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Kent survivors of Titanic disaster

By Ron Green

Eight days after the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg the Gazette was able to reveal that the ill-fated vessel had at least 12 passenger and three crew members from Kent.

Mrs Thorneycroft
Mrs Thorneycroft

Although there was still considerable confusion about who had perished, the paper was able to carry a photograph of Florence Kate Thorneycroft, from Bearsted, and inform readers that she had survived.

Her husband and the village friend who travelled with them were still among the missing and were feared lost.

The Titanic, the largest vessel afloat, was on its way from Southampton to New York on April 15, 1912 when it sank. More than 1,500 of the 3,300 passengers and crew died.

Films and books have kept it as one of the world’s most famous tragedies. But buried at the bottom of the Gazette’s column is the story of a remarkable escape.

Thanet MP Norman Craig was on the Titanic’s passenger list and was feared lost. He had booked the voyage “for the sake of a health-giving outing” and was packed and ready to go.

But 12 hours before the ship set sail the MP changed his mind and stayed in England. It was a decision that almost certainly saved his life.

He said he had no conscious reason for doing so, other than “the present political situation”.

Sources: 23 April 1912, 30 April 1912

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