Titanic ~ Final Words
"I still don't like this ship... I have a queer feeling about it."
~ Henry T. Wilde, Chief Officer, in a letter to his sister
100 years on, much of the interest surrounding Titanic remains with the ship and the events surrounding her loss, but we must never forget the human tragedy, with only one in three men, women and children surviving the sinking.
While the first class passengers made full use of her Marconi wireless system to message family and friends, for the 2nd and 3rd class passengers and the crew a letter written on board Titanic and posted from Queenstown was the last chance to keep in touch before arrival in New York. For many, these letters which would have arrived after news of the loss, would be the final words families ever heard from their loved ones.
The letters give an insight into life on board, the normal humdrum of family life and of course no indication of the trouble that lay ahead.
On Board RMS Titanic
My dear little treasures
Just for a bit of luck I am on watch from 12 to 4. I received your letter and am very glad you are going to the hospital, the lump is bound to hurt with the iodine, perhaps it might be drawing gradually to a head, let's hope so.
We have a more decent crowd on board this time although no so many. There is a lot to come on at Queenstown I think, the more the merrier. If you are not well enough don't come down this time but be sure and let me know at Plymouth. As we left today the American boat New York broke her moorings and drifted right across our bows, missed the Oceanic by about a foot. We had to reverse engines sharp and one of our tugs went and got her under control before any damage was done. Anyhow, it was a narrow squeak for all of us.
We have a lot of new faces this time everywhere on the boat. I have just had a shave etc and shall be glad when 4 o/c comes and I turn in till about 7.30. Now I don't know what to write about only my chest is not so sore today. I did not go to Mother's although I should have liked to: now I'll finish, don't forget, don't come down if you don't feel well enough, it would only be a waste of time and would not do you any good whatever.
Now tata, glad you liked the pictures and I suppose those chocolate eggs have disappeared down that great big hole.
With fondest love to you both.
I suppose you got the hospital ticket?
~ George Beedem, Bedroom Steward. Died.
Second class passengers Harvey Collyer and his family were emigrating to America to buy a fruit farm and for the climate to aid his wife, Charlotte's consumption.
Titanic April 11th
My dear Mum and Dad
It don't seem possible we are out on the briny writing to you. Well dears so far we are having a delightful trip the weather is beautiful and the ship magnificent. We can't describe the tables it's like a floating town. I can tell you we do swank we shall miss it on the trains as we go third on them. You would not you were on a ship. There is hardly any motion she is so large e have not felt sick yet as we expect to get to Queenstown today so I thought I would drop this with the mails. We had a fine send off from Southampton and Mrs S and the boys with others saw us off. We will post again in New York then when we get to Payette.
Lots of love don't worry about us. Ever your loving children
Harvey & Lot & Madge.
~Harvey Collyer. Died.
Charlotte Collyer. Survived.
Marjorie Collyer. Survived.
Bedroom steward Fred Simmons was a last minute transfer to Titanic from the Oceanic, due to a crew shortage. He was married with a five month old son.
On board RMS Titanic, Queenstown
Just a line in great haste to let you know I am feeling fine and rather pleased with the ship. Of course I don't know if I shall have a show or not but I hope to. How are you going on I hope you and baby are keeping very well. I expect I shall be comfortable here. When you write please address F.C. Simmons as there are two more of that name on the ship. Well darling I have no more to say now as I am in a hurry, love to all at home and heaps of it and kisses for you and Teddy.
From your everloving husband Fred.
~ F.C. Simmons, Bedroom Steward. Died.
Saloon Steward Jack Stagg wrote to his wife, Beatrice.
On Board RMS Titanic
Just a few lines to let you know I arrived on board all right, but what a day we have had of it, it's been nothing but work all dy long, but I can tell you nothing as regards what people I have for nothing will be settled untill (sic) we leave Queenstown tomorrow, anyway we only have 317 first, and if I should be lucky enough to get a table at all it won't possibly be more than two that I shall have, still one must not grumble for there will be plenty without any.
I expect you will have heard about the New York breaking away from her moorings through the suction of our ship it look (sic) as though there was going to be another collision but happily the tugs got hold of her in time. Now darling you must excuse this short note for it's getting late and we have to be up again by 4.30 n the morning and expect there will be another rosy time with stores and baggage of course I don't find any ship so bad excepting the food and that we have to scramble for like a lot of mad men but that won't last for long when things get straightened out a bit.
Well goodnight dear, and mind you don't spend all your money. I hope Mrs Hack will soon be well enough to relive you of your Charges so that you may have plenty of room to sleep at night.
Love to all xxxxxx Jack
I made sixpence today. What luck.
~ Jack Stagg, Saloon Steward. Died.
Third class passenger Eva Dean, emigrating to Kansas with her husband Bertram and young children Bertram and Elizabeth, wrote to her mother.
Just a card to say we are enjoying ourselves fine up to now. Little baby was very restless. With best love, Ettie.
~ Eva Dean. Survived.
Bertram Dean, Snr. Died.
Bertam Dean, Jnr. Survived.
Eizabeth Dean. Survived.