Titanic and the Guntur connection

Titanic and the Guntur connection

Revisiting the 1912 disaster Lata Jain Few know that the legendary ship Titanic that sank 101 years ago on April 14 had a Guntur connection.A It...

Revisiting the 1912 disaster Lata Jain titanicFew know that the legendary ship Titanic that sank 101 years ago on April 14 had a Guntur connection.A It was on April 10, 1912, that the Titanic, largest ship afloat, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. The White Star Line had spared no expense in assuring her luxury. She was touted as the safest ship ever built, so safe that she carried only 20 lifeboats - enough to provide accommodation for only half her 2,200 passengers and crew. Four days into her journey, at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg. Her fireman compared the sound of the impact to "the tearing of calico, nothing more." However, the collision was fatal and the icy water soon poured through the ship. It became obvious that many would not find safety in a lifeboat. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short when exposed to water four degrees below freezing. As the forward portion of the ship sank deeper, passengers scrambled to the stern. Titanic sunk at 2.20am on April 15th. The sinking of the ship resulted in deaths of 1,514 people. About 710 people survived this disaster; they were rescued by RMS Carpathian and were conveyed to New York, the destination where Titanic was supposed to arrive. The ship carried total of 2,223 people. The Titanic had an AP connection, specifically Guntur, as well as to Chattisgarh. Allen Oliver Becker's family journeyed from Guntur to London and boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912. Allen Becker, her father, hailed from Springfield, Ohio, and met Nellie, the daughter of a photographer, at Wittenberg University, where they both studied, he at the School of Divinity. Shortly after they were married in 1898, the United Lutheran Church posted Allen Becker to work in an orphanage in Guntur. Three of their four children were born in India. Their eldest child Ruth spent the first 12 years of her life in India and apparently loved it. Nellie and her three children, who occupied the F-4 cabin as second class passengers (their tickets cost 39 pounds each) on the 882-foot long, 46,328-tonne ship, were four of the 710 survivors (apart from three dogs). The family had boarded the ship before noon on April 10 at Southampton, after a short stopover in London. Nestled in the remote area of Chhattisgarh, Janjgir-Champa is a town hardly anyone would believe to have sent a passenger for the luxury liner 'Titanic'. Janjgir-Champa sent a passenger, a missionary Annie Clemmer Funk. She was among the 1500 souls who perished onboard Titanic. Annie was on her way to visit her ailing mother in America. Annie arrived in India as a Mennonite missionary in 1906 from America and served in Janjgir-Champa on her mission. In 1908, she opened a one-room school and hostel for poor girls and taught 17 students initially. She also learnt Hindi during her India stay. The school was later renamed as Annie C Funk Memorial School. The story of Annie is equally heartbreaking as that of the liner. From Janjgir-Champa, Annie reached Mumbai via rail and boarded a ship for England. She was to take 'SS Haverford' from Southampton for America, but the ship was laid off because of a strike by coal labourers. She was offered to change her ticket for Titanic for 13 pounds. Annie bought a second class ticket, whose number was 237671. Among all ship sinking, Titanic got the prime focus because of her technological excellence and her appellation 'unsinkable'. Maybe this incident was the reminder of Almighty that we are merely His creation and we are not supposed to have the audacity to say the word 'unsinkable'.
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