TITANIC-TITANIC.com | Your Work: Desiree Massey

Desiree Massey has been an active member of the website for some time now, but she recently contacted me to ask whether I would publish her work on my site. I was more than happy to do that, and other than a couple of spelling errors, the story remains unedited for your enjoyment!

A Legend

By Desiree Massie © Desiree Massie

 

Wednesday, April 10th, 1912

Today is the day. At 11:30, this morning, I will board the grandest ship in the world, which will take me to Canada. I was walking the streets of Southampton, this glorious spring day, walked into a store and picked up this book. I thought it would be a good idea to record the events of my journey. Before I go on, I must introduce myself. My name is William Borden. I was born here, in Southampton, England. I must tell you about this ship which has amazed people around here. Like I once heard "You can be blase about most things, but not about Titanic ." People say she's the biggest afloat; 882 feet long, 20 - 30 thousand tonnes, 11  stories high. Built in Belfast, Ireland. The "unsinkable Ship of Dreams" as others call her. At 11:30, approximately, I was escorted to my cabin, B-64, on B-Deck. I was overwhelmed by her luxury. The beauty of it all seemed almost too good to be true. My suite was very luxurious. A huge parlor, sitting room, and a bed chamber. The bed had a canopy and beside the bed was a door to the private deck. There was a table in the middle of the room. At noon, Titanic casts off, almost colliding with the New York, so departure was delayed for an hour. By 1:00, I had some dinner and was walking along the first class promenade. We were sailing downstream to English Channel, en route to Cherbourg, France. We arrived at Cherbourg at 6:30pm. A young gentleman, knowing my loneliness, kindly invited me to join him to supper. I accepted his offer with great thanks. After we escorted ourselves to brandy and cigars in the smoking room. By 8:10pm, Titanic leaves for Queenstown, Ireland. By 11:30, I was ready to retire. I thanked the gentleman for his kindness, and escorted myself back to my suite, through the grand staircase. The staircase is an amazing sight. Descending all the way from the top deck down to E deck. At the top is a beautiful hand-carved clock featuring Honor and Glory crowning time. There is a beautiful glass domed roof which covers the ceiling of the staircase. Absolutely magnificent! Now, I must retire. Tomorrow I will be going to breakfast with the gentleman I met today and other men. Good Night.

 - signed William Robert Borden

 

Thursday, April 11th, 1912

Today was splendid. By 1:30pm, we were sailing off from the coast of Ireland. I did not see much of the land, but what I did see was beautiful; rocky, emerald green shores. I did, in fact, have a chance to travel to Ireland. Beautiful countryside. I was in Dublin on a business trip, that year. I was having an excellent time with my group today. We went and played squash for an hour in the squash court, which was very impressive. Then we went up to the smoking room and gambled the afternoon away. I did not have much luck. We have had more luck with the weather. It has been clear and calm. I'm sure the captain is pleased! Tomorrow, I will probably spend in my cabin. I have been tired lately. Must be the traveling. Well, I must retire. Good Night.

- signed William Robert Borden

 

Friday, April  12th, 1912

Today I got a chance to explore the ship. I spent a good half of the morning in my cabin. After lunch I went to the gymnasium. The gymnasium has such machines as, electric camels, they call them. Anyway, after that I had asked a steward if I could have a general tour of this grand ship. He said I should speak with Mr. Thomas Andrews, the designer of the Titanic. So, I went to Mr. Andrews, he was quite pleased that I asked him. He told me to meet him tomorrow, on the bridge at noon. So I shall. I must admit, the Titanic has inevitably cast a spell on me, as she did the rest of the people. I am fascinated with this luxury. I will tell all of my tour tomorrow! Good bye for now!

- signed William Robert Borden

 

Saturday, April 13th, 1912

I met Mr. Andrews at twelve on  the bridge. I saw the engine room and such. and had dinner with the Captain, a grey haired man of around 50, with 20 years of experience. I  mentioned to him and to Mr. Andrews that I noticed that there did not seem to  be enough lifeboats for everyone aboard. He told me that the capacity  would carry only half of the passengers.......well, I give the man credit for
being honest with a passenger.......During lunch, we were disrupted by a telegram for the captain. It spoke of ice warnings. The captain reassured me that it was quite normal for this time of year. I do hope he will be  careful.......with the ice warnings.......not enough lifeboats......I cannot  imagine what might happen if.......well it certaintly wont help fretting about it. I shall say a prayer tonight, not just for
me, but for  everyone aboard. I pray that we make a safe crossing.

