Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic Disaster: The farrier who went down with the world's greatest ship

It was a big newsday when the world learned that the ship hailed as "unsinkable"
had indeed sunk in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg on April 16, 1912.

We're hearing so much this weekend about the sinking of the Titanic, as the world marks the 100th anniversary of the terrible tragedy: the unsinkable cruise ship hit an iceberg and--since it was unprepared for the possibility of sinking--1500 lives were lost.

At least one farrier went down with that very big ship.

George Henry Green was a 40-year-old farrier who had been shoeing in the town of Dorking in Surrey, England. He was emigrating to South Dakota and was a third-class passenger on the Titanic. Not long before the ship hit the iceberg, he had sent a post card home, saying that he was enjoying "lovely sailing".

Farrier George Green, from
As a third-class passenger, George may well have been locked below deck when the ship's crew received orders to seal the lower-paying passengers' fate. You hear so much about the Strausses and the Astors and other first-class passengers yet we know so little about those poor people belowdecks who met one of the worst fates imaginable.

They didn't have a chance of escape and possibly never even knew what hit the ship or what was going on above them.

Out of 599 third-class passengers, only 172 survived. And George wasn't among them.

Here's a horse-related trivia fact about the Titanic; The first lifeboat to be lowered was manned by Titanic crew member James Robert McGough, the son of an Irish horseshoer who had emigrated to Philadelphia.

And did you know that it took 20 draft horses to pull one of Titanic's 15-ton anchors through Belfast to the shipyard on a wagon?

George Green's body was never recovered from the icy North Atlantic but his name appears on the grave of his sister in Fawley Churchyard, Buckinghamshire, England. Thanks to Roger Marks for finding the grave, taking this photo and giving permission to share it on The Hoof Blog: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by R~P~M

Were there horses aboard the Titanic? It depends whom you ask. Some sources say there were polo ponies aboard, and there's an unverified story about a German racehorse who had a private paddock on C deck.

Other people to think about include Charles Robert Bainbrigge, a 23-year-old horse trainer from the island of Guernsey who was traveling to Savage's International Stock Farm in Minnesota for work to be near his sister who had already moved to Minnesota.

There are also two passengers who listed their professionals as grooms.

Sometimes tragedies just sound like a lot of numbers, but there are people in those numbers. People like you and me.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for Honoring the horse's and the people who loved them, during this very sad 100th anniversary. May they not be forgotten.