10 Most Famous Victims of the Titanic Disaster
The Titanic was a cataclysmic maritime accident that occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912. The so-called “unsinkable” Titanic ship, cruising on its first voyage from Southampton to New York City, went down into the ocean floor after hitting an iceberg. It has been estimated that the Titanic disaster claimed over 1500 lives, including some very famous people. Before we delve into some of the victims of the RMS Titanic disaster, let’s briefly explore how the passenger arrangement and cabin classes were like on that cold dawn of April 15, 1912- the day that the RMS Titanic sank.
Passenger Classes on the Titanic
In accordance with the wealth or social class of its passengers, the Titanic was divided into three main passenger sections: first, second and third classes. The first-class passenger compartment mostly consisted of business tycoons, politicians and a host of many other prominent people. Ticket prices for the first-class ranged between 30 and 870 pounds. There were luxurious facilities on the Titanic ship for first-class passengers. These included a gym, swimming pool, elevators, etc. More importantly, wealthy passengers had their personal nurses and cooks on board.
The second class section was allocated for middle-income earners such as professors, religious leaders, authors, musicians, and tourists. Second class passengers paid up to 30 pounds for their tickets. There were Catholic religious ceremonies (mass celebration) for occupants in the third and second class.
The third and final class was the lowest in terms of the social status of its occupants. It primarily contained emigrants relocating to the U.S.A and Canada in search of greener pastures. The ticket price was between 3 and 7 pounds. There were no pure black men on board; only two people had black ancestry.
10 Most Notable Victims of the Titanic Disaster
Below is a presentation of the names, profiles, and stories of 10 most famous people that died in the Titanic disaster:
Dr. John Jacob Astor
He was a multi-millionaire with a net worth of around $ 87 million. In today’s currency, this amounts to about $ 2.21 billion. With such a staggering amount of wealth, Astor was the richest person on board the ship. He was an inventor, a novelist and a Spanish-American war veteran. He booked the European ship with his pregnant wife in order to make certain that she gave birth in America. Unfortunately, John went down with the ship. His pregnant wife luckily made it to safety.
Many women and children survived the Titanic disaster – not more than 20% of the male passengers on board the Titanic made it alive. The survival rates were the highest for female first-class passengers. Therefore, it is not surprising the Astor’s wife survived.
He was an investigative journalist and a Pall Mall Gazette editor. He was one of the founders of investigative journalism. As a newspaper editor, Stead published articles and conducted several investigative pieces into child prostitution. Perhaps, Stead may have seen his death coming because his 1886 book bears a striking similarity to the Titanic disaster. In Stead’s book, he narrates a story that hovers around a ship sinking in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. True to his fictional story, Stead died in the Titanic ship disaster due to a shortage of lifeboats. Instead of trying to make his way to the lifeboats, T. Stead spent his final moments reading a book as the ship sank.
3. Thomas Andrew
He was far from an ordinary victim of the maritime disaster; Thomas was actually the designer (architect) of the ship. He joined the maiden voyage of the ship so that he could monitor its performance and give recommendations to his superiors at Harland and Wolff. After the ship accidentally struck the iceberg, Thomas Andrew knew that sinking was inevitable. So he helped children to safety; sacrificed his life; and then went down with the ship.
4. Benjamin Guggenheim
He was a U.S. millionaire businessman who made most of his fortune from the mining industry. Ben had a French singer (Leontine Aubert) with him onboard the ship. He exhibited extraordinary bravery, helped others to escape and dressed himself to die. In his final moments, he smoked cigarettes in the first-class section and went down with the ship like a gentleman.
5. Isidor Straus and Ida Straus
Isidor Straus was an American-German business tycoon and a U.S. politician. He exhibited a selfless attitude by making sure that women and children got to the lifeboats first. On several occasions, he refused to board the lifeboats. As a result, his wife, Ida Straus, chose to be by his side. She remarked that they had been together for a long time; therefore the Titanic disaster couldn’t separate them. Down, the couple went with the ship.
6. Dennick Wick
He was an industrialist (co-founder of a steel factory). He went to Europe to better his conditions. On his return trip to the United States, Dennick joined the Titanic. Unfortunately, he never made it back to America. As drama and pandemonium unfolded, Dennick, standing on the deck of the Titanic, bid his family farewell. His family members successfully made it onto the lifeboats.
7. John Thayer
Before the Titanic disaster, Thayer was already a popular business executive of a Pennsylvanian railroad firm. He was also a former cricket star. Thayer and his family were returning to the U.S. after a wonderful Berlin trip. After disaster struck, he ensured the safety of his wife and their assistant by getting them on board a lifeboat. Thayer perished in the disaster, but his son survived by clinging onto an inverted lifeboat.
8. Charles Melville Hays
He was an American railway business tycoon – he presided over the Grand Trunk Railway. His business had branches in Canada and the northeastern USA. Charles was one of the pessimists who expressed skepticism about the future of big ships such as the Titanic. In a conversation with friends, he somewhat predicted that maritime tragedies of big ships were soon going to become rife. We can only wonder why he still went ahead to board the Titanic, given the fears he had about big ships. Survival luck eluded Charles; however, his wife and daughter made it alive.
9. Henry B. Harris
He was an American Broadway producer who managed stars and produced plays. He and his wife, Renee, went to London for business affairs. They caught up with the Titanic on their return trip to America. When the disaster occurred, Henry went all lengths and got his wife to safely join a lifeboat. He also gave a blanket to his lovely wife who sustained an elbow injury from a fall in the ship. Henry died on the ship. But his wife kept his legacy alive; she took on her husband’s profession and became one of America’s finest female producers.
10. Edward John Smith
He was the captain who navigated the Titanic. After his death, the captain was criticized for excessive speeding which made the iceberg collision unstoppable. However, due to the fact that previous ocean liners survived iceberg impacts, speeding in iceberg regions was kind of a normal standard of maritime procedures.