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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 April 2012
Surviving the Titanic
My great-grandad Sidney Daniels, 1893-1983, was the last surviving crew member of the Titanic. Aged 17 he became a steward on the Olympic, but was transferred to the Titanic for its maiden voyage from Belfast via Southampton.
When the Titanic struck the iceberg, he ran to the top deck and helped passengers into the lifeboats until only one collapsible lifeboat remained. They had to cut it free with his pocket-knife but it fell against the deck and landed upturned in the water.
Fighting to get onto the boats was desperate. Once they realised there weren't enough spaces, the direction to evacuate women and children first gave way to fights with gunshots fired.
Eventually, with water around his knees, he jumped overboard and swam against the suction of the sinking ship, eventually grabbing the upturned lifeboat where he sat all night, delirious with cold. He kicked at his own leg thinking a sea monster was dragging him into the sea. This constant movement probably kept him alive during the freezing night.
Eventually they were rescued by the Carpathia. The list of survivors was poorly compiled, and his family were told that he had died, until he arrived home a few weeks later! He subsequently discovered his pay was stopped to within 30 minutes of the time the Titanic sank!
He got a job on the Olympic, working there until he left to fight in World War One's trenches. When he was injured by a shell, the army stopped sending his pay to his young wife while he recovered. She was forced to take a job scraping barnacles off ships in Portsmouth dockyard to make ends meet.
She cut her hand, it became infected and she died, something he discovered when he returned.
As a crew member Sidney was one of the last to leave the ship after helping others into the lifeboats. He was very lucky to survive.
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In The Socialist 11 April 2012:
Vote TUSC in May
On 3 May, use your vote to: Rage against austerity!
London Mayor election - Boris versus Ken
Plymouth's 'them & us' elections
A packed launch meeting for Tony4Mayor campaign in Liverpool
Wales can't afford to wait: fight back now!
Socialist Party news and analysis
Ireland: Mass movement against household tax and austerity
Working Tax Credit cut
Them & Us
Socialist Party feature
WANTED - decent affordable housing!
Socialist Party workplace news
NUT teachers' conference
Bus workers prepare to fight for Olympic payment
Job cuts at Debenhams
Unison Service Group Executive elections
Socialist Party youth and students
Living to work, not working to live
Clegg's 'youth contract' won't create real, long-term jobs
DWP tells young people to bail out big business
Next threat to under-25s: Housing Benefit
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
East London and the Olympics
Kill the act before it kills the NHS
Surviving the Titanic
When bosses say "we don't need you today"
The Socialist 11 April 2012 |
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