- signed William Robert Borden

 

Monday, April 15th, 1912, 8:50 am, aboard the  RMS Carpathia

The unthinkable has happened. I am in shock. I was in the smoking room, enjoying my last cigar, when I felt a shudder. At first I thought it was a propeller blade. I quickly, subconciously glanced at my watch; 11:45pm. Then I remembered the rumours about ice warnings. I ran out of the room onto A deck, just as a huge iceberg was passing by the ship. I knew right away: Titanic had collided with ice..... I looked for Mr. Andrews, he confirmed my belief. It was 11:50 pm. He told me water had risen above the keel, and the first five compartments were beginning to take on water. When I asked him "what could I do". He told me it would be a good idea to help with the uncovering and loading of the lifeboats, if it came to that. At 12 the ship's bow was beginning to sink. I would not think it would be long before all this, the luxury, the staircase, the gym, the squash court will all be at the bottom of the cold frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Bloody ice! By 12:05, I was, along with others, ordered to uncover lifeboats. The band begins to play lively ragtime tunes on boat deck. At 12:25, orders are given to load the lifeboats. I helped a little girl and her mother and sister and brother into the boat. The  fear in the child's face was very noticeable. Before the boat was lowered, the little girl turned, looked at me in the eye and said "thank you". I smiled at her. Then the boat descended the some hundred feet to the sea, and rowed off. I then noticed something frightening. That boat; Starboard No.7, could carry up to sixty five people, but left with only twenty eight! I thought about that in shocked horror and looked around me..the frightened faces of the passengers....the faces of the crew.....At  about 2:05 a crewman came up to me and said "Lad, you have done all you can, it is every man for himself now" I nodded to him. I reluctantly hopped into one of the last lifeboats: Collapsible D, leaving with 44 people aboard. As we rowed away, I stared at the ship, in absolute shock. Titanic's forecastle head sinks underwater, the tilt of her decks growing steeper. I notice many passengers, still left on the foundering ship, were jumping over board, into the cold waters. The would not last long.  Titanic's bow was fully submerged, the forward funnel collapses. hundreds of passengers seem to be gathered at the aft end of the boat deck. Our boat and the others watch together in silence as the grand ship plunges to the bottom of the ocean....forever. An Officer in No.14 goes back to the site of the wreck to collect any who are still alive. However now, most are dead. The sounds of screams, cries, pleads and moans of the drowning is something which can't ever be erased or forgotten.......... the Officer, found six out of the water. Only six....... At around 4:00 in the morning, a ship finally came to our assistance; the RMS Carpathia. The loading of the people from the lifeboats seem to take forever. It was really "only" four hours. When I finally boarded, I was offered a blanket, hot soup and a private cabin. I was exhausted having been up all night in the blistering cold. In my cabin I fell into a troubled slumber. I woke around 8:00, and went up on deck. Later I find that out of the 2227 passengers and crew, only 705 survived. That means 1500 people parished that night. I feel as though I should have done more......stayed longer.....then I would have gone down with her...I have so many mixed feelings...I just pray and thank God that I lived to see another day...and I also pray for those who lost their lives...I must go now.

- signed William Robert Borden 

 

April 15th, 1952

Gosh! We meet again! How long has it been? Forty years. That is amazing. I was searching around in the old attic and I remembered that today is the 40th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Then I remembered this book, my dairy. I was flipping through it's pages remembering that night. I shall never forget, the cries, the cold air, the terribleness of it all. I shall not forget the most magnificent ship. She did sink, but there will always be a place in my heart for her. Tonight I shall have a few moments of silence for the  people who perished. Even to this day, people are fascinated by her luxury, so much in fact that one question comes to my mind when I think of the tragedy: Has she really been gone all these years? To me her story and the stories of her passengers, crew, builders and everyone whose lives were changed in one night are a legend. A legend or story which, I have a feeling will be told for generations to come. I now have a family, who  know very well of my experiences on the RMS Titanic. I share this story of my passage to America with my family and friends, because it is a big part of  my and now my family's history. Whenever the word "Titanic" shows up in an old newspaper, I think back to that night and I thank God, again for helping me and everyone else through that. Whether they ended up on the Carpathia, or in God's arms, I pray for them, especially today.

 

- signed William Robert Borden, Titanic Survivor, aged 53

 

Dedicated to those 1523 people who perished on the night of April 15th 1912

 

Other fine examples of work by visitors to the site can be viewed here:
[ Lynnette Toole | Paul Michael | William Leflic | Andrew Little | Martyn Prince | Desiree Massie | Lynnette Toole & Joanne Hindes | Felix N. Hansen | Emily Bisignano | Hatty Collingham | Chris Mazzella ]



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