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Irish Photographer Francis Browne and his lucky escape from the RMS Titanic …..

Francis Browne's pictures of the Titanic April 14th 1912

Francis Browne’s pictures of the Titanic
April 14th 1912

Francis Browne’s Finest Pictures

In 1985 an Edward O’Donnell was searching in the basement at the Irishjesuit Provincial’s House when he came across a large black metal trunk, in it he found a large colletion of negative albums, photographs and most amazingly of all an album containing photographs of Titanic’s voyage.

All these photographs were the work of Francis Browne who died in 1960 and was almost forgotten by this time. Subsequent investigations revealed he had enjoyed worldwide fame in 1912 when his photographs of the Titanic’s journey to Cobh were published worldwide. He had travelled first class to Cobh having been given a ticket by his uncle Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. His remarkable pictures proved to be unique.

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So it was that Frank was presented with a first class ticket for the Maiden Voyage of the Titanic to bring him as far as Cobh. The morning of the 12th.April 1912 he arrived at Waterloo Station in London to catch the Titanic Special. He immediately started taking photographs, first recording the train journey and then life aboard the Titanic on the initial section of the voyage. Having made friends with a wealthy American family he was offered a ticket for the remaining part of the journey and no doubt excitedly telegraphed a request for permission to go on to New York, to which he received the terse response “Get Off That Ship——Provincial!” That telegram not only saved Frank’s life but also meant that this unique record of the voyage was saved for posterity and guaranteed overnight fame for Frank Browne.

Browne later described the event as “the only time holy obedience saved a man’s life.”

“Get Off That Ship——Provincial!” – I guess many have wondered about this instruction ? , its almost prophetic in its nature – I guess we will never know how or why it was such a strong and clear order . I think it relates to the fact that while many embraced the new-world of 1912 technology, many also stood in fear of it and in this case clearly for good reason.

Frank Browne , April 1912 – Titanic Gallery

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Boarding the Titanic

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Fujifilm X100
Titanic Museum, Cobh, County Cork
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

This small pier that now looks well past its best days, helped transport one hundred and twenty three passengers from the white star line booking hall at Cobh/queenstown county cork on to small ferry’s and then on to the HMS Titanic before she set sail to New York.

This is the list of Titanic Passenger boarding at queenstown (11 April 1912 a:10:30am d:13:40pm) on that day. While visiting the museum and Pier you cannot help but feel the moment when these people boarded their boats and looked back at the harbour of Queenstown as they headed towards the Titanic. At the time of course they were only looking forward to a new life or the great experiences that they had ahead of themselves.

We however cannot help but view these moments in a different light….

In the above passenger listing, If the passenger survived the events that followed they are listed in the boat number that they were found in, if they didn’t they are listed as a body or if they were not found they have no entry in the last two columns.

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Fujifilm X100
Fishing Harbour, Cobh, County Cork
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

white star line Cobh cork 2
Fujifilm X100
View of Cobh, County Cork
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Titanic the boat
Fujifilm X100
Titanic Museum, Cobh, County Cork
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington