Titanic Passengers Who Survived the Sinking and Then Committed Suicide
For some passengers who survived, the traumatic memories of the Titanic disaster may have been too much to bear. Several Titanic survivors eventually committed suicide. Did they kill themselves because of the Titanic disaster? Some almost certainly did, but others ended their lives after seemingly less significant events.
Six months after the Titanic sank, on October 10, 1912, Annie Robinson, who had been a stewardess on the Titanic, threw herself overboard from the steamship Devonian after hearing its foghorn blow in Boston Harbor.
Dr. Washington Dodge
Dr. Washington Dodge shot himself in the head on June 30, 1919. Dr. Dodge was reportedly under investigation in a Watergate-type corruption probe, and it’s not likely that traumatic memories of the Titanic disaster had much to do with his decision to commit suicide.
Dr. Henry William Frauenthal
On March 11, 1927, Dr. Henry William Frauenthal jumped from the seventh-floor window of a hospital, killing himself. Here’s a brief bit of background: Frauenthal was a big guy, and when he jumped into a Titanic lifeboat, he broke the ribs of the woman passenger he landed on.
Juha Niskanen was a third-class survivor on his way from Finland to Boston when the Titanic sank. He eventually moved to California to pan for gold. After failing to find gold, on August 13, 1927, he set his cabin on fire and then killed himself.
John B. (Jack) Thayer
John B. Thayer was found on September 22, 1945, with his wrists and throat cut — self-inflicted wounds. Thayer, a member of an old Philadelphia family and 17 at the time of the Titanic disaster, survived the sinking on an overturned lifeboat. His mother also survived, but his father died in the sinking.
According to his longtime friend Governor John C. Bell, Jr., as told to the Philadelphia Inquirer, at the time of his death “Mr. Thayer had been suffering from a nervous breakdown during the last two weeks. ‘The breakdown,’ Mr. Bell explained, ‘was due, I believe, to worrying about the death of his son, Edward C. Thayer, who was killed in the service.’”
John Morgan Davies, Jr.
The death of John Morgan Davies, Jr., by deliberate barbiturate overdose, was reported in the December 17, 1951, Daily Mining Gazette. The paper stated that he “died suddenly in Detroit Sunday morning.” In the article, they acknowledged his experience in surviving the Titanic disaster. Many reports of his death claim he was despondent over a divorce.
Phyllis Jane Quick
Three-year-old Phyllis Jane Quick arrived home in Detroit after surviving the sinking of the Titanic in Lifeboat 11 with her mother, Jane. Jane Quick went on to travel the country and tell audiences of her and her children’s experiences aboard the Titanic. Phyllis grew up and went to work for the phone company. She married, had four children, and lived in the same place for 40 years. On March 15, 1954, at the age of 45, she shot herself in the head.
At age 16, Frederick Fleet he began his career at sea. Nine years later, he was the lookout the night the Titanic struck the iceberg and was the one who shouted, “Iceberg right ahead.” Fleet returned to the sea and served briefly on the Olympic and other ships before retiring in 1936 at the age of 49. All his life, he saved his Seaman’s Discharge Book, of which his time on the Titanic took up only two lines: “Discharged at sea. Destination intended for New York.” After working a variety of menial jobs, Fleet ultimately sold newspapers on a corner in Southampton, England, and drank alone in pubs. On December 28, 1964, Fleet’s wife died, and her brother, with whom they lived, told Fleet he had to leave the house. Fleet hanged himself in the garden two days later.