so I thought it was time to leave, so I had to, well, I was up to my knees in water. Then I jumped over the rail and dived into the water."

Edith Haisman (nee Brown), age 16, travelling to Seattle with her parents.

"Well, as I said, one of the sailors who was in the boat had to row further out because of the suction of the Titanic. She went down and we stayed for nearly six hours, I think, must have stayed in that lifeboat before we were picked up. Freezing it was. Terribly cold."

7 year old Eva Hart travelling to Canada with her parents as 2nd class passengers.

"But the worse thing, really, during the night was the lifeboat I was in, which was number 14, was so hopelessly overcrowded that in the night they starting taking people out of it and putting them in other boats. And during this business I got separated from my Mother. So when eventually, when the dawn came up and we were being picked up by the Carpathia, I wasn't in the same lifeboat with her. I spent the rest of the night screaming for her and I found her, of course, on the Carpathia, she was looking for me and I was looking for her."

17. Edith Haisman age 16 and Sydney Daniels aged 19, 3rd class steward

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Edith Haisman (nee Brown), aged 16, who was with her mother in Lifeboat 14

"When you were out in the lifeboat, you could see her lights going down, disappearing, like that, because she was the size of this building, you know, very high ship. And you could see her lights disappearing all the time 'til it got to the boilers and then the most terrible explosion and then of course, after the explosion she went down - slow - like that. Two and a half hours, could have saved everybody on that ship."

Sidney Daniels, aged 19, 3rd class steward, who was on the upturned lifeboat.

"Well, we sat there, about twenty of us, right through the night. Nothing to do, just living in hopes. Well, someone started to curse and swear further down on the ship and someone said, 'this is no time for swearing, its time to say your prayers'. Which we did. We all said our prayers there, the Lord's Prayer, altogether in a group - and I said to the feller, sitting with my back to him, I said, 'I'm tired, I'm going to sleep'. He said, 'for God's sake, son, don't go to sleep'. Fortunately I didn't. Had I gone to sleep I'd have never woke up again, being so cold."

18. Eva Hart age 7 and Sidney Daniels, 19, 3rd class steward

Audio Account

7 year old Eva Hart travelling to Canada with her parents as 2nd class passengers

"When the dawn came up and we were being picked up by the Carpathia, I wasn't in the same lifeboat with her. I spent the rest of the night screaming for her, and I found her of course, on the Carpathia. She was looking for me and I was looking for her. That must have been quite dreadful for people, like my Mother, who would look round to see if my Father had, by any chance made it.

Q: Do you know how you got on board the Carpathia?

A: Yes, in a sack, winched up in a mailbag. Because the children couldn't climb up rope ladders, so we were each one of us, put in a mail sack and that was terrifying swinging about over the ocean."

Sidney Daniels, 19, 3rd class steward, who spent the night on the upturned lifeboat.

"As we came towards the dawn, more or less, there were lights, a ship came in sight. 'There's a ship', I said, 'there's two'. It turned out that one was the ship and the other was the iceberg - they were alongside each other. It was the Carpathia came up to take us off. Well, our own lifeboats at that time were able to see the ones afloat, see any survivors around and came up to take us off. There were twenty of us in the two different boats. They took us to the Carpathia."

19. Edith Haisman age 16 and Sidney Daniels, 19 year old 3rd class steward

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Edith Haisman (nee Brown), aged 16, who was with her mother in Lifeboat 14

"After we were picked up on the Carpathia, my Mother came to me because every time a lifeboat came, I went to see if my Father was on it and he wasn't. So my Mother turned round and said, 'you've lost your Father, and you won't see your Father any more'."

Sidney Daniels, 19 year old 3rd class steward

"When they hauled me aboard the Carpathia they gave me something hot to drink. I used to hate coffee, I didn't care what it was as long as it started to warm me up which it did. They took me down to the sick bay in the hospital and put me in a bed, shivering, of course, with the cold and there I stopped for a while."

20. Stephen Townsend, 9 year old schoolboy in 1912

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"Of course there was no radio or television or anything like that, naturally, and people were running round the streets, 'The Titanic's sunk, the Titanic'. There was panic, there was panic stations everywhere, women running out and going down to the shipping office, you know, down near the dock gates there. And they can't sink the Titanic, because everybody talked about the Titanic, it was the unsinkable ship. She had double bottom tanks and all this sort of thing and watertight doors. It was impossible for her to sink and even as young as I was, this impressed me because there wasn't a family in the whole of that area that never had anybody associated with that ship. Fathers and sons and uncles and grandsons and all this sort of thing to be on the great Titanic you see."

21. Dora Caton, Southampton resident and Charles Morgan, 9 year old Southampton schoolboy

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Dora Caton, Southampton resident

"I remember very well my Mother saying how on the morning of the disaster she was spring cleaning in our front bedroom and heard a commotion. So she went downstairs to see what it was and it was Echo boys running around the streets shouting out, 'Disaster at sea - Titanic sunk' and there was a special edition of the Echo."

Charles Morgan, 9 year old Southampton schoolboy in 1912

"My first memories, I think the first memories that stand out really, I think, was the sinking of the Titanic and the reason this was so outstanding is that the town - things weren't quite so noisy in those days as they are now - but the town went absolutely quiet. A great hush descended on the town because I don't think that there was hardly a single street in Southampton that hadn't lost someone on that ship and it was as you know, supposed to be unsinkable and it was a very great shock."

