Friday, August 23, 2019

Titanic - The Bridlington Connections

On Monday 19th August 2019 I had the pleasure of officially introducing to the world my tenth book, this one about the most famous ship in the world and it's links to the East Yorkshire town of Bridlington.

When Titanic set sail on 10th April 1912 from Southampton there was not a person on Earth who could have predicted the implications of what was about to happen to her just four days later. Several lucky passengers departed at Cherbourg and Queenstown and that was the last time the ship was seen by anybody from the land.

History (and a host of Hollywood films)  will tell us the story of what happened the night the ship hit the iceberg and sank. It is a story that has been retold so many times you would think that there were no longer new things to talk about - but you would be wrong.

In 2014, after realising that the ships band leader Wallace Hartley had played in Bridlington in the early 1900s, I began a campaign to have a plaque installed at the Bridlington Spa which was agreed upon by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and unveiled in the summer of that year, local historian Mike Wilson taking my place due to me being away at the time.

But as the years went by it became apparent that Hartley was not the only link to the Titanic and Bridlington. A violin was located and confirmed as being the actual instrument he played as the ship was sinking - a scene immortalised forever in every book and film almost! Selling at auction for over £1 million, this really put the town on the map in Titanic circles.

However, it turned out that the senior surviving officer of the Titanic was shipwrecked in Bridlington Bay during the First World War. Charles Lightoller was no stranger to being shipwrecked. After being  stranded for 8 days following the loss of the barque Holt Hill in 1889 he went on to become Second officer of Titanic and then First Officer of the Oceanic which sank in 1914.

In March 1918, as captain of the destroyer HMS Falcon, he was zig-zagging his ship during convoy escort duty off the Yorkshire coast when the armed trawler John Fitzgerald collided with his ship and split the vessel in two.

The bow section sank immediately but after several hours of attempting to save the stern, Lightoller and his two remaining crew abandoned ship. One person died of his injuries later.

The wreck of the Falcon was located in 1996 by Bill Woolford in Bridlington Bay and since then he has recovered several items which he has lovingly restored.

With two other chapters dedicated to the local newspaper reports on the sinking of Titanic and the local people who have the Titanic in their life in one way or another, the books is packed with information that both locals and Titanic experts will find interesting and informative.

I would like to thank Bridlington Central Library, particularly Sarah Hutchinson, who made the talk possible and gave me the opportunity to share my knowledge of this amazing subject.

For me it all began in 1991 when I first watched the film Raise the Titanic. Despite the fact it was completely fictional it sparked an interest that continues to this day and has led to visiting places around the world that I would have never dreamed of seeing as well as a passion that has so far lasted 28 years....and counting.

Giving talks and distributing my information to those interested is my passion and one that I will continue to do for many years to come. I have many other projects being worked on and have already been booked for further lectures which I do in my spare time while holding down a full time job!

But for me it would always start with a small boy watching his first Titanic film all those years ago.

For those interested in purchasing a copy of the book then please email for details or follow me on Facebook - Richard M. Jones

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