Titanic hero’s sacrifice surfaces 97 years after tragedy

March 26th, 2009 - 1:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 26 (ANI): A heart-rending story of an unsung hero of the Titanic tragedy has emerged - 97 years after his death.

New archives reveal how Arthur West, 36, perished on the Titanic after leaving a lifeboat to get his wife and children some hot milk.

Arthur, a shopworker by profession, was taking wife Ada and daughters Constance, five, and ten-month-old Barbara to start a new chapter of life in America when the liner sank in 1912.

He managed to get Ada and the kids into a lifeboat - but then dashed back to the family’s second-class cabin to grab a flask of hot milk for the youngsters, reports The Sun.

When he returned the boat was being lowered into the sea so he shimmied down a rope and handed them the thermos flask before climbing back on board the liner.

Ada West had to watch as her brave husband gave her this thermos flask of milk before returning to the sinking ship. While doing so he passed up the chance to join them.

Arthur, of Truro, Cornwall, became one of the 1,517 victims of the disaster - and his body was never found.

Ada, 33 at the time, described her husband’s bravery in letters she wrote to relatives.

Following the tragedy, Ada and her girls returned to Britain.

Ada died aged 74 in 1953 and Constance died a decade later at 56.

The family archive, including Ada’s letters and the thermos flask, was passed to Barbara, who was the last-but-one British survivor of the Titanic until she died aged 96 in 2007.

The letters are now being sold by the relatives of the West family at an auction. The letters are expected to fetch up to 60,000 pounds.

In her letters, Ada said: “My dear people, here’s the end of my first awful week without my dear old boy. The experiences I have been through with all the other poor creatures have been enough for two lifetimes. We were amongst the first to leave the ship. Arthur placed lifebelts upon the children then carried them on to the boat deck.

“After seeing us safely into the lifeboat Arthur returned to the cabin for a thermos of hot milk and finding the lifeboat let down he reached it by means of a rope, gave the flask to me, and, with a farewell, returned to the deck of the ship.”

The archive also includes a letter written by Arthur four days before the Titanic hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. (ANI)a

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