22. Stephen Townsend, 9 year old schoolboy, who lived in the dock land community of Southampton

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"They were all shipping community, shipping and dock working community. And as I say, ..everybody run down .. it was real panic..I can see it now .. I can visualise it .. the women running out, you know, in their aprons, as they were busy doing their household chores and forget everything and all run down to the shipping office. That was the only place you could get any news, you see. Well, they did this, course, childlike I think I went down with my grandmother then I expect. However, everybody was in distress. They didn't know, they spent, oh, hours and hours and hours down there and then later on they had a few names of who had been saved and it took a long time for it to come through, you know."

23. Dora Caton and Elsie Whitfield (local residents) and Albert Gibbs (9 year old schoolboy)

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Dora Caton, local resident

"My Father worked in the Docks - he was in charge of the pay office of the Mechanical Engineers Department of the Southern Railway. And he said on several occasions, how not only the town was in complete mourning over the disaster, but in the docks, every single man wore a black arm band for some days afterwards."

Elsie Whitfield grew up in Melbourne Street Chapel and in later life worked for naval tailors 'Miller, Rayner & Haysom' who made uniforms for the Titanic

"Yes, and we used to go down the dock gate, with a friend. Her Father was on there (Titanic) and her Father got lost, but we used to go. They'd put the names up, outside the dock gate, who was rescued and that, yeah, I remember ever so plain. This girl at school, used to come and say 'coming down the dock gate? Me and my sister used to go down the dock gate to see if her Father's name was up there. Several girls at school had fathers on there, well, brothers, or some relation."

Albert Gibbs, 9 year old schoolboy, who lived in Chapel in 1912 and attended Eastern District School

"I do remember the feeling of the boys - how pleased that.. they were worried at the time..and with a lot of us other boys, we used to go down to what was number 7 dock gate in those days and look at the list of people saved. And uncles, fathers and quite a lot of relations of the boys that I went to school with were lost. And of course, there was great grief in the school at the time but when Mrs. Doling was saved, she appeared on the list, I remember the brothers, how overjoyed they were."

24. Sidney Daniels, aged 19, 3rd class steward

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"They had a role call, but they missed me and I was never on the survivors list, still never was, I'm still missing. My Father had a letter from the company saying that I was missing. But fortunately, prior to that when we got to New York, we were transferred to the Lapland. On the ship, the crew this is, and the express people in New York, gave us all permission to send out cablegrams to our parents to let them know we were alive. So fortunately my Father got the cablegram before they got the letter from the company. All I signed was "Safe S.S. Lapland. Sid". Well, that was rather brief to him, he didn't know S.S. Lapland. He was looking on the map for Lapland thinking a fishing boat had come along and picked us up. Anyway he knew that I was safe, that was the main thing and a couple of days afterwards he got the letter from the company saying that I was missing. Of course, that confused him again but they transferred us to the Lapland and brought us back to Plymouth and then they put us all on the train from Plymouth to Southampton, the crew. Had a hectic greeting you can just imagine, can't you? You can imagine what it was like over the Falkland business there was everyone there to greet us. It was quite an exciting time."

25. Dora Caton, local resident

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"Another memory is of going with him to stand by the memorials to the men who lost, and women, who lost their lives in the disaster. The Engineers' memorial in the Andrew's park, and the one that is now in Holyrood Church ruins but which I remember as being on the Common, well, the entrance to the Common, near what we call Cemetery Road. Of course, my Father can't have known all the people, but a number of names meant something to him. And as a child I remember standing there and he'd say, 'Now so-and so, he worked in such and such an office before he went to sea', or a lady's name, 'she was the neighbour of your grandmother', things like that. So, if it made such an impression on my parents that they talked to me on those lines, that must be only one instance among many of Southamptonians alive at that time."

26. Iris Lee, local resident

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"I have quite often heard my Father and my Mother talk about the fact that every year when the Anniversary came round, they used to thank God. And of course, over the years I used to say, and my sisters, 'Why do they thank God every time?' And the fact is that my Father had been signed on as carpenter for the Titanic and was going away. But two days beforehand he was working in the docks, repairing some boat or the other and he saw, floating by, a head, with no body and hair - he used to explain - about a yard long. And it was such a shock to him that they had to call the doctor in to get him off the ship onto the dockside. And the doctor gave him some injection or the other that put him out, and he was out, well, long enough that he wasn't able to take his position on the Titanic so that's why my parents used to say they were thankful to God."

27. Joan Massey nee Symons, daughter of survivor George Symons, one of Titanic's lookout crew who was in charge of Lifeboat No. 1

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"He never spoke about it very much. I remember once, when we were children, well, I don't know how old I was, but he did come one day and say that the Daily Sketch, or one of those, were running a series on the Titanic. And he said then, 'you may read something that is a bit detrimental to me, but don't believe all you hear'. And I think he would have spoken about it then but being a youngster I never really bothered. He was my Dad and I loved him, you know (laughs). And the Mary (Queen Mary), when she was first there, we cycled down to Millbrook Point. We went up on the bridge and he stood there looking at it and he looked very sad and he said, 'That's where the Titanic broke in half,' he said, and I never asked him anything, you know, wished I had. But no, I didn't and that was all. And then every year when the date of the Titanic came he used to pop off on his bike and my Mother used to say to me 'you know where he's gone don't you?' And he always went to the Titanic, never said anything, just used to go to the Titanic Memorials,I suppose to pay his respects and remember."

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