Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Titanic: Andrews persuaded Mary to board lifeboat

Jack Thayer, Titanic survivor
The Thermos flask used to feed Titanic survivor baby, Barbara Dainton-West
Harland & Wolff drawing room. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Mary Sloan, who was born here in 1884 and living in Kerrsland Terrace, Belfast in 1912, was one of the 20 stewardesses on board the Titanic, who were almost all assigned to first class and summoned by a system of electric bells.

They performed all sorts of tasks, from housekeeping and room service duties to more personal services for "their" ladies, although many of the female passengers in first class also had their own maids on board, whom they no doubt kept busy, too.

After the collision, Mary saw Dr O'Loughlin and he confided in her, saying "Child, things are very bad". She also met Thomas Andrews who advised her "It is very serious, but keep the bad news quiet, for fear of panic".

Mary Sloan was standing by one of the lifeboats which was being filled when Thomas Andrews recognised her and asked why she was still there.

She replied: "All my friends are staying behind. It would be mean to go." Andrews said: "It would be mean for you not to go. You must get in." Miss Sloan finally assented and was aboard the boat when it left the ship.

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