Among the 62 passengers and crew from Cornwall who were travelling on the White Star liner RMS TITANIC on that fateful night of 14th April 1912 in the North Atlantic were the West family. Arthur, his pregnant wife Ada, and their two daughters were on their way to America looking forward to their new life in Florida.
Needless to say fate had other plans, and it is here Ada West picks up the story:
‘We were all asleep when the collision took place, but were jolted in our berths – my husband and children not even being awakened, and it was only the hurrying of passengers outside the cabin that caused alarm. The steward bade us all get up and dress thoroughly with plenty of warm things. Arthur placed lifebelts upon the children and then carried them to the boat deck. I followed carrying my handbag. 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.’
That was the last his family saw of Arthur – husband, father and a true Cornish hero.
The thermos flask, a symbol of love and determination, now sits proudly in the Museum’s TITANIC STORIES exhibition.
We are indebted to Cedar Bay Entertainments (US), and in particular to Paul Burns, Vice President and Curator for the Titanic Museum Attractions in Missouri and Tennessee, for arranging the loan and transportation of this iconic flask to Falmouth.