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John Borland "Jack" Thayer III (December 24, 1894 - September 20, 1945) was an American first-class passenger on the RMS Titanicmarker from Philadelphiamarker who provided several first-hand accounts of the disaster.

Aboard the RMS Titanic

17 years old at the time, Jack Thayer boarded the Titanic along with his father John Borland Thayer and his mother, Marian. Jack occupied cabin C-70 while his parents occupied C-68.

Shortly after 11:40 p.m. on 14 April 1912, Jack noticed that he could no longer feel a breeze streaming through his half-open porthole. He did not recall feeling the ship's collision with the iceberg. He dressed and went to A deck on the port side to see what had happened. Finding nothing, he walked to the bow, where he could faintly make out ice on the forward well deck.

Jack woke his parents, who accompanied him back to the port side of the ship. Noticing that the Titanic was developing a list to port, they returned to their rooms and put on warmer clothes and life vests. They returned to the deck, but Jack lost sight of his parents and after searching for them, assumed they had boarded a lifeboat.

Jack soon encountered Milton Long, a fellow passenger he had met hours before over coffee. Both Milton and Jack tried to board a lifeboat but were denied because they were men. Jack then proposed to jump off the ship, as he was a good swimmer. However, Milton was not and advised Jack against it.

Eventually, as the ship was sinking quickly, the two men decided to jump and attempt to swim to safety. Milton went first; it was the last time Jack saw him. Once in the water, Jack reached an improperly launched and overturned collapsible lifeboat, on which he and a number of other men were able to balance for some hours. He later recalled that the cries of hundreds of people in the water reminded him of the high-pitched hum of locusts in his native Pennsylvaniamarker.

After spending the night on the overturned collapsible, Jack was picked up by Lifeboat 12. He was so distraught and freezing that he did not notice his mother in nearby Lifeboat 4, nor did she notice him. Lifeboat 12 finally made its way to the rescue ship RMS Carpathia at 8:30 a.m. Jack's father did not board a lifeboat and died in the sinking.

After the sinking

After the sinking, Thayer went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvaniamarker. He married Lois Cassatt, daughter of Edward B. Cassatt and Emily L. Phillips. Her grandfather was Alexander Cassatt, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The couple had two sons, Edward and John IV. In 1940 he described his experiences with the Titanic sinking in vivid detail in a self-published pamphlet. Oceanographer Robert Ballard used it to determine the location of the Titanic and proved that the ship had split in half as it sank, contrary to popular belief..

During World War II, both of Jack's children enlisted in the armed services. Edward was killed in 1945 in the Pacific theatre. When the news reached Thayer, he became extremely depressed and committed suicide on September 20, 1945. He had shot himself in the head and was found in an automobile at 48th and Parkside Ave. He is buried at the Church of the Redeemer Cemetery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvaniamarker. Thayer was the financial vice president of the University of Pennsylvaniamarker at the time of his death. [408927]

Further reading

  • Titanic: A Survivor's Story and the Sinking of the S.S. Titanic by Archibald Gracie IV and Jack Thayer, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1988 ISBN 0-89733-452-3
  • Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN 0-393-03697-9
  • A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord, ed. Nathaniel Hilbreck, Owl Books, rep. 2004, ISBN 0-8050-7764-2


References

  1. Mr John Borland Jr. Thayer - Titanic Biography - Encyclopedia Titanica

External links




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