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James Cameron’s Titanic Turns 25 – Engaging Stories Of Titanic Survivors

data icon 12.12.2022
Treemily Titanic

The century-old Titanic story to this day captivates people all across the world. The magnitude and tragedy of the event already make it go down in history as of the major catastrophes of the 20th century, without a doubt. But at the same time, what also helped solidify the story in the minds of millions was the ground-breaking Titanic movie by James Cameron. In this article, we commemorate the film’s fast approaching 25th anniversary by shedding some light on the fascinating real-life stories of people who were fortunate enough to survive that fateful night.

James Cameron’s Titanic Marks Its 25th anniversary

The Titanic movie needs hardly any introduction. Released on December 19, 1997, Titanic portrays the events of the RMS Titanic crash on April 14-15, 1912, 110 years ago. Based on reports of the sinking, it combines real and fictional elements. Cameron was inspired to make the movie by his obsession with shipwrecks. He also believed that in order to communicate the emotional impact of the accident, a love story intermingled with human loss would be necessary. That’s exactly why Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet famously play members of various social strata who fall in love aboard the ship during her tragic maiden voyage.

The Titanic movie garnered a great deal of praise after its release – It shared the record with All About Eve (1950) for the most Oscar nominations with 14, and it tied Ben-Hur (1959) for the most Oscar wins with 11, including those for Best Picture and Best Director. For its 20th anniversary, the movie was re-released in 2017, it was also then chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Tragic Cold Night Of April 14th, 1912…

The Titanic’s fatal night of April 14, 1912, is etched in our memories a century after it fell into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, having collided with an iceberg. More than 1,500 people lost their lives, including a shocking 80% of Titanic’s male passengers and all 25 heroic Engineering Officers keep the ship afloat for as long as possible against all odds. But what about the individuals who were fortunate enough to board lifeboats and then travel to safety on board of the Carpathia? Let’s delve into some of the most famous stories Titanic survivors had to tell and see if there are still any Titanic survivors alive.

The List Of Titanic Survivors

An Infant Who Survived Titanic

At just one year old, Barbara West Dainton was the eighth-youngest passenger on the Titanic. She wasn’t the youngest Titanic survivor (keep reading to see who it was), but her story is as heartbreaking as any.

She was born in Bournemouth, England, in 1911, to Edwy Arthur West and Ada Mary West and although she was too young to have experienced the RMS Titanic’s sinking firsthand, she had to deal with the consequences for the rest of her life. Barbara’s family woke up when terrified travelers started making a racket outside their door. The family was eventually made aware of the situation by a steward, who also advised them to dress as warmly as possible and vacate the ship. Later, the ship crew had lowered Barbara, her mother Ada, and her older sister into the water as they watched the patriarch of the family, Edwy, stay behind and bid a final farewell, fully cognizant of what his future held.

Just a few months after the Titanic disaster, Ada would give birth to another daughter, whom she would name Edwyna West after her deceased husband.

Attempt To Survive As A Family

With 4 out of 5 males falling victim to the crash, a lot of families on the ship were torn apart by the tragedy. Such was also the fate of the Collyer family were, quite typically for that night, only the young mother and daughter survived.

Charlotte Collyer, who was battling tuberculosis, and her husband Harvey Collyer, together with their daughter Majorie Collyer, boarded the RMS Titanic in the hopes that relocating to a warmer environment would help Charlotte recover. The Collyers had liquidated all of their properties and withdrawn all of their money, which together amounted to around $5,000, to make the voyage happen.

When the crash occurred, Marjorie Collyer had already gone to bed, but her parents were still up and talking about their trip. They didn’t realize the severity of the situation until they heard the frenzied running and yelling outside their cabin door. When the family reached the top level, one of the first things they noticed was a stoker who had his finger sliced clean off – it was then evident that the ship was going to sink.

Due to the “women and children go first” policy, Harvey wasn’t let onto Lifeboat 15, where the rest of his family were supposed to be placed. Charlotte resisted leaving her husband almost until the final living moments of the Titanic, and only boarded the lifeboat when her daughter was forcefully thrown there. Harvey would not survive the crash.

Anyone Still Alive From The Titanic Survivors

As of 2022, there are no Titanic survivors alive. The youngest and last Titanic survivor, Millvina Dean, died of pneumonia at the age of 97 on May 31st, 2009.

When her family made the decision to relocate from England to Kansas in the United States to operate a tobacco shop, Dean was only two months old. Despite wanting to join another ship, her family was forced to board the Titanic because of the ongoing coal strikes.

Her father had been awakened by the rumbling brought on by the collision with the fatal iceberg. He quickly told his wife and kids to get dressed because he was weary of what awaited ahead and thanks to that, the family managed to evacuate with relative ease. However, the father, as many men did, stayed behind only to perish. Dean was too little to recall the incidents that took place, but she did recall the tales her mother used to tell.

In a generous act, James Cameron, Kate Winslet, and Leonardo DiCaprio covered her retirement home expenses a month before she passed away.

What Famous People Were Among The Survivors

One of the richest men in the world, a leading fashion designer, and a well-known British countess were among the survivors of the Titanic.

Perhaps, the most famous story of a famous person surviving is that of Margaret Brown. A  socialite and philanthropist, Brown was known for her dramatic hat taste and commitment to the rights of women and children.

Her bravery that horrible night gained her the moniker “the Unsinkable Molly Brown”, as she reportedly played a vital role in rowing the lifeboat to safety as well as advocating for the lifeboat to come back to the crash site to get more survivors.

Brown’s life was eventually immortalized by the Broadway musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” which was also later made into a Hollywood movie.

Titanic Crew That Survived

Only 24% of the Titanic crew survived the crash, as many of them sacrificed their lives to save as many people as possible.

One of the most notable surviving crew members was Violet Jessop, RMS Titanic’s stewardess. Interestingly enough, before the Titanic crash, she had already survived one close call at sea. She had been on board the RMS Olympic when it crashed with the HMS Hawke, a British warship, less than a year ago, ripping a huge hole in the side of the luxury liner.

Almost a disaster veteran by that point, Violet was told to go to the top deck in order to assist passengers who didn’t understand English as the ship went down. She filled the lifeboats and demonstrated calm, orderly conduct, according to her memoirs, until she was eventually ordered to board Lifeboat 16.

Nicknamed “Miss Unsinkable”, Jessop ended her seafaring career in 1950. Aged 83, she passed away in 1971.


We will always remember those who tragically lost their lives on April 14-15, 1912. Just like we will always remember the survivors of the Titanic who lived to tell the younger generations many tales of courage and self-sacrifice displayed by the perished men and women.

In many ways thanks to James Cameron’s efforts and his Titanic movie, even today, more and more people are looking into the crash’s history, its key figures, and its consequences. And, hopefully, this article will be that one more thing to pass the valuable knowledge ahead, so that the memory of the crash lives on.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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