The Story of the Two Pennies – 30 James Street

The Story of the Two Pennies

Thomas Millar joined RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage as an assistant deck engineer on 10th April 1912, but stepped aboard the ship on 2nd April from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Following the death of his wife, Jeannie, just three months earlier, Thomas decided to join the world famous vessel to provide the best future possible for his two young sons, Thomas Junior (aged 11) and William Ruddick (aged 5).

His plan was to bring his children to America once he was settled in the country, leaving them in the care of their aunt in a country village just outside of Belfast. However, before he set sail on RMS Titanic, he gave each of his boys two new pennies, instructing them not to spend the money until he came back for them.


Tragically, Thomas Millar did not return to pick up his children, as he was one of over 1,500 people that sadly died in the sinking of the vessel on 15th April 1912. His young boys remained with their aunt until adulthood, and an allowance of 5 shillings per week was paid to the family from the National Disasters Relief Fund.

While Thomas Junior spent the pennies given to him by his father, William Ruddick Millar never spent his money, and the pennies remain with the Millar family to this day as a reminder of the undeniable love and the tragic loss of a loving father.