Ancient history

Titanic:The Litany of Shattered Lives

Margaret Brown, known as the “unsinkable Molly”, in 1909. • WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Despite its 1,500 deaths, the tragedy of the Titanic was not the most terrible in the history of shipwrecks. For example, those of two German ships sunk by Soviet submarines in 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff (which was transporting refugees) and the Goya (a hospital ship), caused 8,000 and 6,000 victims respectively. However, the legend of the "dream liner" struck the spirits, to the point of inspiring numerous books and hours of films reconstituting the history of the passengers and the crew members.

Like that of Frederick Hoyt who, after putting his wife to safety in a canoe, jumped into the water, swam in the same direction and was saved. The tragedy strongly marked the survivors. Seven of them committed suicide, although it is difficult to establish a direct link with the Titanic . Others had dramatic lives, like Helen Bishop:the son she was pregnant with during the crossing died a few days after his birth; a year later, she was the victim of a car accident, from which she miraculously survived; she died a short time later from a fall while visiting friends.

Margaret Brown
The "unsinkable Molly", as Hollywood would call her, helped people into the canoes until she got in herself. After the sinking, she insisted on returning to the scene and saving more lives. On board the Carpathia , she continued to help the survivors.

Titanic Orphans
Michel Navratil, 4 years old, and his brother Edmond, 2 years old, boarded one of the last canoes on the departure thanks to their father, who died during the sinking. On board the Carpathia , no one understood these children, who only spoke French.

John and Madeleine Astor
John Jacob Astor IV and his second wife, Madeleine Talmage Force, are one of many broken couples that night. If she could get into a canoe, he was not so lucky. His corpse was identified by the initials embroidered on his clothes.

Frederick Fleet
It was this lookout that alerted the officer in command to the proximity of the iceberg. He survived, and continued to work for various shipping companies. Depressed, weakened by the death of his wife, he ended up committing suicide in 1965, at the age of 77.

Isidor and Ida Straus
Seeing that her sixty-year-old husband Isidor refused to board despite the repeated requests of an officer, Ida did not want to get into a canoe. She said to him, “Where you go, I will go. The couple were last seen on the deck of the ship.

Benjamin Guggenheim
The cocky attitude of the millionaire playboy before his death has remained famous. After placing his mistress in a dinghy, he took off his lifejacket, put on his coat and said, "We've dressed to our best and are ready to sink like a gentleman." »

Wallace Hartley
He led the eight-piece orchestra that played while the Titanic was sinking. The musicians moved as the water forced them, but they played relentlessly, even when they realized their imminent death.

Violet Jessop
This White Star Line nurse survived the sinking of the Titanic . A year earlier, she had already emerged unscathed from the Olympic collision with a warship; four years later, she will survive the sinking of the Britannic , during the First World War.