Belfast Telegraph

Titanic steward's letter to wife revealing 'near-miss' up for sale

The ill-fated Titanic
The ill-fated Titanic
A document confirming the death of a steward, to accompany a letter he wrote that is going under the hammer

By Claire Hayhurst

A letter written on board the doomed Titanic by a steward who died in the disaster is to be sold at auction.

Richard Geddes penned the letter to his wife days before the Belfast-built liner struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912.

He was one of more than 1,500 passengers and crew who died.

His letter, written on Titanic stationery, describes how the liner previously suffered a near-miss.

It was sent to his wife in Southampton in a White Star Line envelope.

Auctioneers estimate the letter will fetch up to £18,000 when it is sold in Devizes, Wiltshire, next Saturday, April 27.

"This lot is sold with the original certified extract, relating to the death of a seaman, giving official confirmation of his death in the Titanic disaster, plus copies of photographs of Mr Geddes and his wife," auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said.

"It's an exceptional letter on many levels.

"First and foremost it was written on board the Titanic, it has its envelope, the lot also contains official paperwork relating to Mr Geddes and, finally, the content is superb, describing the near-miss that Titanic nearly suffered that would have changed history."

Part of the letter reads: "My dearest Sal, We got away yesterday after a lot of trouble.

"As we were passing the New York and Oceanic, the New York broke her ropes and very nearly ran into us, but we just happened to avoid a collision.

"I could see visions of Belfast, it must have been a trying time for the Captain."

Mr Geddes told his wife he believed the Titanic would be "a great deal better" and "steadier" than other ships. He also wrote: "If we get in on time on Wednesday and there happens to be a boat I will write from New York."

He signed it "with fondest love and kisses to my dear wife and kiddies".

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