Sunday, May 27, 2012

Titanic survivor Douglas Spedden 1905-1915 and the victim of another technology.

The RMS Titanic with her sisters were a great leap in the field of technology. The Olympic, Titanic and what was to be Gigantic (later Britannic) were the queens of the ocean. This would not last long, and in the case of the Titanic not even a single voyage. But this story is not about the Titanic, it is about a little boy who was aboard her. Douglas Spedden was six an a half years old when he went on the Titanic.

 His father and mother adored him and went out of their way to make his life happy. In that it was. He did not want for anything as his parents were very wealthy. The image of a doting father is quite plainly seen in this remarkable picture taken by Father Browne, who was one of only two groups of people to take photographs and leave the ship in Ireland. Browne took this picture of little Douglas spinning a top. You can see the pull string in his hand and he watches the top intently. His father Frederic Spedden watches his son as does everyone else.  Spinning tops do not get that kind of attention anymore!

 I do not like to use the movie Titanic to illustrate a scene, but, this very scene is in the movie and Jack Dawson takes the coat that is seen here sitting on the deck chair. It is found on him when he is arrested.

Now back to the story. It is very fortunate that the entire Spedden family and nannies survived. Life went on as it had before for the Speddens.   Young Douglas would be a big admirer of football and loved to throw and toss the ball. While on vacation in Maine, Douglas's ball rolled out into a street and he followed after it. He was then hit by an automobile. How many cars were in Maine in 1915?

Young Douglas would die from the trauma of the accident. The young boy survived the technology of the seas only to succumb to the technology of the roads.  This event devastated the family and they never truly got over it. From the time of his birth his mother Daisy would write a daily diary page for her son. The diary ends in 1915 and never sees the light of day till the 1950's when it is found.

Douglas was one of the earliest of the survivors of the Titanic to die, His father would live on till 1947. Dying of a heart attack in a swimming pool and drowning.   Irony shows itself in many unique places.