Albert Caldwell’s account, written in April 1967
It was 55 years ago this April that the Titanic made her first and last voyage. She left Southampton, England, for New York and went down in the mid-Atlantic after being in collision with an iceberg. Danger was the last thing in the minds of those on board, for they were on the largest, finest and safest ship in the world. Watertight bulkheads or compartments, 15 in all, rendered the boat absolutely secure, so they were told. ‘Here is a boat,’ the builders said, ‘that God Almighty cannot sink.’ So confident were they that provision, in the way of life boats, was made for only one-third of the crew and passenger capacity.
“I was returning from Siam where I had been teaching in a boys’ school in Bangkok. My wife and baby boy were with me. As our vessel entered the harbor at Naples, I saw a ship which was flying the American flag on the foremast. This was a signal that she was sailing for the United States that day. A sailor told me that she was the Carpathia of the Cunard Line. She did sail that day and was on her way back to Europe when she picked up the survivors of the Titanic disaster. Also in Naples, we first heard of the Titanic. A poster on the wall of our hotel advertised the sailing of the new White Star liner the Titanic, on her maiden voyage from England on April the 10th. As this was the approximate date we had planned to sail, we decided, then and there, to make a reservation for this sailing, but we were unable to do so.
“Upon reaching London, I went immediately to the White Star office and was told that there were no reservations remaining. A clerk told me that, if I would remain in the office that day, there might be a cancellation and he would hold the reservation for me. I did this, and later that day I had the tickets in my hand. On the morning of April the 10th, we boarded the steamer train for Southampton, which is the port of London.
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