Titanic Impostors

On 16th September we were very pleased to welcome so many members of the Old Catton Society to our first meeting since February 2020. Our speaker was John Balls with a very interesting presentation entitled “Titanic Imposters“.
John set the scene by giving the background to the Titanic before the commencement of that fateful voyage and reminded us that whilst 705 people survived, 1500 died as the result of the Titanic’s collision with an iceberg.
But John’s talk concentrated on the stories of 34 individual travellers who were certainly not the person whose name was on the booking form. All used an assumed name. There wasn’t the level of checking documents in 1912!.
There were nine crew who signed on in another name. Evidentially it was not uncommon for crew to be discharged and then able to sign on again under an assumed name. Thomas Hart a crew member lost his discharge book so didn’t join the Titanic but someone else used it. Thomas arrived home three weeks later and found his mother organising his memorial service.
We heard stories of those fleeing unhappy marriages or had a new partner who were off to start a new life in America.
Two boys, Michael and Edmund, parent’s had separated and their father took them on the Titanic, under assumed names. In the emergency he put the boys in a lifeboat, but he died in the disaster. Photographs of the boys were published in the papers. They were reunited with their mother when a friend recognised them. And more fascinating stories too many to mention here. If you wish to know more John has written a book on this topic.

Thursday, 16 September, 2021 - 19:30
John Balls