Edith Haisman

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Edith Haisman
Edith Brown.jpg
Born Edith Eileen Brown
(1896-10-27)27 October 1896
Cape Town, South Africa
Died 20 January 1997(1997-01-20) (aged 100)
Southampton, England, UK
Spouse(s) Frederick Haisman (m. 1917-1977, his death, 10 children)

Edith Haisman (27 October 1896 – 20 January 1997) was one of the last remaining and oldest survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912. She was the last survivor born in the 19th century, although seven younger survivors outlived her.

Early life[edit]

Edith Eileen Brown was born on 27 October 1896 in Cape Town, South Africa to Thomas William Solomon Brown and his wife, Elizabeth Catherine (née Ford) who owned and operated a hotel in Worcester.

Aboard the Titanic[edit]

Edith was 15 years old when she and her parents boarded the RMS Titanic in Southampton, England as second-class passengers. Her father was taking them to Seattle, Washington where he was going to open a hotel business. The ship's hold contained tableware, furnishings, and 1,000 rolls of bed linen for the intended hotel.

Edith remembered clearly when the ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on 14 April 1912. In a series of interviews in her later years and a biography, A Lifetime on the Titanic, published in 1995, she gave a vivid account of its final moments, although some details have been called into question.

Father appeared a few minutes later. He told us, 'You'd better put on your life jackets and something warm, it's cold on deck. It's just a precaution. We've struck an iceberg, it's nothing much. The steward in the corridor says it's nothing to worry about.' We waited for ages on the boat deck for someone to tell us what to do. The ship's band was playing ragtime. They played to keep our spirits up. Everybody kept saying, 'She's unsinkable. She won't go down.' Father kissed us and saw us into Lifeboat 14. Up to fifty people got in as it swung perilously over the side. One man jumped into the boat dressed as a woman. As we rowed away from the ship, we could still hear the band playing, but now it was hymns. We were almost six hours in the lifeboat and during that time we had no water and nothing to eat. I kept wondering if my father had gotten off the ship, that's all I could think of. - 1995[1]

Her father did not survive and his body, if recovered, was never identified. Her last memory of him was that he was dressed in an Edwardian dinner jacket while smoking a cigar and sipping brandy on the deck as she and her mother were being lowered in the lifeboat.[1] Upon arrival in New York City, they stayed at the Junior League House before traveling to Seattle to live with her aunt, Josephine Acton. They soon returned to Cape Town where she lived with relatives after her mother remarried and moved to Rhodesia.

Marriage and children[edit]

In May 1917 at age 20, Edith met Frederick Thankful Haisman and they were married six weeks later on June 30. Their first child, a boy, was born in August 1918, and would be followed by nine more children. They lived in South Africa and Australia before settling in Southampton. Frederick died in 1977. He was survived by four sons, two daughters, and more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In 1977 he and Edith celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary at Rhinefield House in the New Forest.

Memorials[edit]

On 15 April 1995, Edith was present with fellow survivor, Eva Hart, age 90, at the opening of a memorial garden at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London where a granite monument commemorating the 83rd anniversary of the sinking was erected. In August 1996, at age 92, she joined fellow survivor Michel Marcel Navratil on a cruise to the location of the Titanic's wreck where attempts were made to bring a large portion of its hull to the surface. Before leaving the site, she threw a rose into the ocean where her father had died 84 years earlier. There is also a road named after her in Freemantle, Southampton, England.

Death[edit]

Edith died on 20 January 1997 in a Southampton nursing home at age 100. By her bed stood a photograph of her father in a straw boater, stiff collar, and bow tie.[2] She remains one of the longest-lived Titanic survivors. Mary Davies Wilburn holds the record, having died in 1987, at age 104.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hoge, Warren (23 January 1997). "Edith Haisman, 100, Dies - Was Oldest Survivor of Titanic - Obituary". New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Hoge, Warren (23 January 1997). "Edith Haisman, 100, Dies - Was Oldest Survivor of Titanic - Obituary". New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 

http://records.ancestry.com/Edith_Eileen_Brown_records.ashx?pid=117308364

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marjorie Newell Robb
Oldest living survivor of the RMS Titanic
11 June 1992 – 20 January 1997
Succeeded by
Winnifred van Tongerloo