Author Archives: kenrossignol

One of the only photos taken while the Titanic was at sea

This father and son shown on the deck of the Titanic were preserved in this photo by Father Francis Browne who disembarked from the ship in Ireland, thus saving the only photos from the ship while it was at sea.

This father and son shown on the deck of the Titanic were preserved in this photo by Father Francis Browne who disembarked from the ship in Ireland, thus saving the only photos from the ship while it was at sea.

A father and son on the deck of the Titanic

103 years ago on April 15th the ship dove to the bottom of the Atlantic

This is one of but a few actual photos taken while the Titanic was at sea. This and others were taken by Father Francis Browne who had been given a ticket for the voyage between Southampton and Ireland by his uncle, a Catholic Bishop as a graduation present upon completing the seminary. Upon arriving at Ireland, Father Browne wired his uncle and asked permission to continue on to New York. The reply was “get off that ship now”.  The priest had to turn down the offer from some wealthy Americans who were going to pay for him to travel to New York and back and he left the ship at Queenstown, Ireland. He had one other present with him on the trip and it was the camera he used to take this photo. By obeying his uncle, he also preserved for generations to come the only photos taken on board the Titanic while it was at sea. What was the fate of the father and son shown here? They both survived the sinking but within a couple of years both met tragic deaths.

Brand New Kindle Paperwhite or $119 Amazon Gift Card will be given away on April 15th. Pick up a copy of my book, TITANIC 1912 at Amazon. You will be able to learn more about how the newspapers of the day reported the story of the sinking of the great ship, how they got the story right and how they got it wrong. There are plenty of books describing the disaster itself, this one tells the story from the news reports and first interviews with the survivors themselves…along with the astonishing story of how the ship was actually on fire from the time it left Southampton.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY TODAY!

Reading time with a new Kindle Paperwhite

Reading time with a new Kindle Paperwhite

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/06655a7c4/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”06655a7c4″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”54f55af3399e110a15ca9b9a” id=”rcwidget_mksmgfi7″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=”//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js”></script>

Titanic Survivors – Michel Marcel Navratil: the last male survivor was but four when the RMS Titanic went down

With the names of the two young boys unknown to the rescuers or White Star Line, they were simply called "Louis and Lola" and their photo distributed in Europe.

With the names of the two young boys unknown to the rescuers or White Star Line, they were simply called “Louis and Lola” and their photo distributed in Europe.

Titanic Survivors: A TITANIC MOMENT FROM BRUCE M. CAPLAN

Bruce Caplan's book, The Sinking of The Titanic has sold more than 150,000 copies.

Bruce Caplan’s book, The Sinking of The Titanic has sold more than 150,000 copies.

 

When the Titanic sank on the  morning of April 15, 1912, of the over 2,200 passengers, 705 managed to survive in the rickety lifeboats.  Two of the survivors were four year Michel Navratil and his two year old brother Edmond.

The young Titanic passengers did not realize it, but their father Michel Navratil Sr. was illegally transporting them to America to keep them away from their mother who was previously allowed full custody of the children in a pending divorce procedure. The Navratil’s were traveling under the surname of Hoffman.

As the Titanic was going down the children’s father Michel Naratil Sr. made sure that they were secured in a lifeboat.   The father went down with the ship and because of his false Jewish surname of Hoffman, when his body was found , he was buried in the Jewish Titanic Cemetery in Halifax.

The two Navatil children were soon reunited with their mother in France.  Michel Navatil, married in 1933 and eventually became a college philosophy professor.  He lived a long and happy life and in 1987 for the 75th anniversary of the Titanic Tragedy, he returned to America for the ceremonies.  He died on January, 30, 2001, the very last male Titanic survivor. He was 92 years old!

Louis and Lolo, orphans of the Titanic --- or so it was believed until their mother saw the photo.

Louis and Lolo, orphans of the Titanic — or so it was believed until their mother saw the photo.

 

‘Keep Your Mouth Shut; Big Money for You,’ Was Message to Hide News

Harold Bridge, the assistant wireless operator on the Titanic suffered frostbitten feet. He is shown being carried from the Carpathia upon arrival in New York.

Harold Bridge, the assistant wireless operator on the Titanic suffered frostbitten feet. He is shown being carried from the Carpathia upon arrival in New York.

