Mary Sloan, Titanic Survivor

People with the last name of Sloan are almost all Irish, although a few are Scots. This fact, which I have always known, was verified when somebody set up a Sloan Family e-mail group, and almost all of us turned out to be Irish.

My own ancestors came from Stewartstown, which is in Northern Ireland, near Belfast, where the Titanic was built.

A member of the Sloan family survived the Titanic. Little is known about her, except that her name was Mary Sloan and she was from Belfast. She worked as a stewardess on the ship. No one seems to know what ever happened to her.

I do know that she bears a remarkable resemblance to my own daughter, whose name also happens to be Mary Sloan.
Mary Sloan, who survived the Titanic
Mary Sloan, my daughter

Here is what one source says about her:

"Miss Mary Sloan came from Belfast.

"After the collision Mary saw Dr. O'Loughlin and he confided to her that 'Child, things are very bad'. She also met Thomas Andrews who advised her 'It is very serious, but keep the bad news quiet, for fear of panic.'

"Mary Sloan was standing by one of the boats which was being filled (probably Lifeboat 16). Thomas Andrews recognized her and asked why she was still there. She replied, 'All my friends are staying behind. It would be mean to go.' Andrews said, 'It would be mean for you not to go. You must get in.' Miss Sloan finally assented and was aboard the boat when it left the ship."

There was also a Peter Sloan on the Titanic. He was the Chief Electrician and was from Liverpool. He did not survive, but went down with the ship. I have a son named Peter Sloan, too!

My son, Peter Sloan, does not resemble the Peter Sloan who died on the Titanic.

Peter Sloan, who died on the Titanic
Peter Sloan, my son

UPDATE: I am discovering that there are dozens of references to Mary Sloan. It seems that almost every author who has written about the Titanic has used her letters about the sinking as a source. In the acknowledgments section of the book "Her Name, Titanic" by Charles Pellegrino, the author writes "The Andrews' impressions of each other, and Thomas Andrews affection for his ship, are derived from stewardess Mary Sloan's account of Thomas Andrews during the maiden voyage."

Mary Sloan was a stewardess who was one of the first to know that the ship was sinking. She went around waking up passengers. She pulled life jackets out from the cargo bins and she helped passengers board the lifeboats. At the very end, when suddenly the danger was realized and there was a crush of people trying to get on, Mary Sloan was literally pushed onto the lifeboat. The ship sunk immediately after she got on and she was apparently the last to leave the ship (not counting those who survived by climbing onto collapsible lifeboats which floated off the Titanic as she went down).

A letter by Mary Sloan to her sister is in the preface to the book: "Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters" - Violet Jessop, John Maxtone-Graham; Hardcover.

The book "Her Name, Titanic" by Charles Pellegrino describes going down in a submersible and seeing the Titanic at the bottom. He writes: "The sub circled the bridge and turned around on the liner's port side, passing beneath the davit for collapsible D - Mary Sloan's Boat, the last boat down." (Page 166).

The account quoted above that Thomas Andrews recognized her and asked why she was still there does not accord with her own account in her letter to her sister. In her letter to her sister, Mary Sloan wrote that immediately after the collusion with the iceberg, Dr. Simpson rather than Dr. O'Loughlin told her that things were very bad. He then went off to see if there were any injuries. She never saw him again.

In her own account, she says that, while helping passengers board the lifeboats, she was literally pushed on the boat by the crush of passengers behind her.

This was confirmed by the testimony of Witness Edward John Buley, Able Seaman and British Royal Navy Veteran from Itchen, England, who testified in the Hearings before a Subcommittee on Commerce United States Senate, page 262:

SENATOR FLETCHER: Were any ladies on the deck when you left?

MR. BULEY: No, sir. Ours was the last boat up there, and they went around and called to see if there were any, and they threw them in the boat at the finish, because they didn't like the idea of coming in.

SENATOR FLETCHER: Pushed them in, you mean?

MR. BULEY: Threw them in. One young lady slipped, and they caught her by the foot on the deck below, and she came up then and jumped in."

All sources agree on one point: Mary Sloan was the last person to board a lifeboat, before the Titanic sank.

One reason she is not better known is that she turned around and went back to England immediately after she reached New York on the Carpathia. All of the Titanic crew members, with the exception of the officers, were sent back to England on the Lapland after staying only one day in America. They were paid about three pounds (twelve dollars) for their entire voyage. She arrived in England on April 28 on the S.S. Lapland.

Sam Sloan

Here is: The Letter which Mary Sloan wrote to her sister Maggie about the Titanic sinking. This letter seems to be one of the primary sources for information about the Titanic disaster.

At 08:32 PM 2/5/99 +0100, James Carlisle ( ) wrote:


My name is Jim Carlisle and I have a very big interest in the Titanic. This I have had all my life mostly because My Grandad was one of the people who built her. My Dad worked in the Shipyard as well for over forty years. I have a lot of information about Titanic on my web site if you would like to read it.

Being from Northern Ireland (I live in Norway now) I know a lot of Sloans, as you know you name is Northern Irish and Scottish.

Well Mary Sloan, she lived in Kerrsland Terrace in Belfast with her mother and two sisters. She used May as her name (same as my Mum). One of her sisters married and moved to Bangor, County Down. This is who she wrote the letter to.

Mary was also a stewardess on the Olympic when it collided with HMS Hawke.

She is the person who saw Thomas Andrews in the smoking room ( this everyone believes is where he remained, but Mary Sloan said that she saw him later throwing deck chairs overboard and helping women and children into the lifeboats.

I hope this information is of some help to you.

PS. There was no mummy aboard the Titanic!

All the best

James (Jim) Alexander Carlisle

Titanic wasn't a disaster, what happened to her was

Sam Sloan wrote:

Thank you so much for your letter.

Do you happen to know if she ever married, had children and when she died?

Sam Sloan

At 12:53 PM 2/6/99 +0100, James Carlisle wrote:

Hello Sam,

I'm not sure, I'll be over in Belfast in April for the Annual Titanic Dinner and I'll try and find out more for you.


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