Mrs Reniff a survivor from the Titanic gave her account of what actually happened on that fateful night.
Wow! when I read this I thought how brave were you to have gone through everything that you had and still come out helping others, not knowing if your family had survived. What must have been going through your mind? How did you feel?
This is what I would have asked Mrs Reniff if she was alive today!
When you read this and understand what she went through, what sort of questions would you have asked her?
Mrs. Reniff’s story
“I had just gone below when the crash came. It must have been just after 11 o’clock, as all of the women are ordered off the deck at that time and I had been on the port side of the boat talking to my husband and brothers. It was a beautiful, clear night, the stars appearing like glittering steel points against the dark sky. When the watch ordered women off the decks, I went down into my stateroom and I was partially undressed when the collision occurred. The shock was awful. Not fully realizing what had happened, I was dressing myself again when my husband and brothers burst into the cabin.
“They had been in the smoking room, and had seen the iceberg as it bore away from the vessel and told me to dress hurriedly although they thought there was little danger. Nearly all of the passengers though that the Titanic could not sink. Some of them took the collision as a joke and others were annoyed at the jouncing which they had received. My husband and brothers, who were fully dressed, helped me to put on my wraps and hurried me to the deck.
“There for the first time the passengers saw their peril and the utmost confusion prevailed. People were hurrying back and forth. Orders were being shouted in all directions and the crew was busy, getting ready to launch the lifeboats. The first and second class passengers were calm in the face of the disaster but when the steerage passengers burst up from below, the scramble for places in the boats and the bedlam of noise was awful. I saw no flagrant instances of cowardice. Everyone was terribly excited and people forgot everything but their eagerness to get off the sinking ship. It was trembling from stem to stern. The foreigners from the steerage were like animals, but an officer with a revolver stood by every boat and ordered the women to go first.
Husband Helped Save Her
“The boats filled up rapidly, and cast off. I was in one of the last boats. My husband pushed me forward and he was standing there on the deck as the lifeboat went over the side. Rocket after rocket was shot from the deck of the Titanic.
“For a few minutes the boats were grouped together near the sinking ship while the officers watched the last loads of passengers come over the side.
“The crowd was just starting to settle when the last boat went into the water. The halyard of one of the dories snapped as it was being lowered and the boat with its load of passengers fell fifteen or twenty feet into the water. It landed right side up and I do not think that any of the passengers went overboard.
Screams of Lost Frightful
Just as the boats were leaving the side of the steamer the chief steward of the second class cabin jumped off the Titanic into one of them. The impact nearly capsized the boat but it righted itself. The steward was allowed to remain in it. The big boat could be plainly seen. She parted in the middle. There was an awful roar followed by violent explosions. The whole steamer seemed to rock and steady herself for the final plunge. Then she went down. The screams of those who had been left on board were frightful. I shall hear them to my dying day.
“I remember hardly anything after the sinking of the ship. We floated around for hours, it seemed. It was bitterly cold and all of the passengers in our boat suffered. I do not know how many there were. I think that they all survived. I remember hearing someone say that several men had been shot by the officers while trying to escape with the women and children, but I saw no acts of violence. We suffered horribly. Although the sea was smooth waves broke frequently over our boat and we were drenched through. Some of the women were scantily clothed.
Man Dead on Raft
“I remember that we picked up a life raft a great distance from where the Titanic sank. There was one man on it. He was dead. I do not remember what they did with his body. I seemed to be dazed and forgot everything else that happened until we sighted the Carpathia. The I fainted and awoke to find myself on board her.
“I was dreadfully cold and was confined to a berth on the Cunard liner until we landed. There were two doctors on board and they did great work. It was a frightful experience and the only wonder of it is that so many escaped alive. The seamen kept up their spirits. One of them told me that when the Titanic sank he was drawn down into one of the funnels and that he was shot out again when the air rushed from the ship. He said that he swam sixteen miles before he was picked up.
“I did not see the captain of the Titanic after the collision nor had I seen him during the evening. The officers and men performed their work nobly and only praise can be given them.”