New York Herald, April 21, 1912, page 1:

‘Keep Your Mouth Shut; Big Money for You,’ Was Message to Hide News

Hold Story for ‘Four Figures,’ Marconi Official Also Warned the Carpathia Operator, While Anxious World Waited Details of Disaster.

While the world was waiting three days for information concerning the fate of the Titanic, for part of the time at least, details concerning the disaster were being withheld by the wireless operator of the steamship Carpathia under specific orders from T. W. Sammis, chief engineer of the Marconi Wireless Company of America, who had arranged the sale of the story. This was admitted yesterday by Mr. Sammis, who defended his action. He said he was justified for getting for the wireless operators the largest amount he could for the details of the sinking of the ship, the rescue of the passengers and the other information the world had waited for. The first information concerning the loss of the Titanic came Monday evening, and it was known at that time the survivors were on board the Carpathia. About midnight the first of the list of survivors began to come by wireless, and from that time until Thursday night, when the rescue ship arrived in port, the world waited and waited in vain for the details of how the “unsinkable ship” had gone down. Three messages were sent to the Carpathia telling the operator to send out no news concerning the disaster. Two of these were unsigned, and the last one had the signature of Mr. Sammis.

“Keep Mouth Shut; Big Money.”

The first message was unsigned, and it is said it was sent as a list of names of survivors were being forwarded. It read:– “Keep your mouth shut. Hold story. Big money for you.” The messages from the Carpathia to the Marconi office concerning this matter were not available, but there was evidently some communication, for the second unsigned message followed after an interval. This message read:– “If you are wise, hold story. The Marconi company will take care of you.” The third and last message was addressed to “Marconi officer, the Carpathia and the Titanic,” and signed “S. M. Sammis,” chief engineer of the Marconi Company of America. This one read:– “Stop. Say nothing. Hold your story for dollars in four figures. Mr. Marconi agreeing. Will meet you at dock.” Mr. Sammis was at the Waldorf-Astoria yesterday at the hearing before the sub-committee of the United States Senate, and he was asked about the message.

Mr. Sammis Resents Criticism.

“It is reported,” he was told, “that a message was sent by you to the wireless operator on the Carpathia to which you gave the orders or at least said to him not to give out any details of the sinking of the Titanic, as you had arranged for four figures.” “Well?” he said is a defiant way. “Did you send such a message?” “Maybe. What of it?” he replied. “It would be interesting to know if you actually sent such a message.” “Yes, I sent the message, but whose business is it?” Mr. Sammis asked with some heat. “Perhaps it was no one’s business,” he was told, “but it is interesting to know that when the world was horror stricken over the disaster and waiting for the news, that there were persons preparing to capitalize the suspense and had arranged for ‘four figures.’ ” “Do you blame me for this,” retorted Mr. Sammis, as he backed up against the wall. “Do you blame me for getting the highest price I could for the operator for the story he had to tell about the collision and the rescue. I thought I was doing a good turn for him, and I can’t see how it is the business of anyone.” It is not unlikely that the sending of these messages with the apparent result that no details of the disaster came from the relief ship will form part of the inquiry that is being made by a sub-committee of the Senate. Part of this inquiry has been directed as to why a message from President Taft asking for information about Major Archibald W. Butt was unanswered, and it is not unlikely that in view of the message from Mr. Sammis that this will be taken up again.

Navy Likely to Have Records.

While these messages were intercepted by more than one wireless receiving station, there is one place where the Senate Committee could undoubtedly get copies of them. The New York Navy Yard has a powerful receiving station, and has what is known as an “intercepted message” book. These messages are considered confidential and are never given out, but the book would undoubtedly be at the disposal of the investigating committee. Senator Smith said yesterday that the authorities in Washington knew on Thursday long before the Carpathia arrived, that the White Star line was contemplating the return of part of the Titanic crew to England by the steamship Cedric, and this information undoubtedly came from a government station. John W. Griggs, one time Attorney General of the United States and Governor of New Jersey, is president of the Marconi Wireless Company of America. He said last night he had not heard that the chief engineer of the company was marketing the information of the disaster. “This is a matter which will be looked into,” he said. “I know nothing about it, had not heard of it before, and, of course, cannot say what will be done until it is brought to my attention in an official way.”

