The Man Who Walked Away from RMS Titanic – 30 James Street

The Man Who Walked Away from RMS Titanic

Alex MacKenzie was to travel aboard RMS Titanic, as his parents bought him a ticket to join RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 10th April 1912. However, he would never travel on the ship, as he walked away from the vessel just before it set sail.

Many people would have probably called the man crazy, as the gift was given to provide Alex with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Why did he leave the ship? He was compelled to. He was at the Southampton dock, over 100 years ago, ready to set sail on the ship, queuing in the gangway, when a voice in his head warned him he would died if he remained on the vessel.

The 24-year-old Glaswegian looked around to see where the voice was coming from, but there was no-one to be seen. He chose to ignore it and continued walking up the gangway when he heard it the same message and voice once again. For the second time he ignored it, but the next time the voice was stronger, and so he chose not to stay aboard the ship.

Alex Mackenzie

Alex returned to his hometown of Glasgow and told of the voice he heard in his head. His parents may well have been disappointed by Alex’s decision, as a first class ticket cost £13, the equivalent of £1,200 in modern money, and third class passages cost between £7 to £9 – approximately £650 to £850 nowadays.

Alex’s Grandson, Ian Henderson, recently spoke of his great grandparent’s decision to buy their son an RMS Titanic ticket: “They were middle-aged by this time and had a bit of money in the bank, and thought it might be a nice gift for him. I doubt they were wealthy enough to afford a first-class ticket, so it would’ve been second or third class. I don’t know exactly what he was going to do over there, but he might have been planning to look for work.

“Apparently his parents reacted with surprise and were upset. I think there was a bit of a falling out as they weren’t too pleased after they’d spent their money on a ticket.”

However, when news broke that RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk on 15th April 1912, taking the lives of over 1,500 passengers and crew, their anger and disappointment quickly turned into relief.

Iain said: “When they saw the headlines in the newspapers that the Titanic had sunk, my grandfather was shocked at what had happened but relieved that he hadn’t boarded”.

Alex joined a number of people who failed to board RMS Titanic, including businessman JP Morgan, and Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s chocolate.