I urged them to leave their work. They shook their heads and continued at their work. It might have been an inrush of water later that cut off their escape, or it may have been the explosion. I saw them no more.
Albert Theissinger
Steward aboard R.M.S. Titanic and survivor 
 
Although the drama of one of the greatest maritime disasters -- the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic -- was played out over the course of just a few hours, the tragic event has captivated our imaginations for decades. What few remember, however, is that Titanic was more than the largest and most luxurious vessel of her time. She was also an “R.M.S.,” a “Royal Mail Ship.”

During Titanic’s frantic final hours on April 15, 1912, Titanic’s postal clerks, along with steward Albert Theissinger and several others, desperately tried to save the 200 sacks of registered mail by dragging them to the upper decks and possible safety. Theissinger was the only survivor to recall seeing the mail clerks alive. When he finally abandoned the seemingly suicidal task, the five mail clerks -- Americans Oscar Scott Woody, John Starr March, and William Logan Gwinn and British postal workers James Bertram Williamson and John Richard Jago Smith -- were still frantically at work, sloshing waist-deep in freezing water.

 
Oscar Scott
Woody
John Starr
March
William Logan
Gwinn

[artist's representation]
James Bertram Williamson
John Richard Jago Smith
 
None of the sea post clerks survived Titanic’s fatal collision with the iceberg.

This exhibition is dedicated to their memory. 

 
 
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