John Jacob Astor’s watch was being peddled to Titanic II partiers; was it a hoax like the violin?

John Jacob Astor and his teenage bride in New York prior to their fateful voyage.

John Jacob Astor and his teenage bride in New York prior to their fateful voyage.

Another Titanic Hoax?
From the Gothamist

Convicted mother looter Anthony Marshall is still appealing his one-to-three year prison sentence. And in the meantime? He’s reportedly busy hawking family heirlooms of questionable provenance at parties for the greatest cruise ship of our time, the Titanic II. Brooke would not be amused!

It seems that Marshall and his wife Charlene attended a gala for the we-still-can’t-believe-this-is-really-happening Titanic II cruise ship last month and while there showed off some of the family jewels. Charlene reportedly wore some of Brooke’s baubles and Marshall, 88, was apparently flashing a watch he claims that John Jacob Astor IV wore when he died on the original Titanic in 1912. Only problem? Somebody else owns that particular watch! And he didn’t loan it to Tony.

John Miottel, “a real-estate magnate who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia,” says he bought the watch in 1997 and has all the documentation to prove it. “The watch was purchased in 1907 and carried by Mr. Astor, and we have an affidavit on its history. When the ship went down, Astor went into the water and two weeks later, they recovered his body and the personal effects were taken off the victims and put in canvas bags,” Miottel told the Post before showing documents confirming he bought the watch, which had previously left the Astor family, from Brunk Auctions in Asheville, NC.

Charlene Marshall, for her part, told the Post that Miottel is wrong and that the watch her hubby has is the real deal. And the story could end there, with a couple of old cons thinking they’ve got something they don’t. Except, according to reports Charlene and Anthony are said to be looking to sell the watch (as the real deal) for $1 million—which it certainly isn’t worth. Still, there is a way to make that watch really valuable! Just have it sink with the obviously doomed Titanic II and then fish it back up again.  …..MORE

A boatload of facts: Titanic lecture and dinner draws a packed house

Ken Rossignol at the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, Penn.

Ken Rossignol at the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, Penn.

Pike County Courier

MILFORD — The story and history about the Titanic tragedy hooked Ken Rossignol as a young boy. Now, decades later, he travels around the world presenting lectures, facts, copies of original newspaper headlines and articles about the iconic ship — one such lecture took place in Milford’s Hotel Fauchere on April 27.

“I first got interested in Titanic at the age 12, when I read Walter Lord’s book ‘A Night to Remember,'” said Rossignol. “To me it was the best book, because he interviewed 50 or 60 survivors who were still alive at the time in the 50s when he wrote his book. The authenticity of this book comes through, because these were the people who were there, they knew what happened, and by that time, almost 50 years later, you could separate the embellishment from the real to a degree.”

The movie

Not only was the history interesting to Rossignol, but so was the movie “Titanic” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. “It was also, to me, the best movie too,” Rossignol said. “I was always fascinated by the Titanic, always felt, ‘What if that were me, what would I do?’ Would you jump into a life boat, would you help somebody else in?” he said. Rossignol also liked the love story that the blockbuster movie depicted.

“Their story personifies the stories of dozens of people on that ship,” Rossignol said. “It was a typical, believable human experience. People met, fell in love, and were separated by the disaster. And the important thing is, it’s got a whole new generation interested in not only Titanic, but history itself. That is reading, they are using their computers to find out about it.”

Unknown facts

The lecture and slide show — sponsored by the Milford Historical Society and Fauchere — was presented to a packed room in Emerson House followed by a dinner in the Delmonico Room at the Hotel, with a menu using “original recipes from the ship’s various dining salons and its a la carte offerings in the ships ‘The Ritz’ restaurant.”

Photos by Anya Tikka First Class Passenger Ticket for the Titanic, using exactly the language that was used. It advises you, your baggage is insured, not you. The menu at Delmonico Room, with dishes using recipes from the Titanic dining rooms.

Photos by Anya Tikka First Class Passenger Ticket for the Titanic, using exactly the language that was used. It advises you, your baggage is insured, not you. The menu at Delmonico Room, with dishes using recipes from the Titanic dining rooms.

