Their screams ‘sounded like locusts on a midsummer night’: Titanic survivor’s poetic account reveals horror of disaster in diary kept within his family for 70 years
Memoir: John B. ‘Jack’ Thayer III, a 17-year-old heir to a Pennsylvania railroad fortune, was one of the few people who lived to tell the tale of the ‘unsinkable’ ship’s fate
The dramatic first-hand account of a Titanic survivor is to be published this month to mark the centennial of the catastrophe.
John B. ‘Jack’ Thayer III, a 17-year-old heir to a Pennsylvania railroad fortune, was one of the few people who lived to tell the tale of the ‘unsinkable’ ship’s fate.
Of the 2,224 aboard, only 710 people survived the disaster – many escaping in lifeboats before the luxury liner sank – and most were women, including Thayer’s mother.
But the teen was miraculously rescued after he plunged into the icy waters and clung on to an upturned lifeboat, while watching the tragedy unfold before him.
In 1940, Thayer penned his account of what had happened in the early hours of April 15 1912 as a tribute to his father who had tragically gone down with the ship, printing an edition of just 500 copies for family and friends
Now, however, ‘A Survivor’s Tale’ is to be printed by New York publisher Thornwillow Press, bringing alive the doomed liner’s story to those outside his inner circle.
In his vivid account, Thayer recounts his own desperate struggle for survival. ‘About one in every 36 who went down with the ship was saved, and I happened to be one,’ he said, in an extract obtained by the Daily Telegraph.