Titanic survivors’ items to go under the hammer

A number of items belonging to Titanic survivors are to be auctioned in east Belfast later this month.

They will go under the hammer close to where the ship was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in 1912.

The White Star Line vessel was one of the most luxurious ever built.

Despite being described as unsinkable, the ship foundered after striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York with the loss of more then 1,500 lives.

The items include a deck blanket and trinket box, both believed to have belonged to Titanic survivor Molly Brown.

An American human rights activist, Mrs Brown went on to assist others by establishing the Survivor’s Committee, raising thousands for those left destitute by the disaster.

Items associated with Ms Brown and fellow survivor Elsie Bowerman will be among the Titanic, White Star Line, Harland & Wolff, Jewellery and Collectors’ Sale later this month.

Karl Bennett, managing director of Bloomfield Auctions, said: “As part of the sale, Molly’s White Star Line embroidered deck chair blanket, which was in her possession when she was travelling on the Titanic, will be going under the hammer, as will an engraved trinket box that was given to Molly by her husband upon her safe return to New York.

“We also have a diamond encrusted Legion of Honour medal that was awarded to Molly by the French for her charitable efforts during World War One.

“Accompanying these items are a host of documents relating to the famous actor Errol Flynn, which also make reference to Molly’s items.”

He added: “We also have a postcard of Elsie Bowerman, who interestingly was on the same lifeboat as Molly, as well as a chequered handkerchief and a deck of Patience playing cards that were owned by her.”

Also being auctioned are a launch stub, reputedly owned by a friend of former Harland & Wolff managing director Thomas Andrews, a razor belonging to Titanic lookout Alfred Evans and a discharge certificate for officer J Boxhall.

“The launch stub is something that would’ve been given to dignitaries,” Mr Bennett said.

“We believe that it was owned by a friend of Thomas Andrews and the stub has faded pencil markings on it.

“Alfred Evans was one of the Titanic’s lookouts who was on duty on the night of the sinking.

“We have a razor that belonged to him with the inscription Oceanic 1911.

“An identical razor, owned by another crewman was presented by surviving steward F Dent Ray to the Titanic Historical Society in Massachusetts.”

Mr Bennett described the items as “remarkable pieces of history”, ideal for a Titanic fan, a maritime collector or a museum.

“This auction will be a fantastic opportunity to own something from one of the most beautiful and famous ships ever built,” he said,

The sale includes other notable nautical items including an original deck chair that was on the Lusitania, a passenger liner that was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915.

The deck chair was recovered at sea after the sinking by John Williams, manager of Ensor’s Marine Salvage Company in Queenstown.(BBC)

•PHOTO: A White Star Line blanket and letters to actor Errol Flynn are among the items being auctioned