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article image'Titanic & Transport' — Enigmatic treasures on auction

By Anne Sewell     Apr 26, 2014 in Entertainment
Devizes - April 26 marks a very special auction run by Henry Aldridge & Son of Devizes in the UK. Named "Titanic & Transport," enigmatic memorabilia and relics from the famous RMS Titanic are on offer, including a very detailed letter from a survivor.
One of the items on sale is a unique letter written over three pages by a Second Class passenger, Nellie Walcroft, who was a survivor of the experience. She had been traveling with her friend Clear Cameron to the USA under a Second Class joint ticket (No. 13528, which apparently cost £21).
In the letter, addressed to her friend Clara, she describes her horrific ordeal in great detail. The letter was posted from Mamaroneck in New York, USA.
The letter refers to one of the more controversial events which occurred shortly after the Titanic hit the iceberg and gives amazing detail of how "the boat bow officer seeing our danger jumped on the boat, shot the men to keep them from swamping us." She asked Clara to please send the letter on to Alice when she had read it, as she was so tired of writing.
An image showing the letter is included below, and here is the wording, as it appears in the letter:
"My dearest Clara
Just a line or two just to let you know we are quite safe. After our terrible experience one would never have believed when you saw me off on that journey before a week was out what I should have to go through. I am glad to say my cold is the only ill effects so far, so Clara to see that magnificent ship like a floating palace go down in the sea was an awful spectacle. We had 70ft to be let down in the boat & when we were going down the steerage passenger jumped in the boat & our Officer seeing our danger jumped in the boat and shot the men to keep them from swamping us & when nearly to the bottom, the ropes letting the lifeboats down refused to act and they had to cut the rope and we dropped I thought that was my last minute - there was 59 in our boat when we got well away from the ship and after the ship had gone down you should have heard the cries of those poor men and women I could never describe it. It seemed to last about 2 hours that terrible cry of help [After the cries had - is crossed out]. After the ship had gone down we had to change our boats to let our officer go back to the rescue and when we got into the boat there were 4 dead men and a madman I think they pushed him overboard. I never saw him again after rowing for 7 hours we got picked up by the Carpathia we shouted for joy when we saw the ship they took us up with ropes & gave us all neat brandy. There were 710 rescued so that could not put us all up so we slept on tables for 5 days. They were very kind to us indeed in everyway. The suffering was frightful we had 35 women who had lost their husbands on board and one can imagine the agony of these women not knowing if their husbands where [sic] living or dead & how glad we was [sic] to see New York. It was in a fever here we were given some clothes directly we came off there was steamer with 100 coffins waiting for the dead but most that died where [sic] buried at sea. The flashlights took our photo I was so glad to meet Carl and his friend they soon got cab & we were snap shoted [sic] everywhere. There were 70.000 persons roped off in charge of the police they all where [sic] so glad to see us & the world sympathy is ours in New York but I shall never never go on a floating palace again. Write to me soon send me any recipes you have got there.
With much love
Your loving friend Nell."
Letter from a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic to her friend.
Letter from a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic to her friend.
Henry Aldridge & Son
Another item on sale is a rare postcard menu, sent by saloon steward Jacob Gibbon to his girlfriend, Miss L Payne, in Studland Bay, Dorset, UK. Gibbon apparently posted the menu card when the ship docked at Queenstown, Cork in Ireland (now known as Cobh).
The postcard menu gives details of the breakfast offered on the ship on Apr. 11, 1912, three days prior to the sinking of the Titanic.
Gibbon was another lucky survivor of the experience. On the rearside of the menu he had written, "Good voyage up to now," little knowing what was in store for the crew and passengers. Apparently, around 93 percent of the second class male passengers did not survive, so this particular menu is very rare.
Breakfast postcard menu sent by a crewman on the Titanic  on auction on April 26.
Breakfast postcard menu sent by a crewman on the Titanic, on auction on April 26.
Henry Aldridge & Sons
The auctioneer, Andrew Aldridge said that, "Second class menus from Titanic are incredibly rare, just a handful exist and there are just two for April 11." Hence the menu is expected to fetch an amazing $135,000 at the auction.
Breakfast postcard menu sent by a crewman on the Titanic  on auction on April 26.
Breakfast postcard menu sent by a crewman on the Titanic, on auction on April 26.
Henry Aldridge & Sons
There are reportedly around 20 menus from the Titanic in existence, but most are from the first class eatery and are dated April 14, the fateful day. This is due to the fact that a number of the first class passengers had the menus in their pockets as they scrambled for the lifeboats.
If any readers are feeling "flush" today, it is possible to bid online on the Henry Aldridge & Son website.
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