Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Titanic: Legend of Unsinkable Molly Brown

Titanic. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Shipyard men fitting the starboard tailshaft of the Titanic prior to her launch. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Harland & Wolff, Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Sheet music for "Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey" from the Broadway production "Madame Sherry," (1910) is shown as part of the artifacts collection at a warehouse in Atlanta, Friday, Aug 15, 2008. The 5,500-piece collection contains almost everything recovered from the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, which has sat 2.5 miles below the surface of the Atlantic ocean since the boat sank on April 15, 1912.

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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