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Jack Thayer

Jack Thayer
Jack Thayer aged 17, 1912
Born John Borland Thayer III
(1894-12-24)December 24, 1894
Philadelphia, U.S.
Died September 20, 1945(1945-09-20) (aged 50)
Philadelphia, U.S.
Spouse(s) Lois Cassatt (?-1945) (his death)
Children 5

John Borland "Jack" Thayer III (December 24, 1894 – September 20, 1945) was a first-class passenger on the RMS Titanic who provided several first-hand accounts of the disaster.


  • RMS Titanic 1
  • Later life 2
  • Death 3
  • Further reading 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

RMS Titanic

Jack Thayer was the son of John Borland Thayer, Jr., the vice-president and director of the [2]

Jack woke his parents, who accompanied him back to the port side of the ship. Noticing that the Titanic was developing a list to port, they returned to their rooms and put on warmer clothes and life vests. They returned to the deck, but Jack lost sight of his parents and after searching for them, assumed they had boarded a lifeboat.[2]

Jack soon encountered [2]

Eventually, as the ship was sinking quickly, the two men decided to jump and attempt to swim to safety. Milton went first; it was the last time Jack ever saw him. Once in the water, Jack reached an improperly launched and overturned collapsible lifeboat. Too exhausted to save himself, he was pulled from the water.[1] He and a number of other men were able to balance on the boat for some hours. He later recalled that the cries of hundreds of people in the water reminded him of the high-pitched hum of locusts in his native [2]

After spending the night on the overturned collapsible, Jack was picked up by [2] Jack's father did not get to a lifeboat and died.

Nearly all those who lived did so by boarding lifeboats. Jack was one of only about 40 survivors of those who jumped or fell into the water.[1]

Later life

Thayer went on to graduate from the [2] Thayer was among those who clearly reported seeing the Titanic break in two, as was finally confirmed by the discovery of the wreck. Thayer's account is sometimes included jointly with the memoirs of the disaster by fellow survivor Archibald Gracie IV in modern editions of Gracie's book Titanic: A Survivor's Story.


During World War II, both of Jack's sons enlisted in the armed services. Edward, a bomber pilot, was listed as missing and presumed dead after his plane was shot down in 1943 in the Pacific theatre. His body was never recovered. When the news reached Thayer, he became extremely depressed. Thayer's mother Marian died on April 14, 1944, the 32nd anniversary of the Titanic's collision with the iceberg. Her loss seemed to push him even further into a downward spiral and he committed suicide on September 20, 1945.[3] He was found in an automobile at 48th Street and Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia, his throat and wrists cut. He is buried at the Church of the Redeemer Cemetery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Thayer was the financial vice president of the University of Pennsylvania at the time of his death.[4]

Further reading

  • Titanic: A Survivor's Story and the Sinking of the S.S. Titanic by Archibald Gracie IV and Jack Thayer, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1988 ISBN 0-89733-452-3
  • Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN 0-393-03697-9
  • A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord, ed. Nathaniel Hilbreck, Owl Books, rep. 2004, ISBN 0-8050-7764-2

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Philip Sherwell (March 26, 2012). "'"Down and down I went, spinning.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Biography - Encyclopedia TitanicaTitanicMr John Borland Jr. Thayer -
  3. ^ Marshall, Logan. "Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters". Project Gutenburg. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ "JOHN B. THAYER 3D FOUND DEAD IN CAR; Philadelphia Leader's Throat and Wrists Cut—Had Grieved Over Son's Death in War". The New York Times. September 22, 1945. 

External links

  • Encyclopedia Titanica article on John Borland Thayer III
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