|A Blast From the Past 1912||"Many Kent people go down with the Titanic"|
April 19th: In the worst ever disaster at sea, more than 1,500 of the 2,340 passengers and crew of the Titanic drowned in the icy waters of the NorthAtlantic early on Monday morning (April 15th). It is believed that a dozen people from Kent are among those lost. The great ship, proclaimed unsinkable because of its 16 watertight compartments, hit an iceberg and sank within hours. Survivors on the boats watched helplessly as The Titanic, pride of the White Star fleet, slid beneath the waves with all her lights still blazing. One of them said that the great ship tilted gradually on her nose, just like a duck that goes for a dive. Another said he heard the ship's band still playing as she went down.
Reports circulated on Monday said that all the passengers had been rescued but later it became known that all the available boats had been filled with women and children (numbering about 708) and these were picked up by the Carpathia. Many stories of bravery are reaching England. Colonel John Astor, cousin to Mr William Waldorf Astor of Hever and well known in theTonbridge area, declined to join other millionaires in the first boat but instead helped his new bride and many other women and children into the other lifeboats.
He remained on board to the end and has almost certainly drowned. It is believed that Mr Norman Craig, MP for Thanet is also among the victims.Two people from Sittingbourne were on board. They are Miss Kate Buss daughter of Mr and Mrs Buss of Shortlands Road, who was on her way to California to be married, and Mr Richard Rouse, aged 53, a labourer of New Road. The worst is also feared for Bernard Boughton, aged 24, of Hardinge Road, Ashford. He was employed at Ospringe, Faversham before he adopted the vocation of seaman and was on the Olympic when it met with a disaster some months ago. Leaving her he was delighted to join the Titanic as a steward. Also among the passengers was Mr Frank Goldsmith of Strood with his wife and nine year old son.
They were accompanied by MrThomasTheobald of BowerRoad, Strood. The men had worked for the engineering works of Aveling and Porter and Messrs Cobb and Son respectively and were on their way to seek new employment in the motor car factories in Detroit, Michigan. Mr John Simmons from the village of Leigh, near Tonbridge was also on the Titanic. Formerly a cricket ball maker with Messrs Duke and Son of Penshurst, Mr Simmons was making his way to America with Mrs Helen Twomey from Tonbridge who had secured a new position with the Bishop of Indianapolis.
Among other Kent people feared drowned are Edward Colley of Hythe, a Gillingham lad named Beavan and Mrs L.V Scape who until recently lived at The Flying Dutchman Inn at Hildenborough. Mrs Scape had been recently widowed at the age of 22 and had accepted a post on the Titanic to try and forget the tragedy that befell her husband Captain Scape in Hong Kong. She was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Ed Leppard of Cataract Cottage and the family is well known in Hildenborough.
The Titanic, on her maiden voyage, was speeding through the ice field hoping to win the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing. April 26th: Mr Norman Craig MP for Thanet has been favoured by a wonderful piece of luck. Having booked and paid for his passage on the Titanic for a holiday in New York, intuition suggested that he would be better advised to remain at home during the vital Home Rule debate in the House of Commons. He cancelled his passage hoping he could sail on the Titanic on another occasion. It is seen in Thanet as a providential escape and many people have congratulated the fortunate ME Another to escape is Miss Kate Buss of Sittingbourne who was put on a lifeboat.