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Frank John William Goldsmith

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Frank John William Goldsmith

Frank John William Goldsmith
Born (1902-12-19)19 December 1902
Strood, Kent, England
Died 27 January 1982(1982-01-27) (aged 79)
Orlando, Florida, United States
Spouse(s) Victoria Agnes née Lawrence
  • James Richard "Jim" Goldsmith
  • Charles Barton "Charlie" Goldsmith
  • Frank Goldsmith II
  • Frank J. Goldsmith (Sr.)
  • Emily Alice née Brown
Relatives Albert John "Bertie" Goldsmith (brother, 1905-1911)

Frank John William Goldsmith (19 December 1902 — 27 January 1982), was a young third-class passenger of the RMS Titanic and a survivor of the sinking in 1912. He later wrote a book about his experiences on the ship,[1] which featured in the documentary, Titanic: The Legend Lives On.

Early life

Frank with his parents and younger brother, Bertie, around 1907

Frank Goldsmith [Jr.] was born in Strood, Kent, the eldest child of Frank and Emily (née Brown) Goldsmith.[2] His father was originally from Tonbridge. His parents married sometime between October and December 1901,[3] and Frank arrived the following December. In early 1905, he was joined by a younger brother, Albert John "Bertie" Goldsmith, who died in late 1911 of diphtheria.[4][5]


Master Goldsmith and his parents boarded the Titanic in Southampton as third-class passengers, en route to Detroit, Michigan. His father, a tool maker, was bringing his bag of tools with him, which were stored in the ship's hold. Accompanying them were Frank Sr.'s friend, Thomas Theobald, and Alfred Rush, the son of a family friend. Rush celebrated his sixteenth birthday on 14 April on board the ship, celebrating his transformation from a boy to a man as he no longer had to wear knickers, but was now to wear long pants.[6]

The 10-year-old Goldsmith spent his time on board the ship playing with a group of [6] Of these boys, only Goldsmith and Coutts would survive the sinking.

When the ship struck the iceberg late in the evening of 14 April 1912, Frank Sr. woke Emily and Goldsmith, and together with Theobold and Rush, they made their way to the forward end of the boat deck, where Collapsible C was being loaded. There was a ring of crewmen standing around it, letting only women and children pass through. Goldsmith wrote of the experience: "Mother and I then were permitted through the gateway, and the crewman in charge reached out to grasp the arm of Alfred Rush to pull him through because he must have felt that the young lad was not much older than me, and he was not very tall for his age, but Alfred had not been stalling. He jerked his arm out of the sailor's hand and with his head held high, said, and I quote, 'No! I'm staying here with the men.' At age 16, he died a hero."[1] Theobold gave Emily his wedding ring, asking if she would give it to his wife if he did not survive.[6][7] Goldsmith later recalled: "My dad reached down and patted me on the shoulder and said, 'So long, Frankie, I’ll see you later.' He didn’t and he may have known he wouldn’t."[8] Goldsmith Sr., Theobold, and Rush all died in the sinking. Of the three, only Theobold's body was recovered.

The young Goldsmith and his mother were rescued by the RMS Carpathia in Collapsible C. As the ship headed to New York City, in order to get his mind off of the sinking, Mrs. Goldsmith entrusted Frank into the care of a surviving Titanic firemen, Samuel Collins. While Mrs. Goldsmith was busy sewing clothes from blankets for women and children who had left the ship in only nightclothes, Frank accompanied Collins down to visit Carpathia‍ '​s stokers. They offered to make him an honorary seaman by having him drink a mixture of water, vinegar, and a whole raw egg. He proudly swallowed it in one go, and from then on, considered himself as a member of the ship's crew.[9] Goldsmith remembered fireman Collins telling him, "Don’t cry, Frankie, your dad will probably be in New York before you are."[1]

Later life

After arriving in New York, Goldsmith and his mother were housed by the Salvation Army, which provided train fare to reach their relatives in Detroit. They moved to a home near the newly opened Navin Field, home of the Detroit Tigers. Every time the crowd cheered during a home run, the sound reminded him of the screams of the dying passengers and crew in the water just after the ship sank; as a result he never took his children to baseball games.[1]

Growing up, Goldsmith still held on to the hope of his father's survival. It took him months to understand that he was really dead, but for years afterward, he used to tell himself, "I think another ship must have picked him up and one day he will come walking right through that door and say, 'Hello, Frankie.'"

Goldsmith married Victoria Agnes (nee Lawrence) in 1926,[10] and they had three sons: James Richard "Jim" Goldsmith (1927 - 2009),[11] who lived in Urbana, Ohio, Charles Barton "Charlie" Goldsmith,[10] from East Millinocket, Maine, now Mansfield, Ohio; and Frank Goldsmith II, who lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida.[12]

During World War II, Goldsmith served as a civilian photographer for the U.S. Air Force. After the war, he brought his family to Ashland, Ohio, and later opened a photography supply store in nearby Mansfield.

In 1991, Goldsmith wrote an autobiography entitled Echoes in the Night: Memories of a Titanic Survivor and published by the Titanic Historical Society. Walter Lord wrote the foreword to it, which is the only book about the sinking written by a third-class passenger.[13]

Goldsmith died at his home in 1982 at age 79. Several months after his death, on April 15, the anniversary of the sinking, his ashes were scattered over the North Atlantic, above the place where the Titanic rests, reuniting him with his father in death. Ruth Becker and Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall also had their remains scattered there.[14]

A 1977 clip of Goldsmith describing his Titanic experience can be see in the 1995 IMAX film Titanica; survivor Eva Hart is also featured.

Members of the Goldsmith Family still share the remarkable story of Frank Goldsmith with classrooms, organizations, and media groups to ensure the story of this family is remembered. Tom Goldsmith travels across the country and throughout Ohio discussing the Titanic and his grandfather's story (Tom is the son of Charles Barton "Charlie" Goldsmith). Ross Goldsmith, grandson of James Richard "Jim" Goldsmith, often speaks about his great grandfather's time on the Titanic and what life was like for passengers in Third Class, all around Central Ohio and throughout Columbus.


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  3. ^ England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  4. ^ England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  5. ^ Mrs Emily Alice Goldsmith Encyclopedia Titanica
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ "More About Frank J. Goldsmith" at Titanic Historical Society
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^ Book report on Frank Goldsmith and later life Encyclopedia Titanica
  13. ^
  14. ^ Titanic Today: Exhibition of Titanic Artifacts

External links

  • Fate-filled voyage
  • The Titanic Historical Society Presents the Frank J. Goldsmith Collection

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