Archives

An escape from the Titanic that a young survivor couldn't remember

By the time she was in her 80s, Louise Pope was one of a dwindling number of people who survived the sinking of the Titanic.

Louise Pope was four years old when she and her parents travelled on the Titanic and lived

In 1991, Louise Pope talks to Midday about the escape she and her parents made from the Titanic. 2:06

Louise Pope lived a long life after surviving the sinking of the Titanic, but she had very little direct memory of the tragedy.

She was just four years old when the ship struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland in April of 1912.

"The only thing I recall is the steward, or whoever it is, took Mother and me up and told my dad to hurry up and get his family up on deck because it was the second-last lifeboat," she told Midday, when sharing her story with the program in September 1991.

"And they put us into the lifeboat and of course, the men were supposed to stand back, but the boat was only half-full and they were lowering it already. So he jumped in."

Louise Pope and her parents had left Europe and boarded the Titanic to start a new life in the U.S. (Canadian Press/AP)

That decision meant both of Pope's parents made it off the ship alive, along with their daughter.

Pope's aunt and uncle, however, weren't able to do the same. They were among the more than 1,500 people who perished at sea.

Life after the disaster

Pope and her parents were picked up by the Carpathia, a ship that rescued hundreds of Titanic survivors.

Her parents later split, Pope told Midday, but she and her mother settled permanently in Wisconsin, as had been the plan when their family had departed Europe for their new life in the U.S.

She lived to see the news that the Titanic had been located at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1985.

Six years later, Pope was one of just 16 living survivors.

"There's always less and less getting together because of the age," said Pope, referring to conventions that brought her and other survivors together over the years.

Pope died the following year.

A feature on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website says she was buried alongside her mother, under grave markers that read: "American Immigrants. Survivors of the Titanic Disaster."