Lost Titanic tale resurfaces - to be published next month ahead of the 100th anniversary

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    Mar 18, 2012 11:52 PM GMT
    http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/lost_titanic_tale_resurfaces_5SBo8yA2JgdGyklvkt1EAN

    A survivor’s account of the sinking of the Titanic has been rediscovered after having been lost for decades and will be published next month ahead of the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

    John B. “Jack” Thayer, who boarded the ship at age 17 with his parents, printed his recollections of the catastrophe as a family record in 1940 and made just 500 copies.

    The tome was recently unearthed by Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review, who recalled a family tie he had to the Titanic after Luke Pontifell, who runs handmade-book publisher Thornwillow Press, said he wished he could track down documents from the ship.

    “Suddenly, I half-remembered that a distant cousin of mine had written an eyewitness account and had given my great-grandfather a copy,” Stein said. “My mother found the book in my grandfather’s library when he died.”

    In the pages, Thayer recalls boarding in Southampton as a first-class passenger. As the ship sank 800 miles off New York on April 14, 1912, he was separated from his parents but assumed they had made it into a lifeboat. He describes how he jumped: “The shock of the water took the breath out of my lungs. Down and down I went, spinning in all directions.”

    Thayer clung to an overturned lifeboat as he watched the Titanic go down. “Suddenly the whole superstructure . . . appeared to split . . . and blow and buckle upwards,” he wrote.

    “We could see groups of the almost 1,500 people still aboard, clinging in clusters of bunches like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great after-part of the ship, 250 feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a 65- or 70-degree angle.”

    Thayer was rescued by a lifeboat. His mother survived, but his father perished.

    Thornwillow is hosting a dinner April 4 at the St. Regis Hotel, where it has a library. The hotel was built by John Jacob Astor, who died on the Titanic. The imprint is making 5,000 copies of the book with a foreword by Stein

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    Did some additional research and found these links. To me, interested in how survivors of a disaster lived their lives. He had two sons in the service in WWII. According to the story, the death of one led to his depression and breakdown, leading to a suicide in 1945.

    http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/john-borland-thayer-jr.html Contains links to newspaper articles from 1912-1977

    http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/john-b-quotjackquot-thayer-iiiobituary.html
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    Mar 19, 2012 1:56 AM GMT
    Cool!
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    Mar 19, 2012 4:15 AM GMT
    FagneticSpermeability saidI decided to quickly Google John B. Thayer and learned that he committed suicide in 1945!

    I am shocked to learn that someone would take his own life after witnessing something so awful like a massive catastrophe where over 1,000 people died. And not only that but being able to luckily survive that catastrophe through luck, a higher force or whatever. I simply would have thought that this type of experience would make a person appreciate life and not ever take it for granted. But apparently the death of his own son while serving in the military was the possible reason for his own nervous breakdown and the eventual taking of his own life.

    How sad. icon_sad.gif

    From what I read, it appeared the experience still haunted him. The other comment I'd make is pretty trivial, but has always made an impression on me. The first link after the article in the OP shows him at age 17. Looks like many of the guys on RJ. Even if he had not killed himself in 1945, his time would be over by now. Reminded me of the intro to Dead Poets' Society where Robin Williams had the class look at the photo of guys decades before. Said how vibrant and full of life they looked, but were now fertilizing daises. Or the intro to Chariots of Fire, at the funeral of one of the guys, before the flashback went to the Olympics in the 1920s. Makes you realize whatever age we are, we're all on the same progression, just at different points in time.
  • BIG_N_TALL

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    Mar 19, 2012 6:39 AM GMT
    This is super interesting!



    FagneticSpermeability saidI decided to quickly Google John B. Thayer and learned that he committed suicide in 1945!

    I am shocked to learn that someone would take his own life after witnessing something so awful like a massive catastrophe where over 1,000 people died. And not only that but being able to luckily survive that catastrophe through luck, a higher force or whatever. I simply would have thought that this type of experience would make a person appreciate life and not ever take it for granted. But apparently the death of his own son while serving in the military was the possible reason for his own nervous breakdown and the eventual taking of his own life.

