|Sidney Edward Daniels|
On board the Olympic, 1911
19 November 1893|
Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom
|Died||25 May 1983
Portsmouth, England, UK
|Known for||Last survivor of the Titanic crew|
Sidney Edward Daniels (19 November 1893 – 25 May 1983), known as Sid Daniels, was a British merchant seaman and the last surviving member of the crew of the RMS Titanic. Daniels was only 18 when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912, and survived by clinging onto an upturned collapsible boat which was rescued by the Carpathia hours later. He also served in World War I for the Royal Army Service Corps and World War II for the Merchant Navy.
Sea career and Titanic
Daniels was born in Portsmouth, England. In 1911, he joined the crew of the RMS Olympic on the ship's maiden voyage. He was also on board when she collided with the HMS Hawke in the Solent. He later transferred to serve in the Steward's Department on the RMS Titanic. When the ship made her maiden voyage in early 1912, Daniels was 18 years old.
According to his own account, all was smooth and quiet while he was sleeping in a bunk until one of the watchmen came down and said that they all had to put their life belts on and go up to the deck. Daniels then went up to deck and awaited orders along with other crew members. They received orders to get all the women and children up to the deck and into their lifeboats. When he finished his task, there was only one remaining lifeboat, which was a collapsible boat secured to the top of the wireless room and lashed down with varying lashings. Someone asked for a pocket knife and Daniels obliged.
Afterward, he went up near the bridge and looked from the port side over to the starboard side, where he saw the water level approaching the bridge. He decided to do something as the water level reached his knees. After jumping onto the rail, he dove into the water.
Fearing that suction would take him down, he swam away. He saw something flash and swam toward what was the upturned lifeboat (collapsible 'B') that they had previously tried to cut adrift. Daniels climbed on the hull and managed to sit up on the keel of the lifeboat.
While on the boat, they said prayers and waited for help. Daniels said to an older man that he was tired and was going to sleep, but the man kept him awake. Daniels later realised that if he had gone to sleep, he would probably never have woken up again due to the cold, which caused most survivors of the sinking to succumb to hypothermia.
They sat on the overturned boat throughout the night, and towards dawn a ship was sighted. The RMS Carpathia finally rescued them. Once on board, Daniels tasted coffee for the first time in his life. He said he hated the taste of it, but he didn't care as long as it warmed him up. He was then taken down to the hospital, where he stayed for a while.
World War I and World War II
During World War I, Sidney Daniels joined the Royal Army Service Corps, but saw no direct combat, which angered him. He returned home in 1915; when interviewed by a local newspaper, he said that he "couldn't help but laugh to think of all he had been through".
Daniels died at his home in Portsmouth, on 25 May 1983, at the age of 89. He outlived all of the other surviving crew members of the Titanic, although many of the surviving passengers outlived him; the last surviving passenger, Milvina Dean, died 26 years after Daniels, in 2009.
- Our dad the Titanic hero: Sid the teenage steward saved lives and leapt into sea, The Mirror, 10 April 2012.
- Mr. Sidney Edward Daniels, Encyclopedia Titanica.
- Sid Daniels in WWI, Daily Sketch, 1915.