Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Incredible Story of the Titanic Orphans: Two Brothers Put on the Last Lifeboat by Father Who Died in Disaster in 1912

On April 15, 1912 the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg and more than 1,500 perished in the tragedy. Of the 710 survivors there were two young boys aged 2 and 4, the only children to be rescued without a parent or guardian.

The little Navratil children, also known as the “Titanic Orphans.” Michel, 4, and Edmond, 2, were traveling on Titanic with their father under the false surname “Hoffman.”

After separating from and losing custody of his two young boys to his wife Marcelle, Michel Navratil decided to take his boys and emigrate to America. While his boys were staying with him over the Easter holiday, he traveled with them from France to England where he boarded Titanic under the alias “Louis M. Hoffman, ” a widower. While onboard the Ship, this second-class passenger kept to himself as much as possible to avoid conversation with others, and only let the boys out of his sight once.

After Titanic’s collision Mr. Navratil wrapped up Michel and Edmond warmly and placed them in Collapsible D. Once on Carpathia, it was discovered the boys spoke no English and had no parent or guardian with them. First-Class passenger Margaret Hays volunteered to take both boys to her home in New York and keeping them together until family members could be contacted and arrangements made.

Back in France their mother, Marcelle, did not know the whereabouts of her boys until she saw their picture in the newspaper. After identifying herself as the boys’ mother, the White Star Line gave Marcelle passage to New York on Olympic where she reunited with her boys. They returned to France on the Oceanic.

Michel Navratil’s body was recovered from the ocean and identified as Louis M. Hoffman. Presumed to be of Jewish descent because of his name, he was buried in the Baron de Hirsch Cemetery in Halifax.

'Louis and Lola': Michel and Edmond Navratil were the only children to be rescued from the Titanic without a parent or guardian..

Louis & Lola ?-- TITANIC survivors. Photos taken before the 'orphans' of the Titanic were fully identified. The boys are French brothers Michel (age 4) and Edmond Navratil (age 2). To board the ship, their father assumed the name Louis Hoffman and used their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon.

The boys were among the lucky ones, making it onto the last lifeboat to leave the Titanic. Sadly their father did not survive.

Carpathia’s Captain Arthur Rostron found 'only a sea covered with wreckage and debris' where the Titanic had sunk - but crucially he found the lifeboats and took on board their exhausted passengers.

The pair were reunited with mother Marcelle when she sailed to New York City after seeing the newspaper articles about them - which included their photographs.

Mme. Navratil & sons. 1912 May 16 (date taken or published later by the Bain News Service)

Michel Navratil was travelling under the name of Louis M. Hoffman.

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