Loss of RMS Titanic felt in Wiltshire

When RMS Titanic sank on 15th April 1912, the loss was felt in Wiltshire. Passengers and crew had connections with the area and families lost their loved ones.

Amongst the dead was Bert W. Lacey, 21. His last residency was in Salisbury and he boarded the ship in Southampton as an Assistant Saloon Steward. His body was never found.

The McNamee’s

Mrs Eileen McNamee (née O’Leary) also boarded in Southampton, bound for Philadelphia . She was just 19 years old. Eileen was born in Plymouth but moved to Salisbury, attending St. Thomas’ School, and the Sunday school at Brown Street Baptist church. She worked for Lipton’s Grocers and Provision Merchants (41, Silver Street) where she met her husband Neal McNamee. They married in 1912 and part of the trip on the Titanic was their honeymoon and part was for Neal to take up a new job. Her body was recovered by the cable ship the Mackay-Bennett and buried at sea on 22nd April 1912. Neal also died in the sinking.

The Goodwin’s

The greatest loss to a single family was the Goodwins of Canon Square, Melksham. Formerly of Fulham, London, they moved to Melksham a few years prior to the disaster. The family boarded Titanic in Southampton, bound for a new life in Niagra Falls.

Fred and Augusta Goodwin and their six children were to be joining Fred’s brother Thomas who was already in Niagra Falls and who had secured a job for Fred at a large power station, and a house. Fred left his job in Trowbridge where he worked as a printing compositor, to make a new life for the family in the New World.

By a cruel twist of fate, the Goodwins ended up on the Titanic. They were supposed to be on the New York but the departure of the liner was held up because of the coal strike. For this reason they were transferred to RMS Titanic.

Fred and Augusta, sixteen year-old Lillian, fourteen year-old Charles, eleven year-old William, ten year-old Jessie, nine year-old Harold and eighteen month-old Sidney all died.

 The Unknown Child

Master Sidney Leslie Goodwin’s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett. He was wearing a grey coat with fur on collar and cuffs, a brown serge frock, petticoat, a pink woollen singlet, stockings and  brown shoes. For years though, no-one knew who the body (no.4) belonged to. It became known as Titanic’s Unknown Child. The sailors involved in the expedition personally escorted the little coffin to Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Novia Scotia and funded a large monument in memory of the “unknown child”.

In 2007, through DNA testing and identification using the little brown shoes, researchers announced that the body was in fact that of Sidney Goodwin.

In memory

Wiltshire band Sackful of Sovereigns penned a song ‘an unknown child’ dedicated to baby Sidney, and Bound For The Promised Land, a song about the whole Goodwin family.

The bodies of Mr Frederick Joseph Goodwin, Mrs Augusta Goodwin (née Tyler),  Miss Lillian Amy Goodwin,  Mr Charles Edward Goodwin, Master William Frederick Goodwin , Miss Jessie Allis Goodwin , Master Harold Victor Goodwin were never recovered.

A plaque has been erected in their memory in St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Melksham. It reads “On Sunday 14th April 1912 the S.S. Titanic on her first voyage to America with 2,207 souls on board struck an iceberg, and sank in less than 3 hours. Only 705 being saved. Among those who were drowned was a whole family from this parish, Frederick and Augusta Goodwin, with their six children, Lilian, Charles, William, Jessie, Harold, Sidney. The children were all in the Sunday School and the three elder boys in the choir of this church. “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee”.