Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frank Winnold PRENTICE-Titanic survivor, born Downham Market, Norfolk

Frank Prentice-survivor
Today's posting is a diversion from my family tree, although the person it describes was born in my town.

Frank Winnold PRENTICE was born in Downham Market, Norfolk on 17 Feb 1889.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4th April 1912, he gave his address as 71 Denzil Avenue, Southampton. He transferred from the Celtic. As an Assistant Storekeeper he received monthly wages of £3 15s.

At the time of the collision, Prentice was in his berth on the port side of E deck (a cabin he shared with 5 other kitchen storekeepers) sitting in his bunk talking to another storekeeper. He didn't notice anything strange other than the ship stopping. He went up onto the promenade deck to survey the scene and saw the forward well deck covered in ice. 

He either helped to load the lifeboats or watched the loading, but later in the night he ended up on the poop deck chatting with his mates. 

Cyril Ricks-victim
When the poop deck became crowded with people, Prentice, with his colleagues Cyril Ricks and Michael Kieran, climbed over the port side railing and jumped into the icy water. He found Ricks was injured, and floating nearby, and stayed with the man until Ricks died. Prentice began swimming and found Lifeboat 4, where the crew and women in the boat pulled him in.  He had earlier helped a wealthy Los Angeles socialite put on her life jacket. She was in lifeboat 4 and recognised him after he had been picked up and wrapped her coat round him – helping him to live.

Prentice signed-on to the Oceanic on 10 July 1912. He later recalled that he was on board when one of Titanic's lifeboats was found drifting in mid-Atlantic. He was the only one of the five Norfolk survivors to cross the Atlantic again.  

Here are two clips from interviews. Frank features in both videos.His memories are strong, and he still feels the pain after all these years.


Shortly before his death  Frank Prentice told his story in a British documentary Titanic: A Question of Murder. He died on 30 May 1982 at the age of 92


SheilaMatilda said...

What an interesting story Sheila. I must check to see if anybody from my part if the world was on the Titanic.

Twiggy said...

How proud you must feel that someone from your town survived this awful tragedy. I was very interested in the old ladies account of what she saw and heard.