Newly Discovered Titanic Love Letter Reveals Close-Call Collision Days Before Disaster


Madison Dapcevich


Madison Dapcevich

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

Madison is a freelance science reporter and full-time fact-checker based in the wild Rocky Mountains of western Montana.

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

A 1912 engraving by Willy Stöwer depicts the Titanic sinking. Wikimedia Commons

A handwritten letter set to go up for auction later this month details the harrowing moment the doomed Titanic narrowly missed a collision with another boat just days before its 1912 catastrophic sinking in the frigid North Atlantic waters.

Written on Titanic stationary and sold with its original White Star Line envelope, Richard Gedde wrote his wife on April 10, 1912 – one day after the Titanic left its Southampton, UK port – describing a near-miss with a smaller vessel, the SS City of New York. The two came within feet of each other as the Titanic left the docks, at which point suction from the two boats caused ropes tying the SS City of New York to snap, nearly causing a major collision with the Titanic.


“We got away yesterday after a lot of trouble,” Gedde wrote. “As we were passing the New York and Oceanic the New York broke her ropes and very nearly ran into us, but we just happened to avoid a collision. I could see visions of Belfast it must have been a trying time for the Captain."

The letter was written on Titanic stationery. Henry Aldridge & Son

The ordeal was seen by hundreds of bystanders, according to Encyclopedia Titanica. Some believed the incident was a bad omen and possible indication of trouble ahead. However, had the collision happened, Fox News notes, it may have prevented the transatlantic journey that resulted in the vessel hitting an iceberg at 11:40pm on April 14, sinking just two hours later and perishing with it 1,500 passengers and crew members.  

The letter was mailed from Queenstown, Ireland, on April 11 when the Titanic picked up passengers. Along with a description of the close-call, Gedde writes to his wife with the touching affection of a husband missing his family and the reassurance that she's not to worry.

“Well sweetheart there is none of us got much of a show and there won't be much made on the outward journey but it won't matter as long as we get something good on the homeward one, well it cannot be helped we might be luckier next trip, now I hope you are feeling good and not worrying, because I think you needn't,” he wrote.


“How is my little sweetheart getting along I guess she misses me a wee bit, what do you think; This ship is going to be a good deal better than the Olympic at least I think so, steadier and everything up till now.”

Offered in the lot is a certificate confirming Gedde’s “supposed death” by drowning. It will go on sale with the letter, its original envelope, and two copies of photographs of Mr Gedde and his wife. Altogether, the auction site lists the estimated value at between £12000 and 18000. 

The original envelope sent with the letter. Henry Aldridge & Son
A certified extract relating to the death of a seaman gives official confirmation of his death in the Titanic disaster. Henry Aldridge & Son

[H/T: Fox News


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