Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Titanic: Legend of Unsinkable Molly Brown

Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

One of the great heroines of the Titanic was 'Molly', nee Margaret Brown, a beautiful American who booked a speedy passage home aboard the Titanic while on holiday in Egypt because her grandson was ill.

By the time she arrived on the ship she was also that most scandalous of things, a divorcee. However, she proved her worth by helping people aboard the lifeboats until she was persuaded into lifeboat number 6, where she gallantly took an oar.

Molly then talked reluctant quartermaster Robert Hitchens into returning to look for more survivors. Legend says they found some, and Molly's actions on the night gained her the French Legion d'Honneeur.

She headed up the Titanic Survivors' Committee, supporting immigrant survivors who had lost everything in the disaster. She wasn't allowed to testify in Congressional hearings about the sinking, but published her account in the press.

Molly was immortalised in the 1960s musical by Richard Morris, The Unsinkable Molly Brown. In the film Titanic, her character looks at the upended ship from the lifeboat and exclaims “God almighty”.

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