RMS Titanic was lorded as the largest, soundest, most forward-thinking vessel of its epoch, but it was a humble Fireman in its boiler-room who truly deserved the name ‘unsinkable.’
While being hauled from the wintery St. Lawrence River in 1914, William Clark must have thought he was the unluckiest bloke around. Before the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, Clark was aboard the RMS Titanic on that fabled evening in 1912.The
The Empress of Ireland
Commissioned for the North Atlantic passage between Liverpool and Quebec, the Empress of Ireland looked to have learnt from RMS Titanic and its mistakes; the vessel was equipped with watertight compartments and lugged more than enough rowboats for all onboard, however, the luxurious liner sunk in a similar way to its nautical comrade.
In the aftermath of surviving the sinking of the Titanic Clark was again doing the same shabbily paid work (he received monthly wages of £6) and plunged suddenly into chaos as the Norwegian SS Storstad crashed into the Empress’ hull.
The SS Storstad collided with the Irish Empress at 2am in heavy haze following a signaling misunderstanding between the two vessels. It took only 14 minutes for the Empress to sink – it would be the second-worst maritime catastrophe of the era following the Titanic.
Despite this mishap however, Clark survived again.
“The luck of the Irish” is a proverb you’ve probably heard time and time again. After hearing Clark’s nautical yarns, you’d be justified in thinking that the saying was written with him in mind. The Louth local survived his second maritime disaster which, combined with his survival of the Boer War, enhanced his reputation as a fortuitous Irishman and shipmate.
“The Empress rolled over like a hog in a ditch,” Clark reportedly exclaimed. His and other accounts by survivors and their descendants have kept memories of the vessel alive, whilst Clark apparently moved to Liverpool after the event.
RMS Titanic Survivors
If William Clark was ‘Mr. Unsinkable,’ then Violet Jessop was ‘Miss. Unsinkable.’
Jessop, who ominously shared multiple similarities with Clark including their Irish ancestry, survived the sinking of the sister ships the Britannic and the Titanic.
The White Star Line – whose headquarters have now been transformed into the stunning 30 James Street – was looking for workers to cater to the luminaries and moguls aboard the unsinkable vessel. Violet applied and subsequently escaped the shipwreck on rowboat 16.
This mode of escape would become a common occurrence for Jessop as she would go onto survive three other maritime woes.
You’d think she’d stop getting onboard boats at this point, but not Violet. She’d continue to work on Titanic-esc vessels up until she retired aged 61.
The Home of RMS Titanic
Immerse yourself in RMS Titanic’s captivating history by visiting 30 James Street – the home of the iconic vessel. Explore the beautifully and respectfully restored White Star Headquarters, which has been lovingly transformed into a luxurious Liverpool hotel.
Dine in Titanic-esc luxury inside Carpathia, an exquisite rooftop restaurant named and themed after the rescue vessel that saved 705 RMS survivors, or enjoy relaxing in Morgan’s Spa.
Sound absolutely stunning? Call today on 0151 601 8801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a break, meal, spa treatment or special event at 30 James Street – home of RMS Titanic.