The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on April 15th of 1912 in the early hours of the morning.
The ship that was meant to change the way people sailed across the vast oceans instead became the watery grave of 1,500 passengers and crewmates.
It’s been more than 100 years since the nautical disaster occurred and people are still heavily intrigued by what occurred on that tragic night near Newfoundland, Canada.
Is Anyone Still Alive From The Titanic?
No, there are no more living survivors from the Titanic.
The last living survivor was Millvina Dean, who was the youngest passenger on the Titanic when she was only an infant.
Dean was only two months old when her family decided to move from England to Kansas in the United States to open a tobacco shop.
Her family had wanted to board another ship but were transferred to the Titanic due to the coal strikes that were happening at the time.
They boarded as third-class passengers at the Southampton port.
Weary of the ride ahead, her father had been easily awakened by the rumbling caused by the collision with the fatal iceberg and quickly ordered his wife and children to get dressed.
The family quickly made their way up to the top deck to watch the chaos erupt among passengers and crewmates.
Millvina Dean, her brother, and her mother were all placed onto Lifeboat 10 and were one of the first lifeboats to be sent out.
Millvina Dean and her surviving family members may have been one of the first of the 706 survivors to leave the Titanic, but her father would be one of 1,500 to die with the ship.
Dean was too young to remember the events that occurred, but she remembered the stories that her mother would tell.
A month before she died, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and James Cameron paid for her retirement home needs.
Millvina Dean would go on to live until the age of 97 when she passed away of pneumonia on May 31st of 2009.
Although she would have given anything to never have had the events of that night occur, Dean appreciated the celebrity status that came with being the last living Titanic survivor.
Another Infant Who Survived The Titanic
Barbara West Dainton was the eighth-youngest voyager on the Titanic at only a year old.
She was born in 1911 in Bournemouth, England.
Unlike Millvina Dean, Dainton was not open to talking about the events that occurred on April 15th of 1912.
She was too young to personally remember the sinking of the RMS Titanic, but she lived with the life-long circumstances that followed.
Her parents Edwy Arthur West and Ada Mary West had purchased tickets aboard the RMS Titanic to start their new life in Gainesville, Florida.
After spending years as a department store floorwalker, Dainton’s father was ready to start his own business.
When the iceberg first hit, only Ada West woke up.
Her husband and children wouldn’t wake up until panicked passengers began making a ruckus outside their door.
A steward eventually alerted the family to what was going on and informed them that they’d need to put on as much warm clothing as possible.
As his children and wife got ready for whatever lay outside their door, Edwy West would get his family thermoses of warm milk and whatever he thought might bring some comfort.
Barbara Dainton, her mother, and her older sister all had to watch as the ship’s crew lowered them into the ocean and her father gave a final goodbye, well aware of what was going to become of his future.
After the loss of her father, her mother decided that it would be best to go back to England.
Much to their distress, they would have to board another boat called the Celtic.
Only a few months after the tragedy of the Titanic, Ada West would have a daughter in September whom she’d name Edwyna West.
Dainton grew up to become a governess for a wealthy Cornish family.
Living Through The Titanic As A Child
Eva Hart was only seven years old when her parents decided that they wanted to open a drug store in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Hart was born on January 31st and had lived her entire life in London up to this point.
Although Benjamin Hart, Eva’s father, was confident in the RMS Titanic’s claim to be unsinkable, Eva’s mother Esther Bloomfield felt that such a claim flew in the face of God and that there would be major consequences.
The Hart family had taken a train to Southampton, and young Eva Hart was amazed at the sight of the famous ship.
She had never seen a ship before, and the massive size of the Titanic was enough to overwhelm her and her mother.
Bloomfield immediately told her husband that she had no intention of sleeping while on their journey, out of fear of what could happen.
Compared to the jovial environment surrounding young Hart, she could easily remember what a nervous wreck her mother was.
The first time that Eva Hart remembers her mother crying was when she was getting closer to boarding the RMS Titanic.
Hart remembers the way that her father matched her mother’s panicked expression when he came bursting into the family’s cabin.
Eva’s father quickly clothed her, wrapped her in a blanket, and carried her to the top deck.
