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Edith Haisman
Edith Brown
General Information
Born Edith Eileen Brown
27 October 1896(1896-10-27)
Cape Town, South Africa
Died 20 January 1997(1997-01-20) (aged 100)
Southampton, England, UK
Family
Spouse Frederick Haisman(m. 1917-1977, 10 children)

Edith Haisman (27 October 1896 – 20 January 1997) was one of the last remaining and oldest survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912. She was the last survivor born in the 19th century, although seven younger survivors outlived her.

Early lifeEdit

Edith Eileen Brown was born on 27 October 1896 in Cape Colony, South Africa (under British rule) to Thomas William Solomon Brown and his wife, Elizabeth Catherine (née Ford). Thomas owned and operated a hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.[1]

Aboard TitanicEdit

Edith was 15 years old when she and her parents boarded the RMS Titanic in Southampton, England as second-class passengers. Edith's father was taking the family to Seattle, Washington where he was going to open a hotel business. Titanic's hold contained tableware, furnishings, and 1,000 rolls of bed linen for the intended hotel.

Edith remembered clearly when RMS Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on 14 April 1912. In a series of interviews in her later years and a biography, A Lifetime on the Titanic, published in 1995, Mrs. Haisman gave a vivid account of the ship's final moments, although some details have been called into question.

Father appeared a few minutes later. He told us, 'You'd better put on your life jackets and something warm, it's cold on deck. It's just a precaution. We've struck an iceberg, it's nothing much. The steward in the corridor says it's nothing to worry about.' We waited for ages on the boat deck for someone to tell us what to do. The ship's band was playing ragtime. They played to keep our spirits up. Everybody kept saying: 'She's unsinkable. She won't go down. Father kissed us and saw us into Lifeboat 14. Up to fifty people got in as it swung perilously over the side. One man jumped into the boat dressed as a woman. As we rowed away from the ship, we could still hear the band playing, but now it was hymns. We were almost six hours in the lifeboat and during that time we had no water and nothing to eat. I kept wondering if my father had got off the ship, that's all I could think of. -1995[1]

Edith's father did not survive the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. Edith's last memory of her father was that he was dressed in an Edwardian dinner jacket while smoking a cigar and sipping brandy on Titanic's deck as Edith and her mother were being lowered in the lifeboat.[1] Upon arrival in New York City, Edith and her mother stayed at the Junior League House before traveling to Seattle, Washington to live with Edith's aunt, Josephine Acton. Edith and her mother soon returned to South Africa where Edith lived with relatives in Cape Town after her mother remarried and moved to Rhodesia.

Marriage and childrenEdit

In May 1917, Edith met Frederick Thankful Haisman and the two were married six weeks later on June 30. Their first child, a son, was born in August 1918, and would be followed by nine more children. Edith and her husband lived in South Africa and Australia before settling in Southampton, England. Frederick died in 1977. She was survived by four sons, two daughters and more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Later lifeEdit

Edith's popularity as an RMS Titanic survivor grew as she aged. In 1993, she took part in a ceremony in Southampton, England where she received a gold watch thought to be her father's which had been recovered from a 1987 expedition of Titanic's wreckage.[1] R.M.S. Titanic, Inc., which at the time held the rights to Titanic wreckage, had the watch attached to a sterling silver plate inscribed with the words, What better use for scientific technology than to reunite a father with his child".[1]

On 15 April 1995, Edith was present with fellow Titanic survivor, Eva Hart, aged 90, at the opening of a memorial garden at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London where a granite monument commemorating the 83rd anniversary of Titanic's sinking was erected. In August 1996, at the age of 99, Edith joined fellow survivors Michel Marcel Navratil and Eleanor Shuman on a cruise to the location of Titanic's wreck where attempts were made to bring a large portion of the ship's hull to the surface. Before leaving the site, Edith threw a rose into the Atlantic Ocean where her father had died 84 years earlier.[2]

DeathEdit

Edith Haisman died on 20 January 1997 in a Southampton nursing home at the age of 100. By her bed in the nursing home stood a photograph of her father in a straw boater, stiff collar and bowtie.[2] She remains one of the longest-lived Titanic survivors. Mary Davies Wilburn holds the record, having died in 1987, at age 104.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marjorie Newell Robb
Oldest living survivor of the RMS Titanic
11 June 1992 – 20 January 1997
Succeeded by
Winnifred van Tongerloo

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