WITH the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic coming up this week, we look at one man with a Louth connection’s extraordinary survival story.
Louth resident Julia Baron informed us that her late husband, Jeremy Barkworth, also of Louth, had a relative on board the doomed ship.
Jeremy’s father-in-law’s second cousin, Algernon Henry ‘Algy’ Barkworth, was a 47-year-old Justice of the Peace from Hessle, near Hull, and was bought a £30 ticket for cabin A23 by his mother, who told him it was ‘about time you did something with your life’.
Algy had enjoyed five days on board with new-found friends Arthur Gee of Blackpool and American Charles C Jones, and on the night the iceberg hit the trio were in the bar putting the world to rights over a few drinks. When the other two decided to call it a night, Algy opted to stay up for a nightcap, and was still in the bar when disaster struck at 11.40pm on April 14.
It is said that when the mass panic was taking place around him, Algy retired to his room and drank a full bottle of Crème de Menthe.
Only then did he decide to head for the exits, clutching his fur coat and briefcase.
Algy recalled that upon his arrival on deck that even the violin players had fled for the lifeboats, and he would have been one of the last to escape the sinking giant.
He threw his briefcase into the sea and dived on top, calmly swimming through the freezing waters in search for help.
After a while Algy came across a group of survivors floating on top of the upturned lifeboat B, and clambered aboard until they were rescued by lifeboat 12.
Hours later Algy and 704 other Titanic survivors were rescued by the Carpathia, and while onboard he was able to write home to let his family know he was safe.
Unfortunately, his two friends Arthur and Charles, along with over 1,500 others, were claimed by the sea that night 100 years ago.
Algy went on to return to his role as Justice of the Peace in Hessle and lived until January 7 1945, reaching the age of 80.
He is buried at Mill Lane Cemetery in Kirk Ella, Yorkshire.