April 14, 2010: Barry Cauchon.

Today is the 145th anniversary of the night Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre. But as the title shows, it is also the 98th anniversary of the night the Titanic struck the iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank in the early morning hours of April 15.

Mr. Pat Toms of Bangor Co. Down, North Ireland contacted me last year. Pat is the president of the Shannon Ulster Titanic Society. He lives just 15 miles from where the Titanic was built. But more importantly, his grandfather, Andrew “Danny” John Shannon was a passenger on the Titanic and regrettably did not survive the disaster. Pat sent me a brief history of his own life and invites those interested in joining his society to write him. Pat’s story has many personal tragedies and he is open about them here. I want to thank Pat for his letter and his friendship over the past year. 

Titanic Story.–At the age of 8 yrs old my grandmother Annie Matilda Shannon looked after me as my father was in the Army for round 2 of Germany vs. England. It was his second round. My mother was dead having committed suicide in 1942. Her brother Leonard Shannon was killed at sea by German raiders in the English channel in 1940. And my grandmother’s son was killed by the Turks at Gallipoli in 1917 at age 19 years old. In 1942, when I was 3 years old, my father’s relatives looked after me. In 1944, I went to a Church of England school. By then my father’s mother looked after me. I was then 5 years old and used to sleep under the table with my grandmother as German planes raided England, dropping bombs all over the place. Sleep was disrupted practically every night and during the day at school we were trained to run to the shelters in case of enemy aircraft attack.

At the age of eight my mother’s mother, my grandmother Annie Matilda Shannon, took me and looked after me and used to tell me about my grandfather Danny Shannon, who was drowned on the Titanic.

At 18 years old in 1957, I emigrated to Canada. Working on a farm in SW Ontario, I got a letter in Canada that my grandmother had died (committed suicide). Shortly afterwards, I joined the Canadian Army. In 1958, at the age of 19 years old, I was sent to the Gaza Strip with the U.N. Canadian Contingent. I then came back to England in 1963 and joined the British Army and was posted to N.Ireland on garrison duties. While there in 1963, I went down to Cobh Co Cork to try and find my grandfather’s relatives and ended up staying in the European hotel Cobh for Christmas. In 1985, I went to live in Bangor Co Down.

In April of this year,2010 I was invited by the Cobh Council to lay a wreath on the 11th April to remember Andrew John Shannon, my grandfather, born in Cobh Co Cork. Died on Titanic 1912.

If you would like to speak with Pat Toms or join the Shannon Ulster Titanic Society, he can be reached at the following address: 2B Beverley Hills, Bangor Co Down, N. Ireland, BT204NA. Email: pat.toms@btinternet.com

Society membership fees: £20-00, Britain and USA $40-00.

Thank you Pat.




Published in: on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at '8:30 am'  Comments (24)  
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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Barry have just looked at your website i am using the laptop, which is a bit more difficult to use than the ordinary computer. I am over the moon that you have me on the story. about the shannon ulster titanic society. Pat

    • My pleasure Pat. You have an interesting story to tell. My readers would love to hear more about your grandfather and why he was on the Titanic.

      • Barry,I have just noticed that readers are interested why my Grandfather was on the Titanic,it was an accident why he was on the Titanic, but the American Line who employed him booked a passage for him and other employees who numbered I beleive 4 others,and subsquently was drowned however his story like many others was controversial and since my investigations the tragedy of Titanic was even worse than I imagined,and a disgracefull Blot on our History,and the loss of life for money before safety.

  2. thankyou barry for leaving my story in your website I have found it again through trawling through the websites,so far I have had no replies in relation to my story,but I did go down to cobh where I was given a very friendly reception,on the 11th of April,they even want me back again next year so I will do my best to go back to Cobh I recomend Cobh as a very friendly Town and well woth a visit.Pat

  3. Barry, once again I am indebted to your help in trying to raise the story of Titanic. Your website has enabled me to see clear and coherent and clear text of your stories which are exemplary although no one seems to be interested in my story which is factual. I am still indebted to your facilitation. Pat

    • Hi Pat: I always enjoy hearing from you. Pat’s grandfather was a passenger on the Titanic and regrettably, he did not survive the sinking. If you would like to talk with Pat, please feel free to drop him a line at his email pat.toms@btinternet.com. Pat lives just outside of Belfast, Ireland.

  4. further to my story I now have news of our society on the german titanic museum website,it is in german and also on the titanic heritage trust website of which i am a life hon member.Pat

    • Hi Pat. Good information. Thanks for letting us know.

