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Lot 240: **R.M.S. TITANIC: Unique and highly significant letter from the m
Titanic & Travel Memorabilia
22 October 2016
Devizes, United Kingdom
Description: **R.M.S. TITANIC: Unique and highly significant letter from the most senior officer to survive the disaster and last survivor taken on board the rescue ship Carpathia Charles Lightoller. A stunning first person account of the last moments of the ill-fated liner written on board the White Star liner S.S. Adriatic on May 1st, 1912. The letter is to R.W. Graham of Holt & Co. of New York informing Graham that Titanic assistant surgeon John E. Simpson was lost at sea. In full (with a couple of handwritten corrections by Lightoller): In reply to yours of the 30th ultimo, I am sorry to say that Asst. Surgeon John E. Simpson was on the Titanic, (not Asst. Purser, as stated in the papers). I deeply regret your loss, which is also mine. I may say I was practically the last man to speak to Dr. Simpson, and on this occasion he was walking along the boat-deck in company with Messrs. McElroy, Barker, Dr. O'Loughlin and four assistant pursers. They were all perfectly calm in the knowledge that they had done their duty and were still assisting by showing a calm and cool exterior to the passengers. Each one individually came up to me and shook hands. We merely exchanged the words 'Goodbye, old man.' This occurred shortly before the end and I am not aware that he was seen by anyone after. With deepest sympathy for you in the loss of your friend. Lightoller had been travelling on the Adriatic at this time on his return to England following his testimony at the American Senate Inquiry into the Titanic Disaster. He had been immediately detained following his arrival on Carpathia in New York, and was making his return to England at the time this letter was written. Lightoller describes the final moments and whereabouts of such iconic Titanic figures as its chief purser, chief surgeon, and assistant surgeon, as well as describing what may have been Dr. Simpson's final words before he was lost. For these words to have come directly from Titanic's highest ranking surviving officer, while he was returning home after being detained in America, elevates this letter to a class all its own. Written over two pages, lightly-lined, 8ins. x 10ins.