The Last Survivor

It’s a new year, and we’re off to explore the Titanic once again! So far, we’ve looked at many aspects of the ship including her crew and passengers, what led to the sinking, how the rescue took place, and the search for bodies. One blog subscriber has told me how much she enjoys reading about the passengers and has asked about third class survivors.

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The Goodwin family, third class passengers

Although 174 third class passengers survived the sinking, not many were questioned afterward about their experiences. Few could speak English, and most avoided reporters after reaching New York, so they were not asked to testify at the inquiries into the disaster. The stories that made the headlines came mostly from those traveling in first class, and those same passengers spoke at the US and British inquiries. But some of those in third class did manage to tell their stories to others. We’ll begin with a look at one of them today.

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Millvena Dean with her mother

Elizabeth Gladys Dean, known better as Millvena, was just nine weeks old when her parents, Bertram and Georgette Dean and her brother Bertram boarded the Titanic in Southampton. Her father planned to open a tobacco shop in Wichita, Kansas. He perished in the sinking, but Millvena, her mother, and brother all survived.

The family returned to England, and Millvena found out at age eight that she’d been a Titanic passenger. She never married, but worked for the government during World War II drawing maps. She later worked for an engineering firm. It wasn’t until she reached her 70s that Millvena became a Titanic celebrity, appearing at conventions, on talk shows, and in documentaries. She was the last Titanic survivor, and died in 2009 at the age of 97 after a short illness.

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Millvena Dean

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