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Find My Past: The Titanic – 27th October 2011

Published on 31 Oct 2011 12:30 : find my past tv : 3 comments : 2901 views

Almost 100 years ago The Titanic set sail from Southampton to New York filled with passengers looking for a new life in America and holiday makers ready for a luxury cruise. The ship was the most luxurious ship ever to be built and public confidence of the ‘almost unsinkable ship' to set sail was split into three passenger categories: First class, Second class, Third class and the ship's crew . All were excited to leave the UK port, encouraged by the excitement that the ship had state of the art communications and was an engineering classic for it's time. Little did any of them on board know that they would be part of the most infamous maritime disaster.

The episode took three members of the public: Ben Chivers, Tim Rickard and Jessica Wilson on an emotional journey of how their ancestors were linked in the sinking of the ship.

Ben's paternal Great great Auntie Nellie Wallcroft was a second class passenger on board. Trained as a chef, Nellie was looking for a new life in New York, which Ben read on the passenger list of the Titanic. Nellie was one of the few who was able to board a lifeboat on the ship that collaborated with other lifeboats for one of them, number 14 to return to the wreckage and attempt to rescue more passengers stricken in the water.

Tim's ancestry is littered with maritime connections, but it was his Great Uncle Harold Phillimore who was part of the crew of The Titanic, Tim learnt more about in the show. Harold was the son of Henry Phillimore and both men worked for the White Star Line shipping company, the makers of the luxury liner. Henry's crew mate Joseph Scarrett was one of the men who returned on lifeboat 14, which rescued Henry Phillimore after finding him floating on a piece of staircase in the freezing water.

Jessica's great grandfather was Harold Bride a 22 year old wireless operator on board. He and his fellow operator were the only two on board, who signaled tirelessly on the new wireless communication to raise the alarm that The Titanic was in distress. Jessica discovered how her Great Grandfather worked until water was above his knees, and fell into the icy water with a foldable lifeboat. He was rescued and gave a personal account of what he saw and how he felt on that fateful night in April 1912.

All three read personal accounts written by their ancestors or others involved in the disaster, and were taken on an emotional journey where they shared the fear, courage and tenacity their ancestors showed almost 100 years ago. Survival rates from the ship were slim, with 1500+ people losing their life that night. The tragedy of The Titanic was not in vain, as new regulations were introduced for all vessels: enough lifeboats to rescue every passenger, wireless communication has to be monitored 24hrs a day and iceberg warnings for every boat were set up.

Find My Past - It's on every Thursday at 9pm on the YeSTERDAY channel - 12 on freeview, 537 on Sky and 203 on Virgin. You can also see it here too -



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by Patricia on 5 Dec 2011 19:02 :
My Uncle Frank Prentice was also a member of the crew, and survived.
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by stephen on 13 Dec 2011 23:07 :
my great grandfather was a stoker on board and i think was probably one of the first to perish his name was william j e abrams :-(
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by Lilian on 17 Mar 2012 13:32 :
Father Thomas Byles, was the parish priest of St. Helen's, Ongar, Essex.
He was on the Titanic as he was to take the marriage service of a brother.
He stayed on the ship to pray with the passengers and lead in the singing of hymns. We have a memorial window to Father Thomas Byles.