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Archaeology & History

Man narrowly avoided Titanic disaster due to injured finger 111 years ago

By T.K. Randall
April 15, 2023 · Comment icon 6 comments

The vessel ended up at the bottom of the sea. Image Credit: Public Domain
Today marks the 111th anniversary of one of the most infamous maritime disasters of all time.
Situated 13,000ft beneath the surface of the Atlantic, the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 and has since served as a humbling reminder of the disaster that claimed over 1,500 lives.

On April 15th, 1912, the ship - once hailed as 'unsinkable' due to its immense size and advanced design - struck an iceberg while crossing the Atlantic and sunk beneath the waves.

One of the engine crew, however, managed to narrowly avoid this fate thanks to a freak accident that saw him depart the ship just before it set sail.

Teenager Joe Swarbrick had been planning to emigrate to Canada with his older brother Bill and had found work aboard the Titanic around the time it was due to begin operating.
Just a few days before its maiden voyage, however, he ended up slicing off one of his fingers in an accident, meaning that he had to return to shore at Southamption and go to a local hospital.

He was told by doctors that he would be unable to go to America and was forced to return home to Belfast with his brother, leaving him feeling as though he had let both of them down.

It wasn't long, however, before news of the Titanic's demise reached them.

If Swarbrick hadn't injured his finger, they would have both surely perished on the ship.

Source: BBC News | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by tcgram 1 year ago
Wow, interesting.    
Comment icon #2 Posted by Antigonos 1 year ago
I hadn’t heard this particular story before, good article. The golden age of the ocean liners has a multitude of interesting stories. Violet Jessop was a stewardess who worked for the White Star Line. She was aboard the OLYMPIC when it collided with the HAWKE in 1911. She survived the sinking of her sister ship the TITANIC in 1912. Then she survived the sinking of the third sister ship the BRITANNIC in 1916 when it struck a mine as it was serving as a hospital ship in the Aegean during WW1. She later wrote her memoirs and called the book Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewar... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Skulduggery 1 year ago
I've heard this before. Never get on a boat with that person.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Scholar4Truth 1 year ago
The two stories I heard concerning the Titanic was the tale of the guy who dressed as a woman in order to escape on one of the lifeboats. The other was a book called The Wreck of the Titan which story paralles the Titanic. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Alpha_Q 1 year ago
In Vegas - the Luxor Hotel - they have a Titanic display wih a huge piece of the ship they dragged up from the ocean bottom. There's a sign that says Don't Touch, but you get a chance to touch the Titanic, screw that barrier. Anyway, they've got a bunch of stories of survivors and victims. This one dude, the night before the ship was to sail he was Shanghai'd, like, literally thumped on the head, abducted, and forced to work on a ship sailing to China and back. His luggage made it on to the ship and checked in, so his family figured him dead. Months later he turns up alive.
Comment icon #6 Posted by HollyDolly 1 year ago
While this doesn't invovle the Titanic, there are two family stories that are similar. A. My grandmother and her family the Steldts, were going down from Milwaukee to Chicago on the train to see the famous Vaudivillian Eddie Foy at the Iroqouis Theatre. When they got to the Iroqouis, they couldn't get it. In fact the theatre was as I understand it over capacity anyways. So they left. I think my dad said they went back home, as Foy was the reason for the Chicago trip. Later on that same day was the horrible Iroqouis Theatre Fire, with a great loss of life, mainly women and children who were tra... [More]

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