The Fortune Family from Winnipeg, USA, embarked on what they believed would be the vacation of a lifetime in the early months of 1912. Travelling as far and wide as Greece, France, Italy and the Middle East, they would end their journey in Southampton to return home to the USA.
The patriarch of the family, Mark Fortune, presented the vacation as a gift to his wife, Mary, and his children, Mabel, Ethel, Alice and Charlie. Friends, Thomas McCaffry, J.J. Borebank and Thompson Beattie also joined them on the Grand Tour, which was a holiday often taken by the wealthy.
Spirits were high in England, with crowds patiently waiting for RMS Titanic to arrive at Southampton’s dock. Love was also in full bloom when Alice Fortune persuaded William Sloper, a travelling companion, to change his Mauritania ticket for the RMS Titanic.
The Fortune Family enjoyed all the splendour the Titanic had to offer on the first four days on the ship. However, at 11.40pm on 14th April 1912, disaster would strike when the Titanic would hit an iceberg. All passengers were promptly informed to put on their lifejackets, with women and children being directed to lifeboats.
With great reluctance, the Fortune women agreed to leave the Titanic and board lifeboat 10, leaving Mark and Charlie on the vessel. Unaware of the tragedy that would later unfold, the Fortune daughters handed all their money to their brother before escaping the ship. Many believed RMS Titanic would float for many hours before passengers were saved by a passing ship. It was only when they watched the lights from the Titanic extinguish that the Fortune women, who were on a lifeboat a safe distance away, would realise they would never see Mark and Charlie again.
The Fortune women floated on lifeboat 10 for 8 hours on the ice water until they were rescued by the Carpathia. The surviving members returned to the new home Mark Fortune has built for his family; however, reports state that they struggled to live in the mansion that offered 36 rooms, as the silence was an aching reminder of the men they had lost.