Titanic – The Links with Bridlington

Member Chris Gatenby’s first stop was 20 miles offshore from Bridlington, in the company of Herbert Lightoller, the Titanic’s second officer. Chris gave a brief summary of Lightoller’s adventurous early life, including how he survived the sinking of the Titanic.

In the First World War, Lightoller was in command of the Falcon, a convoy escort torpedo boat based at Immingham. A trawler collided with the Falcon off Bridlington and it sank.  The wreck was identified by local divers in 1997.

The Titanic’s Sixth Officer James Moody was born in Scarborough.  James died in the sinking and there are several memorials to him in Scarborough.

Sir Edward Harland, founder of Harland and Wolff who built the Titanic was also born in Scarborough.

Chris then took us to Sledmere House stables to meet a horse called Craganour. Craganour was sold to Bower Ismay, brother of Bruce Ismay, the Chairman of White Star Line.  Bruce had travelled on the fatal voyage, and had got into a lifeboat and been saved.  The code of honour of the time vilified him for this.

Bower entered Craganour into the 1913 Derby.  This is famous as the “Suffragette Derby” when Emily Davison ran onto the racecourse and was killed.  Chris showed a short newsreel film of the Derby.  Craganour won, but an enquiry disqualified him for jostling other horses.  Perhaps the disgraced Ismay name affected the decision.

Finally we arrived at Bridlington where there are two Titanic links.

Wallace Hartley came to Bridlington in 1903 to play in the Bridlington Municipal Orchestra.  Later, Wallace became one of 8 musicians on the Titanic, all of whom perished.  Wallace’s body was recovered but the effects with it did not include his violin.

It emerged the violin had been returned to Wallace’s fiancée Maria Robinson, who had come to live in Bridlington.  After her death it passed through several hands, remaining in Bridlington until in 2006 when it was sent to Aldridge’s, the Titanic specialist auction house.  Years of tests proved the violin was genuine and it was sold in 2016 for £900,000.

The final local link was one which Chris said she did not think members would have heard before.  Mae Boxhall, sister of Joseph Boxhall the Fourth Officer of the Titanic lived in Bridlington, having married Stanley Cranswick, a valuer and auctioneer.

Chris finished her story telling of the sad irony that Stanley died at sea on a cruise celebrating their Golden Wedding, yet fifty years before this Mae had welcomed her brother home from one of the worst maritime disasters the world has ever seen.

The vote of thanks was given by Bro George Parrott who thanked Chris for an interesting talk.