The real story of the Titanic was told by a survivor of the disaster through a letter which surfaced after a man bought it at an auction approximately two years ago and asked help via Reddit to translate it from French to English. If it is authentic, the translated letter offers insight in the night when almost 1,500 died when the massive vessel collided with an iceberg and sank. The scenes are vividly depicted by Rose Amelie Icard, a French woman who travelled with Martha Stone, the widow of Canadian telephone company Bell Cie’s president and both the heroic and cowardly gestures are marked.
The real story of the Titanic was told by a survivor of the disaster through a letter written more than 43 years after the vessel sank and surfaced over one century later. The note, written in French and dated August 8, 1955 belongs to Rose Amelie Icard, a French woman who is believed to have been a maid to American passenger Martha Stone, the widow of the president of Canadian telephone company Bell Cie. The duo boarded the Titanic in Southampton and they were travelling first class back to the United States when the tragedy occurred. Both women were saved from the sinking ship in one of the lifeboats and it is thought that the letter was written to a woman linked to the disaster believed to be called Madame Ausein, but the name is not 100 accurate and it does not appear on the list of survivors. Even if it was not authenticated yet, it is believed that Icard wrote the letter about the night the Titanic sank from her home in Grenoble, at the insistence of her family. She died in 1964 and was the longest living French person to have survived the tragic incident.
Details of a Night to Remember
Icard recalled the night of April 15, 1912 when she went to bed towards 11 p.m. She wrote that 45 minutes later, “a terrifying shock threw us out of bed” and, although a passing officer told her that nothing happened, a loud noise pierced her ears and she thought that water was flooding the Titanic. People were fidgeting, so she helped madam Stone get dressed, grabbed her lifebelt and went outside. Since Icard was still in her evening gown, she took a travel blanket and a fur coat which helped her go through the arctic night spent on a lifeboat.
She also recalled going back to the cabin to retrieve the jewelry that belonged to madam Stone, but she chose “the wrong stairwell and returned to the deck halfway there.” Commander Smith was giving orders regarding the necessity to save women and children from the sinking Titanic and rich people did not shy away from saving others. Such an example was billionaire Benjamin Guggenheim who, after helping the officers to save women and children, put “a rose at his [suit’s] buttonhole” and waited to die.
“Two handsome elderly [people], Mr. and Mrs. Straus, proprietors of the great store Macy’s in New York” helped their maid to get on board of a lifeboat, but the wife refused to save herself and leave her husband behind. “We have been married 50 years, we have never left each other, I want to die with you,” Mrs. Straus told her husband while refusing to leave the Titanic.
Icard also noted that a man was hiding at her feet in the lifeboat, but she did not have the strength to expose his presence.
The real story of the Titanic was told by a survivor more than 43 years after the ship sank through a letter and, if it is authentic, it offers new first-hand account of the disaster.
By Gabriela Motroc