Letters from a bride-to-be who sailed on the Titanic describe how she cowered in a lifeboat beneath giant icebergs as she waited to be rescued.
Kate Buss was on her way to America to marry her childhood sweetheart when the ship sank in April 1912.
Kate, 36, was one of the lucky survivors and a month later, on May 11, the wedding went ahead in San Diego as planned.
Her fiance Samuel Gordon Willis had left Sittingbourne, Kent, to seek his fortune in California four years previously.
Letters Kate sent to friends and relatives at home in the UK reveal the terror of that April night.
In one, she says: “I have lost everything to remind me of home, all my photographs, my letters and, yes, everything but my rings and watch.
“You know I had a habit of sleeping in them when I was away from home. My pendant, bracelet and money, the purser had. I had just my nightdress, my dressing gown and a long coat. It was terribly cold by the icebergs. Never have I seen such a sight.
“They seemed to laugh mockingly at us as we rowed towards the Carpathia while two huge ones floated towards us but when the sun shone they were gloriously beautiful.”
Her first letter after the sinking was to her mother. She told her: “I hope you don’t believe most of the newspaper stories. I am well and want you all to know this.
“Some of the stories about me are silly and made up but I have saved the cuttings. Some refer to me as the pretty English girl. Clearly they have not seen me.”
Kate and Samuel went on to have a daughter, Sybil. Kate died in 1972 and on her grave is the inscription A Titanic Survivor.
Sarah Sturt, a relation of one of the recipients of the letters, said: “They have always been in the family and we certainly have no thoughts about selling them.”
Kate’s grandson, Roland Lane, who lives in California, said: “Grandmother did not relish recalling the harrowing experience, preferring to talk about the people she met on the voyage.”
News Source: UK Express