BVU grad inherits letter from 'Titanic' rescue ship

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

In the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, most of the passengers aboard the RMS Carpathia were peacefully resting in their rooms.

A trip across the Atlantic Ocean which would take them to the romantic Mediterranean Sea several days later.

Plans quickly changed, however, as word reached the ship's captain, Arthur Rostron, that the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic was sinking after striking an iceberg 50 miles away. Rostron ordered his ship to turn around and head toward the ill-fated vessel, and his actions that night helped save 705 lives.

Ninety years later, the history of that event has come to life for one BVU graduate through a letter written by a Carpathia passenger to his grandmother.

Bob Dalby, a 1971 graduate of BVU, inherited a letter his grandmother, Mabel Gordon Dalby, received from a friend who was on her honeymoon aboard the Carpathia. The first half of the letter talks about her romantic experiences and then segues into her memories of helping the Titanic survivors.

A resident of Merrillville, Ind., Dalby, 57, said he was thrilled to own the historic item.

"I like history, and it's kind of neat because it gives a personal eyewitness account of someone who saw it all actually happen," Dalby said. "I didn't know it existed, so I was extremely excited when I saw it for the first time."

Postmarked May 3, 1912, the letter tells how the author, nicknamed "Empsie," allowed Titanic survivors to bunk with her and her husband on the trip back to New York City, and also reveals her feelings regarding the tragic incident.

"The honeymoon dearie has been badly eaten into by this horrible experience of which you have read in all papers," "Empsie" wrote. "It has taken the spirits out of me and taken the beauty out of the sea."

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