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28 October 2014

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The medal awarded rescuers from the Titanic

The medal given to CO Hankinson

Memories of a Titanic hero

Chief Officer Thomas William Hankinson is one of the unsung heroes of the Titanic story. His grand daughter talks about his role in rescuing survivors from the sinking.

Josephine Hearne from Bromsgrove is the Granddaughter of Thomas William Hankinson, Chief officer on RMS Carpathia - the only ship that went to the aid of Titanic.

The ship picked up the SOS wireless message from the Titanic, and raced a full speed, though iceberg filled waters, to help in the rescue.

Crew of the Carpathia

Carpathia crew - CO Hankinson circled

"(The Carpathia) was the only ship that went to the rescue of the Titanic, although it was the furthest away. 

"They were 58 miles away, and my Grandfather was the Chief Officer and so he was responsible for the deck rescue and all that had to be done. 

"Don’t forget they were expecting to find the Titanic still floating – they thought it had just foundered. 

"They did not believe the ship, which they believed to be unsinkable, could possibly have sunk without trace."

Chief Officer Thomas William Hankinson

Chief Officer Thomas William Hankinson

Her family have medals and a citation  that was presented to her grandfather for his role in the rescue.

"In the family we still have the medals that were awarded to my grandfather, and they are still in their original cases. 

"I have the silver one from the Liverpool Shipwrecking Humane Society, and only eight of those were awarded. 

"With that goes the citation that now hangs in my hall, and used to hang in my Grandfather’s hall when I was a child, so I’ve been familiar with it all my life."

She says that her Grandfather, and the other people she's met connected with the Titanic, didn't talk about what happened that April night in 1912.

"The people who survived the Titanic rescue didn’t want to talk about it, it was considered such an awful evening – so horrible. 

"Then two years later the Great War came along, and the Titanic rather went into the background."

Josephine now gives talks about the Titanic and the most famous sinking in maritime history.

last updated: 08/04/2008 at 11:40
created: 11/04/2006

You are in: Hereford and Worcester > Features > Stories > Memories of a Titanic hero

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