    How sad. icon_sad.gif


    Thayer wasn't the only person I know of who survived the Titanic disaster to commit suicide after the fact. I know of a man -- I can't remember his name off the top of my head -- who survived the disaster and ended up committing suicide in the early 1930s after having struggled with alcoholism. I don't think Thayer was the only person who was unable to move on.
  • BIG_N_TALL

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    Mar 19, 2012 7:03 AM GMT
    FagneticSpermeability saidInteresting, maybe there's a strong component of survivor's guilt to those that did survive and eventually took their own lives?



    It's probably a multitude of things, but I suspect PTSD and 'survivor's guilt' were big issues for those who survived. If I am not mistaken, the guy I was referring to earlier lost his entire family, and he was only a teenager when the ship sank. For some reason, my mind is wanting to say he was either a banker or an architect later on in life.

    Millvina Dean was the last person alive to survive the sinking up until a few years ago before she pasted away, but she was a baby when the Titanic sank, and her father died in the incident while her brother and mother survived, along with herself. She did interviews for a few documentaries before she died, and she did say that her mother had a fundamental change in personality after the sinking.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millvina_Dean
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    Mar 21, 2012 6:41 PM GMT
    Very interesting additions, guys.

    Published today:
    Unseen Titanic: New images of wreck reveal entire ship for first time

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/21/unseen-titanic-new-images-wreck-reveal-entire-ship-for-first-time/
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    Mar 27, 2012 1:41 AM GMT
    Another link:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-27/titanic-100-year-anniversary/53792376/1?loc=interstitialskip
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    Mar 27, 2012 1:55 AM GMT
    Yes I have read a lot about Titanic since the late 70s. 25 years ago I went to a Titanic convention in Wilmington DE where I saw an actual survivor who was treated like royalty (ugh! I dont recall her name). Anyways, at the time I started reading about Titanic, I was about the same age as young Jack so I read as much as I could about him. Another interesting fact is the he smartly propelled himself outward from the ship when jumping to avoid being sucked into the portholes or decks that were creating a suction vacuum with the force of the water. His friend, Milton Long, who jumped at the same exact time as Jack, did not and perished. Jack, I recall reading 25 years ago this April (75th anniversary), was one of the very few interestingly who reported the ship broke in half giving eyewitness accounts back in April 1912 - an artist even sketched his recollections. And in 1985 he was proven correct when the remains were first found on Sept 1st.

    Another interesting part of the Thayer suicide, not only did he lose his son in WW2 but about a year ago his mother (who survived Titanic) too: Mr. Thayer's mother, Mrs. Marian Longstreth Morris Thayer, died at her Haverford home April 14, 1944, which was the 32nd anniversary of her husband's death on the liner Titanic, which sank after striking an iceberg in the Atlantic.

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    Mar 27, 2012 2:17 AM GMT
    And another true tale from the Titanic:

    Dr. Ernest Moraweck of Louisville was a passenger on the Titanic. His name appears on the second class passenger list and he has written that he would reach New York on his way home from Europe soon after April 15. He is not given in the list of survivors, so it is believed he has perished.

    If Dr. Moraweck has lost his life in this fearful disaster his fate may be ascirbed to the inheritance of a villa in Germany under unusual circumstances.

    Dr. Moraweck is a man of about fifty. he has lived in Louisville thiry years and was for a long time an ear and throat specialist. A few years ago he bought a farm in Meade County, Kentucky, and spent much of his time there.

    Dr. Moraweck traveled a great deal and made several trips abroad. In the Fall of 1909 he was returning from Europe and on a steamship met Frau Magdalena Hasse, a wealthy widow of Freiburg, Germany.

    Friendship sprang up between Dr. Moraweck and Frau Hasse, who was a woman about sixty years of age.

    Arriving in America Frau Hasse went to visit relatives in Florida, this being the subject of her coming over, but in a short time she went on a trip through the South. Dr. Moraweck was her medical attendant.

    In April, 1910, Frau Hasse went to visit Dr. Moraweck's farm near Brandenburg, Ky. There she became ill and died.

    Dr. Moraweck found among her effects her will with a codicil in which she gave directions that Dr. Moraweck should have her body cremated and the ashes sent to her family in Germany to be deposited with the remains of her first husband. As a return for his many kindnesses to her she left to Dr. Moraweck her villa near Freiburg. This villa was worth about $30,000.

    Dr. Moraweck carried out the instructions. He had the body cremated in Indianapolis and took the ashes to Germany, where he turned them over to the family. He returned from his trip to see about the villa on the Titanic. [Louisville, Ky.,--April 17]