He then loaded Eva and her mother into Lifeboat 14.
The last thing that Benjamin Hart told his young daughter was, “Hold Mummy’s hand and be a good girl.”
Eva Hart would never see her father again, and his body may never have been recovered or identified.
Lifeboat 14 was rescued by the RMS Carpathia and the remaining Hart family landed in New York six days after the accident.
However, Eva Hart would live with recurring nightmares well into adulthood.
Who Was The Last American Survivor Of The Titanic?
Lillian Asplund was the last American survivor of the Titanic to pass away, but she passed away in her home at the age of 99 on May 6th of 2006.
When she passed away, she was still holding onto her steamship ticket and her father’s pocket watch, which was frozen at 2:19 am.
Asplund was born in Worcester, Massachusetts to her immigrant parents, Carl and Selma Asplund.
Only five years before the disaster, Carl Asplund’s father had died and left behind his elderly mother.
Although it hadn’t been easy to set up a new life in the United States, Carl Asplund felt that it would be best to move the family back to their native country of Sweden.
In Sweden, the family was able to manage a farm and care for Lillian Asplund’s grandmother.
After spending four years in Sweden, the Asplund family decided to return home to Massachusetts.
Asplund boarded the RMS Titanic on April 10th, alongside her parents, her younger brother Felix, and her three older brothers.
It was Carl Asplund who awoke from his sleep at 11:40 pm when the Titanic crashed into the iceberg.
After figuring out what had happened, Lillian Asplund and her siblings were ordered to get dressed and make their way up to the top deck by their frightened father.
Lillian Asplund, Selma Asplund, and her younger brother Felix Asplund were all loaded onto Lifeboat 15.
Carl Asplund and his older sons were ordered to stay on the sinking ship to make room for all the women and young children.
Although her mother wanted to stay with her father and older brothers, Carl Asplund ordered his wife to stay with the younger children.
Selma Asplund kept her son cradled in her arms and her daughter between her legs.
Trying To Survive As A Family
The Asplund family was not the only family to be torn apart.
Many of the 706 survivors would lose their loved ones.
One of the most tragic cases of a family being separated was the Collyer family, where only the young mother and daughter survived.
Harvey Collyer, Charlotte Collyer, and their daughter Majorie Collyer had boarded the RMS Titanic in hopes that moving to a warmer climate would help improve Charlotte Collyer’s condition as she battled tuberculosis.
The Collyers had recently liquidated all of their assets and took out all of their savings to make this emigration possible, all totaling up to about $5,000.
The family had been enjoying their trip across the ocean until the iceberg hit.
Marjorie Collyer had gone to bed, but her parents were staying up and chatting about their trip when they felt the collision.
Harvey Collyer went outside to investigate what had happened when he was informed by a crew member that the boat had hit an iceberg but that there was no reason to be concerned.
The reality of the situation didn’t come to light until they heard the frantic screaming and running outside their cabin door.
The family decided to check the top deck in their pajamas out of precaution, assuming that they’d be returning to their cabin.
The family was instead greeted by a chaotic and gruesome sight.
One of the first things they saw when they got to the top level was a stoker who had his finger sliced clean off and was a bloody mess.
Although it was now clear that the Titanic was sinking, Charlotte Collyer refused to leave her husband.
She wouldn’t get into Lifeboat 15 until a crew member threw Majorie Collyer in the lifeboat.
Charlotte never saw her husband again.
Laura Mabel Francatelli, The First-Class Survivor
Although the RMS Titanic was supposed to be the peak of luxury for the first class, the sinking of the Titanic killed without a single care of what class the passengers were in.
Laura Mabel Francatetti was traveling with Lady Duff Gordon as her secretary.
Francatelli was getting ready to sleep in cabin E-36 when she felt a shudder throughout the cabin.
She went outside to figure out what had happened and was greeted by two men who explained that the ship had hit an iceberg, but they assured her that it was nothing to be concerned about.
Uncertain about the men’s belief that the boat would be perfectly fine, Laura Mabel Francatelli stood there in silence for 20 minutes before she saw that the water filling the deck of the ship was staying on.
