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“I Wish the ‘Titanic’ Were Lying at the Bottom of the Ocean”: Edgardo Samuel Andrew

"I Wish the 'Titanic' Were Lying at the Bottom of the Ocean": Edgardo Samuel Andrew

Edgardo Samuel Andrew was newly 17 years old when he boarded Titanic in Southampton.

He did not want to go.

Edgardo Andrew grew up on a cattle ranch called El Durazno, in Argentina.

He was born to English-immigrant parents, named Samuel and Annie, in March 1895. Edgardo was the second-to-last of eight children, but his younger brother died in infancy, making Edgardo the de facto baby of the family.

Samuel Andrew died in 1906, leaving Edgardo's older brother as administrator to both the business and his family.

It was commonly accepted practice for expatriate families to export their children for their schooling back home. And the Andrew family did just that.

So in 1911, in keeping with the tradition dictated by his siblings before him, Edgardo set off for school in Bournemouth, England. He went at the behest of his elder brother, Silvano.

Silvano had himself attended school back in Britain, where he studied marine engineering and steam engines over the course of six or seven years.

Silvano then returned to Buenos Aires and joined the Argentinian Navy.

He was thereafter shipped off to United States: first to Quincy, Massachusetts, and then New Jersey.

While there, Silvano began courting an affluent widow named Harriet White Fisher, and he eventually quit the Navy to work as an executive for Harriet's prominent company, called "Fisher and Norris Anvil Works."

It was well into the spring of 1912 when Edgardo received a letter from Silvano: he and Harriet Fisher were engaged to be married. And soon.

The wedding was scheduled for April 27, 1912, in New York.

Silvano wanted Edgardo to attend--not just as a guest at the wedding, but also to enjoy the bounty of American life, and possibly even work alongside him at the Anvil Works.

Edgardo, of course, accepted the invitation and booked immediate passage to New York from Southampton.

On board the R.M.S. Oceanic.

Edgardo's ship was scheduled to depart from the Southampton docks on April 17th, 1912, only ten days before the wedding.

He had not considered the coal strike, which had only recently ended on April 6th and was still impacting sea travel. It left most vessels without fuel for their scheduled routes.

Including the Oceanic.

Edgardo's ship was berthed indefinitely, moored alongside smaller vessels like the S.S. New York. And most likely, it had had its limited coal supply pilfered by its parent, the White Star Line.

To supply the maiden voyage of Titanic.

Edgardo felt he had no choice: to make it in time for his brother's wedding, he would have to depart England sooner than scheduled.

And so, he transferred his ticket to Titanic, which was set to leave a week earlier, on April 10th. It would afford him more time; and really, it was his only option.

Edgardo was displeased with the adjustment for a particular reason.

He had recently received a letter from a dear friend--often presumed to be a romantic interest, or even fiancee--back home in Argentina: a girl named Josefina Cowan.

Josefina wrote to Edgardo that she would soon be taking passage to England, and that she dearly hoped to see him.

But with his alternate passage on Titanic already booked, Edgardo had to dash both her hopes and his. He responded on April 8th.

"You can't imagine how sorry I am leaving without seeing you, but I've got to go and there's no other way...

When I received your first letter telling me you were coming... I was so happy about the news I could not think of anything else, and I was making every program... but sadly my anticipated programs will not come true..."

In that same letter, Edgardo expressed his bitterness toward what he felt was the sole impediment between himself and Josey: the necessity of his travel on Titanic.

The plain irony would become his epitaph.

"You figure Josey I had to leave on the 17th this (month) aboard the "Oceanic", but due to the coal strike that steamer cannot depart, so I have to go one week earlier on board the 'Titanic'. It really seems unbelievable that I have to leave a few days before your arrival, but there's no help for it, I've got to go. You figure, Josey, I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don't really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the 'Titanic' were lying at the bottom of the ocean."

And so, on April 10th, Edgardo rode the train to Southampton and embarked on Titanic. He held a Second-class ticket.

He was all alone.

His spirits seem to have lightened, however, once he had settled on board.

While Titanic steamed toward the port of Cherbourg that same afternoon, Edgardo popped into the barber shop and bought two postcards: one for his brother Wilfredo back home at El Durazno, and one for his friend in Italy.

Edgardo began the postcard to Wilfredo: "From this colossal ship I'm pleased to greet you."

On Titanic, Second-class passengers shared dining tables.

And so young Edgardo became friends with his table-mates. They were Jacob Milling, who was a railway machine inspector from Copenhagen, and Edwina Troutt, who was traveling to visit her sister.

Just like Edgardo, Edwina had likewise been inconvenienced by a transfer of passage from the lamed Oceanic.

Edgardo seemed to have spent a significant amount of time in the company of his new friends.

Edwina recalled that both Edgardo and Jacob wrote letters each morning. She also reported on conversations between them about how ardently Jacob missed his wife, and his excitement to send her a wireless message.

And according to Edwina, on the evening of April 14th, the trio was "in the Library talking over various things."

Edwina later wrote the following recollection about the actions of both Jacob Milling and Edgardo Andrew once Titanic struck the iceberg.

"I heard the ship make a stumbling noise, enough to wake me... [after the collision] I met only a few curious women & Mr Andrew. I tried to find out out what was the matter, & the officer told me, 'It's only an iceberg. ou must go back to your stateroom or you'll catch cold.'

...I saw them lower one lifeboat with no one in it & noticed the men were also uncovering another. I then realised something was the matter. I at once went to the state rooms of all my friends & told them to dress in case we were called up. Then I met Mr Milling & he said 'What is the trouble, Miss Trout? What does it all mean?' I said, 'A very sad parting for all of us. This ship is going to sink.' (Mr Andrew laughed at me & said impossible)

Mr Andrew & I then went looking for other friends & so many of them couldn't do anything for themselves so we helped them with their life preservers..."

In a spoken interview decades later, Edwina recalled that Edgardo had tried to convince her that the ship could not--and would not--go down.

Elsewhere, she reported that Edgardo even gave her his life vest.

Edgardo died in the sinking that night. His body, if ever recovered, went unidentified.

But in 2001, a leather suitcase was recovered from the shipwreck, about 800 feet off of the stern. The luggage was submitted for restoration.

It was Edgardo's.

Remarkably, once opened, it was found to still be neatly packed. The contents included his shoes, as well as a school notebook.

Therein, written in pencil, researchers found that he had taken up pages, just signing and re-signing his name.

Edgardo Samuel Andrew--only 17 years old and looking toward his future--seems to have been practicing his signature.


Behe, George. "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage." The History Press, 2012.

National Geographic, "Drain the Titanic." Documentary directed by Wayne Abbott. 2015.

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