Titanic Survivor Stories: Who Survived The Titanic And What Happened To Them?

By | February 2, 2021

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Michel Marcel Navratil, and his younger brother, Edmond Roger. Taken in April 1912 to publish in newspapers in order to assist in their identification. (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons)

Less than one-third of the passengers on the R.M.S. Titanic survived the sinking of the Ship of Dreams. Every one of the passengers who were picked up by the R.M.S. Carpathia was grateful to be alive, and each of the Titanic survivors' stories are enthralling, if (in some cases) grisly. Everyone's heard of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, but do you know about ...

The Titanic Orphans

More so than any other survivors of the Titanic, Michel Marcel Navratil, Jr. and his brother, Edmond, whipped up a media frenzy following the horrible events of April 15, 1912. The two young boys spoke nothing but French and had no family present in their lifeboat. After a woman who spoke French took them to New York City, the boys became a national sensation. But who were they?

Registered under false names, the Titanic orphans had been kidnapped by their father, with plans to bring them to America for a fresh start. As the Titanic sank, their mother frantically searched for them in Nice, France. Finally, she recognized them in the media and traveled to the Big Apple to take them back to France, where they lived out the rest of their days. Edmond went on to become an architect and passed away following World War II, while Michel lived until 2001, which made him the oldest male survivor of the Titanic disaster.

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Titanic officers Charles Lightoller (left) and Herbert Pitman after the sinking. (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons)

Charles Lightoller

Charles Lightoller, a British naval officer working as the second officer onboard the Titanic, should have been dead after he went down with the ship. After ushering as many women and children into the lifeboats as he could, Lightoller attempted to swim away from the Titanic as it plunged into Atlantic, but the sinking ship created a vacuum in the ocean that dragged Lightoller underwater. Minutes away from drowning, a boiler exploded beneath the waves and "blew [him] right" out of the water. It's a good thing, too: On May 31, 1940, the Royal Navy sent the then-66-year-old officer to Dunkirk to rescue stranded members of the Allied Forces. He returned home with 130 men shoved onto his small boat.