Message from priest who sailed on the Titanic

A letter from a young seminarian who sailed on the Titanic for the first two days of her fateful voyage, has recently been discovered.

Fr Francis Browne SJ, then a student priest, boarded the ship in Southampton on April 8 1912. He disembarked two days later in Queenstown, Ireland.

During the trip he wrote a letter to his niece describing the luxury liner. "The Titanic," he wrote, "is grand, grander - grandest of all that I have ever seen. I have a delightful cabin all by itself on the top promenade deck with a lovely bathroom and dressing room attached. It is all upholstered in 'Old Rose du Barrie' and I have a nice bed. Lovely. Wish I was going the whole way."

Fr Browne then described a near miss that the liner had with another vessel. He writes: "I don't know if you saw it in the papers but we had the narrowest shave from an accident I ever saw. When we were moving very slowly down the waterway and while the tugs were still on to us, the suction set up by the passing of the Titanic was so great that the New York - a big American liner of 10,000 tons which was lying beside the quay - was drawn out and the cables snapped - with pistol shot reports - like bits of twine.

"Then she came drifting towards us at a tremendous pace and everyone thought it was all up with one or another of the ships. Such shouting and running and screaming!."

Fr Browne died in 1960. His letter, and a souvenir pincushion from the ship shaped like a liferaft are being sold soon by auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son from Devizes. They are expected to fetch between �40,000 and �60,000.

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