Lifestyle

Titanic story for Camira mother of two

Granddaughter of the longest living survivor of the Titanic Dawn Pincott of Camira with Tiffany (centre), 12, and Laura, 17 (no surname - foster kids). Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Granddaughter of the longest living survivor of the Titanic Dawn Pincott of Camira with Tiffany (centre), 12, and Laura, 17 (no surname - foster kids). Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

IT comes up at the dinner table from time to time, but most people close to Dawn Pincott don't know her grandmother survived the Titanic.

Titanic survivor Edith Brown. Photo: Contributed
Titanic survivor Edith Brown. Photo: Contributed Contributed

The Camira mother of two was the granddaughter of one of the oldest living survivors of the Titanic - Edith Haisman (nee Brown).

Mrs Haisman was 15 when her family boarded RMS Titanic in 1912 in Southampton, England.

Her father was taking her and her mother to New York to open a hotel business. Everything they owned, tableware, furnishings and 1000 rolls of bed linen for the new venture was packed into the Titanic's hold.

Mrs Pincott said the night Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, haunted her grandmother for the rest of her life.

"She remembered the screams and the noises of the ship falling apart," Mrs Pincott said. "Once the ship sank, there was no sound and the ocean looked like glass.

She remembered the screams and the noises of the ship falling. Once it sank, there was no sound and the ocean looked like glass.

"She had nightmares for years."

In a series of interviews throughout her lifetime, Mrs Haisman gave vivid accounts of what happened during Titanic's final moments. She said her father woke her and her mother, telling them to put on their life jackets and something warm.

On deck, a steward had told them the ship had struck an iceberg, but said it was nothing to worry about.

Mrs Haisman remembered the band playing ragtime music to keep spirits high, while passengers said she's unsinkable, she won't go down.

"No one panicked, they just got up to see what was going on," Mrs Pincott said. "People were still dancing, the band was playing.

"There was ice coming onto the deck from the iceberg. People weren't worried, they were picking it up and putting it in there drinks."

Mrs Haisman's father kissed her and her mother as they boarded Lifeboat 14. She never saw her father again.

"It was women and children first and she said to her father: 'Come with us" and he told them: 'No I will see you in New York'," Mrs Pincott said.

"They were buying a restaurant in New York. They were very wealthy. They had all their belongings on the ship, but nothing was insured."

Mrs Haisman's last memory of her father was of him smoking a cigar and sipping brandy as they were lowered into the lifeboat.

"It was very cold and the lifeboat leaked," Mrs Pincott said. "She could hear screaming and there were dead bodies everywhere, like in the movie.

"Once I watched the movie it became more real to me."

Mrs Haisman later migrated to Australia to live with her 10 children. After a few years in Queensland she moved back to Southampton.

In 1993, Mrs Haisman received a gold watch, thought to be her father's, which had been discovered during a diving expedition on the Titanic wreck.

Three years later, at 99 years of age, she travelled on a cruise ship to the location of the disaster and laid a rose in the Atlantic Ocean where Mrs Haisman last saw her father. Mrs Haisman died in 1997, aged 100.

"Even to this day, I still see my grandmother on TV talking about Titanic," Mrs Pincott said. "I've always wondered why there was such a big interest in the Titanic - there's been lots of disasters over the years but this one seems to have stuck."

I've always wondered why there was such a big interest in the Titanic - there's been lots of disasters over the years but this one seems to have stuck.

Granddaughter of the longest living survivor of the Titanic Dawn Pincott of Camira. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Granddaughter of the longest living survivor of the Titanic Dawn Pincott of Camira. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

A piece of the Titanic wreck now sits tucked away in the Pincott home, a reminder of the family's secret.

David Haisman, Mrs Pincott's uncle, last year produced a book about Edith Haisman's story.

"When I was in hospital last year, the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, I saw her on TV," Mrs Pincott said. "The nurse was talking me and I was telling her: 'Shush, that's my grandmother'."

Topics:  big read, opinion, titanic




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