Francatelli could feel herself tensing up from the panic that filled her mind before she was escorted upstairs.
Many of the lifeboats had already been lowered by the time Francatelli was able to make it up to the top deck, with only a couple of lifeboats remaining.
The memory that stuck with Francatelli the strongest was the sound of the screaming coming from those in lifeboats and remaining on the Titanic.
When on the boat, the officer leading those rowing the boat ordered them to move away at least 200 feet to avoid getting trapped by the massive ship’s debris.
In an early letter to a friend, Francatelli claimed that she witnessed one of the crew members remaining on the ship commit suicide.
As the boat was sinking, Fracatelli watched as it exploded and could hear the screams of women watching their husbands, fathers, and sons die in such a violent manner.
From the second things began to go wrong, Laura Francatelli knew she’d never forget that terrible night.
Being One Of The Few Male Passenger Survivors
When the RMS Titanic was sinking, the crew’s first goal was to get all of the women and children off of the sinking ship.
Thanks to the crew’s devotion, all of the women and children were successfully loaded onto lifeboats.
Lawrence Beesley had boarded the legendary ship alone as a second-class passenger and stayed in his cabin on the D-deck.
He had hoped to visit his family in Toronto after resigning from his job as a science professor at Dulwich College.
When the Titanic crashed into the iceberg, Beesley had been awake and reading a book.
He knew something was wrong when he could no longer feel the motion of the waves underneath him and his mattress had become completely still.
Beesley went on deck to investigate what happened, only to be told by a steward that everything would be okay.
The science teacher knew better and went back to his cabin to get properly dressed for the cold weather outside.
One of the last lifeboats to leave the Titanic was Lifeboat 13.
When the boat was ready to be lowered, the crew member in charge noticed that there was still some room and asked if there were any women or children remaining.
As a quick scope around the deck, no women or children were found and widower Lawrence Beesley was called onto the lifeboat to save his life and act as another set of hands for the leading crewmate.
Lawrence Beesley and the rest of Lifeboat 13 were able to see the last moments of the Titanic, including watching the lights flicker out during the ship’s final plunge.
Beesley would go on to write The Loss of the SS Titanic, which was one of the first books published on the topic.
How The Managing Director Of The Titanic Survived
Joseph Bruce Ismay was the managing director of White Star Line of Boston Packets, which was the shipping company that owned and oversaw the construction of the RMS Titanic.
Ismay was given the opportunity to join the ship for its maiden voyage for free and stayed in the most expensive suite that the ship had to offer.
The RMS Titanic was supposed to be much better than the RMS Olympic, and Ismay had made it his goal for the ship to be bigger and more exquisite than its older sister.
However, Ismay would learn that bigger doesn’t mean better in the worst way possible.
Ismay was asleep in his luxury suite when he was awakened by the collision and went to the bridge of the ship to figure out what had happened.
When he asked Captain Edward Smith if he believed the boat had taken damage, the captain was certain that the ship had been damaged to at least some degree.
Ismay immediately rushed down to the main companionway and asked Chief Engineer Joseph Bell how bad the damage was.
The chief engineer felt that the ship had been seriously damaged, but the ship’s pumps would be enough to keep them afloat until they reached their destination.
By the time that Ismay returned the bridge, the captain had ordered the lifeboats to be swung out.
Ismay then gave the order to get all of the women and children off of the Titanic and onto the lifeboats.
Ismay was ordering his men around wildly and was eventually stopped when First Officer Harold Lowe angrily ordered his boss to get out of the way and allow the men to do their jobs safely, otherwise more people would die.
In complete shock, Ismay got onto Lifeboat 3 without saying a single word.
Uniting Internationally Under Disaster
The sinking of the Titanic was the first major international disaster.
Families from around the world were all forced to grieve together.
The Titanic was meant to be the ship of the future and represented entering a golden age in international transportation, which meant families were going to be able to unite more frequently.
Instead, it served as the starting point for some of the darkest times in human history.
After 110 years have passed since the tragedy occurred, it’s important to reflect on history and learn from it.
No boat will ever be unsinkable and there is no greater pain than suddenly losing those you love.