Rossignol became so fascinated by the largely untold story of what really happened on the fated Titanic’s maiden voyage, that he wrote “Titanic 1912.” The book came out in time for the ship’s centenary year in 2012.

In his presentation, Rossignol discussed many fascinating and unknown facts. For example, the captain had received five to six messages about icebergs ahead, and apparently, did nothing, even though there were lots of things he could have done. There was a fire burning in the bowels of the ship — almost from the start, but again starting exactly when, is unclear. Is it common to have fire in the bowels of a ship? Rossignol asked experts about this, and got a resounding “no.”

The Hotel Fauchere at 401 Broad Street in Milford, Pennsylvania was founded as a summer hotel in 1852, with its restuarant under the management of Louis Fauchere, who was the master chef of Delmonico's in New York City. It is located within the Milford Historic District.

The Hotel Fauchere at 401 Broad Street in Milford, Pennsylvania was founded as a summer hotel in 1852, with its restuarant under the management of Louis Fauchere, who was the master chef of Delmonico’s in New York City. It is located within the Milford Historic District.

He added that post 9/11 world understands the risk of overheated metal — it was weakened when the iceberg hit, and possibly contributed to the ship’s demise. Among other, better known facts are, Titanic didn’t have enough life boats for everyone. Some officers “fell” into one life boat all together, while passengers fought to get in.

The “unsinkable” boat sank rapidly and the wireless operator’s efforts with SOS signals saved many from drowning. The first newspaper reports had headlines declaring “All were saved” as about 250 bodies were taken to Halifax. As a result of the disaster, all boats were required to carry enough life boats.

Lou Bataille from Milford who came to the presentation with his wife Barbara commented, “I thought it was wonderful, and very informative. He’s a very good speaker. We had heard stories and seen movies, but some of what he told us was very interesting, like the coal fire, and the log books.”

Dick Snyder, one of the owners of Fauchere Hotel and Restaurant agreed. “I thought it was very interesting. It fulfilled my expectations,” Snyder said. “It gave a lot of specifics I wasn’t aware of before, and it was presented in a very interesting way.”

For more information on Rossignol visit
titanicspeakersbureau.com

Believe It Or Not?

By Bruce M. Caplan

When the Titanic sank on the morning of the 15h of April 1912, there were many amazing descriptions of how people survived.  One of the most incredible came from the chief baker Charles Joughin. He was born in 1878 and died in 1956.  According to his account, he had consumed a huge amount of alcohol after the ship collided with the berg.

When the Titanic finally sank he managed to swim over to an overturned lifeboat and hold a hand of one of the crew. He insisted that his entire body was in the below freezing water for over two hours, but the liquor consumption saved his life.

In the 1958 motion picture “A Night to Remember”, as the ship is sinking there’s several images of Joughin, in his cabin as he continues to drink to shelter himself from the trauma he’s experiencing.

Scientifically his story does not make sense!  Alcohol would actually expedite the freezing process rather than ameliorate it.  Most people today, believe that Charles Joughin was so inebriated that he truly believed that he had been in the 28 degree lethal ocean for over two hours.

Here’s the kicker—-“Believe it or Not”, he went on to marry a woman by the name of Nellie Ripley!

After Titanic

The band played on ...when thoughts turned to the hereafter - The Richmond Times Dispatch

The band played on …when thoughts turned to the hereafter – The Richmond Times Dispatch

A Titanic minute by Bruce M. Caplan

The Titanic slammed an iceberg on the North Atlantic at 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912.  Two hours and forty minutes later the great ship sank, carrying over 1500 souls to their demise.

One of the people to perish was a theatrical impresario by the name of Henry Birkhardt Harris.  At the time he died he represented many of the stars on Broadway. Everyone assumed that Harris was a millionaire.

His wife Irene (Rene) Harris survived the Titanic.  She soon discovered that her late spouse was dead broke!  He left her with no assets.

Rene, was not a person to sit around and mope, and she became an actors agent too.  One of her clients was a very young Barbara Stanwyck.  In 1953, Barbara Stanwyck had a leading role in the movie Titanic, along with Clifton Webb.

This movie was the catalyst for Walter Lord to write his great narrative “A Night to Remember” and also for the creation of the “Titanic Historical Society.”