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#OnThisDay: April 15, 1912 – SOS, The Dogs of The Titanic

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Photograph from Titanic Historical Society

 

April 15, 1912 – That famous luxury liner hit that damn iceberg 106 years ago, spawning: Atlantik (1929), a British early talking film starring Madeleine Carroll; a 1943 German propaganda film titled Titanic (1943), commissioned by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to show how British and American capitalism was responsible for the disaster; one sober and sad film, Titanic (1953) starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck; the historically honest and compelling A Night To Remember (1958); and, for me, and seemingly me alone, the nearly intolerable, but extremely popular award winning film in 1997. Plus, a Broadway musical from the same year that admonished: ”In every age mankind attempts / to fabricate great works at once / magnificent and impossible”.

On every anniversary, the International Ice Patrol, founded in response to the sinking, drops a memorial wreath on The Titanic’s last reported position. The world will just will not stop remembering.

Ned Parfett, the young newspaper seller who appeared in one of the most famous pictures related to The Titanic, lost his life just six and a half years later at 22-years-old, while serving in France during WW I.

Photo from Titanic Historical Society

There were 12 canines on the doomed ocean liner, three survived. One of the survivors was Lady, a Pomeranian. Lady’s owner was Margaret Hays of NYC, who wrapped her in a blanket and carried her on to a lifeboat.

Also living to enjoy another biscuit: Sun Yat-Sen, a Pekingese belonging to Henry and Myra Harper of Harper & Row Publishers, and another Pomeranian, belonging to a Rothschild.

The nine dogs confined to the on-board kennel, walked, fed and cared for by the crew, all died. A pair of dogs belonged to American coal magnate William Carter, who reassured his worried children that their pets were safe as they clambered into their lifeboats, also perished. His daughter Lucy Carter was later compensated $100 by Lloyds Of London for her King Charles Spaniel, while her brother received $200 in insurance money for his Airedale.

The other dogs that drowned in the icy waters included a pair of Airedales owned by John Jacob Astor IV, a Fox Terrier named Dog, a Poodle belonging to Helen Bishop, and Gamin De Pycombe, a French Bulldog.

The Astors with their dog, Dog

The Titanic’s Captain John Smith with his Russian Wolfhound, Ben

There was a Great Dane owned by Ann Elizabeth Isham, who visited her dog at the ship’s kennel daily. When she was evacuating, she begged to take him also. When she was told the dog was too large, she refused to leave without him and got out of the lifeboat. They were found floating days later, Isham still clutching her beloved large canine.

The crew of working vessels usually had at least one cat on board each ship to help deal with the rat population. There was a cat with young kittens aboard The Titanic, but when the ship arrived in Southampton from Belfast, she was seen disembarking the ship. Up and down the gangplank she went, retrieving one kitten at a time and then depositing them on the dock. She and the kittens quickly disappeared. It has been supposed that the mother feline had a premonition that the voyage wasn’t going to be a smooth sailing.


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