A letter from a lucky Titanic survivor describing a dramatic near-miss moment that may have sealed the doomed liner’s fate in 1912 — some 111 years ago this year — was put up for auction in April 2023 and estimated to sell for £20,000, or over $25,000 in U.S. dollars, according to Bournemouth News and Picture Service (BNPS).
The item sold for £15,000, or a little over $19,000, Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd. auctioneers confirmed to Fox News Digital on Tuesday morning. The letter’s sale and back story comes as a frantic search is underway this week for a missing submersible that takes tourists to see the Titanic’s wreckage.
Stanley May, the letter’s writer, spent 24 hours on the Titanic — beginning from when it left Southampton to its last port of call at Cobh, Ireland.
Had the two ships collided, the Titanic’s departure would have been delayed and the Titanic likely never would have struck the iceberg that caused her to sink — with the loss of 1,522 lives a mere four days later.
The Titanic was late in arriving at Cherbourg, France, “owing to an accident shortly after starting.”
He wrote, “New York broke loose from her moorings and drifted on to the Titanic and as she had not steam (sic) up, was in a very lifeless condition … Tugs saved her and no great damage done, but am afraid a lot of people would have been injured by the broken ropes, but we shall not hear until we land.”
May was a first-class passenger aboard the Titanic.
This is the start of Stanley May’s letter, dated April 11, 1912, to his daughters back home. May witnessed the near-miss the Titanic had with a smaller passenger liner as it left the quayside at Southampton. Had the two ships hit, the Titanic’s departure would have been delayed and it may never have struck the iceberg that caused her to sink with the loss of 1,522 lives four days later, said BNPS. (BNPS)
In his letter, he went on to describe the luxury liner as appearing like a “palace.”
The two-page letter surfaced for sale in April 2023 at Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers of Devizes, Wiltshire.
Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd. is a premier auctioneer of antiques and collectors items based in southwest England. It’s a family-run business operated by the husband and wife team of Andrew and Chrissie Aldridge, the company’s website indicates.
This is page two of Titanic survivor Stanley May’s letter to his daughters. (BNPS)
Andrew Aldridge said, “It is a fascinating letter that gives a very good firsthand account of the New York incident,” according to BNPS.
The shipwreck of the Titanic is shown in 1996. It was discovered in 1985. The Titanic — owned and operated by White Star Line — set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 10, 1912. (Xavier DESMIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
And “had that happened, then the iceberg the Titanic went on to hit would have floated clear of its path by the time it reached that area of the North Atlantic.”
Said Aldridge, “Stanley May and his family had a lucky escape and got off in Ireland.”
The Titanic — owned and operated by White Star Line — set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 10, 1912.
The liner made two short stops en route — one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at Cork Harbor, Ireland — where smaller vessels ferried passengers on and off board the Titanic, according to multiple sources.