Phillips Flashback: “…the largest & most luxurious vessel afloat had gone down…”

1912 travel journal of Duncan Phillips

Phillips used this 1912 yearbook journal as his travel journal for his three month trip abroad which coincided with the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Journal HH, The Phillips Collection Archives

As the Titanic meets its horrific fate in the waters of the North Atlantic on Monday, April 15, 1912, Duncan Phillips is aboard another ship in the ocean, nearing its destination of Antwerp. Of the event, he writes in his journal:

We were in communication with several ships- but never heard or were told of the disaster to the Titanic. It was not until we got to the Hotel San Antoine in Antwerp that we heard that the largest & most luxurious vessel afloat had gone down with over a thousand human lives, some of them known to us personally and many by reputation. The accident occurred on Sunday after we had left Plymouth. When we were near the banks of Newfoundland we commented on the cold & penetrating dampness, but never sighted nor heard news of any icebergs around. The Titanic however was taking a northerly course trying to  make fast time on her trial trip. We disembarked our English passengers at Plymouth instead of Dover on Sunday morning. We passed Dover towards evening, and landed at Antwerp  Tuesday April 16th at 2 p.m. having had to wait for the tide.

At the bottom of this entry, he lists a few of the casualties known to him at the time.

Among the dead
J.J. Astor – Wm Stead – Archie Butte – Clarence Moore – Widener – Isidor Straus
Captain Smith who was in command of the Olympic when we returned on her last summer

Journal pages including Phillips's knowledge of the sinking of the Titanic

Duncan Phillips's entry for his trans-Atlantic journey. He summarized his time on the USS Finland at the beginning of this 1912 yearbook, disregarding the printed dates. Journal HH, The Phillips Collection Archives

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