  5. Hi Barry,I am glad to report that on april the 11th I was in cobh where after going to Downpatrick and filmed St Patricks.grave,and then on to the Mountains of Mourne,more filming and then to Cobh Co Cork,was then fimed at the comemmeration of Titanic honouring my grandfather who drowned on Titanic but still waiting to get the duplicate copies of D.V.D. which would interest the people of North America,thanks again for publicising the shannon ulster titanic society.Pat

    • Hi Pat: You’ve been a busy boy. Keep up the good work. We look forward to seeing the DVD.
      Stay healthy.

      • Barry,
        Have at last produced a dvd thanks for giving my story,but unfortunately have not got any new members,the dvd is good value you may be interestd in my dvd have sent a message regarding the sale of these but do not know if you received it yet.but will check some more as i might have missed the message on your site,once again thanks for your help.Pat

  6. Barry thanks once again for putting my Titanic stuff on your site,it is well laid out your site and one of the easiest to read,I have been invited by an american shipping company to go to halifax nova scotia in 2012 but at the moment have replied that they can read out the story of my grandfather at the ceromony,the letter from them is now in the printers for the next issue of the quartermaster the organ of the (suts) the shannon ulster titanic society.Pat

    • My pleasure Pat. Always good to hear from you.
      I hope you make it over to Nova Scotia. As you know, many of the Titanic victims are buried in Halifax. I believe in three different cemetaries.
      Have a wonderful evening.

    • barry have eventually got the dvd,s of the titanic tour,in april 2010,it has taken 8 monthes get it,and is now ready for distribution,also i have cd,s which are in the process of production,I am indebted to you and your site for publicising the shannon ulster titanic societies,movements and history,the only all ireland titanic society,with a venue for 17th,18th,19th,and 20th,of february,2011 details to follow,this trip and meeting for all titanic buffs involving history,of ireland and titanic interest,coming up to 2012,and april the interest is gaining,with venues all over the place. can now concentrate on the irish theme,and free to go anywhere where i am wanted especially in cobh co cork,where last year i joined other,s,for the titanic commemeration,to all those who sailed from cobh and through time where over a million irish people emigrated to america for a better life including my grendfather who became an american citizen and was qtr master of the ss philadelphia and died on the titanic,1912,and what the shannon ulster titanic is named after,the first titanic society in n.ireland founded 80 yeas after the titanic sank,thanks again barry for your help.

  7. I am a 8th grade teacher in NC and came across your site while researching some information about the Titanic for my History class this year. I just wanted to thank you for the great information and articles about the Titanic my students liked it and it helped me with my lesson plan.

    We would love it if you could write a few articles for our educational website for teachers, but understand that you are probably busy. I have included a link to our page about the Titanic below in hopes that if you can’t write some resources for us that you can at least link to it, tweet it, or add it to your Facebook profile to help us spread trusted resources throughout the educational community.


    Thanks and keep the great resources coming :)

    Bre Matthews

    • Hi Bre. Thanks so much for you nice comment. I am always thrilled to work with teachers and their students. Let me contact you by email this week to discuss further. You are correct that I am currently busy but there are always ways to accomplish any task.
      I’d like to hear more about your history course and the Titanic material you are sharing with them. I have been interested in the disaster for years, as well as the great liners of that era. Currently my focus is on the many aspects of the Lincoln assassination and will be speaking next March at the Surratt Society 12th annual Assassination conference in Clinton, MD.
      I’ll be in touch this week by email and we can discuss how I can help your class and your educational website.

    • thanks for your interest,the info given in your resources identified the titanic was the fastest ship but this from the top of my head was not correct the statement was that titanic was the biggest ship afloat at thst time,the biggest ship afloat was the oylmpic ,before titanic and the titanic was the olympic class ship from the same drawing board,so this piece of white star propaganda was not correct.

    • thanks for your interest having trouble with computer as regards twitter my e-mail pat.toms@btinternet.com

  8. in respect of Bre Matthews it is good to see his addition to the Titanic story.

  9. I have eventually got the dvd done of the second all ireland titanic tour, and have got 20 copies it has taken 8 monthe to do this owing to production problems,i have also done a cd many years ago with the archive material which will be of interest to titanic buffs. will soon do another dvd which will show the shannon titanic exhibition in co laoise,in the town of abbeyleix,I look forward to this next venture.

  10. I have been invited to cobh co cork for a book launch this month,and it is about father browns photo albums i hope to go will give info when and if i go.Pat

  11. Barry did not go to the book launch in cobh,unfortunately but am now doing a story for a local paper here in bangor Co down on the 20th year of the foundation of the shannon ulster titanic society,and the 100 yeears of the sinking of Titanic hope that the info I have given you helps with the stories.Bye for now Pat

  12. unfortunately did not make it to Cobh.

  13. As it is the year of the sinking I thought that I would release the information that My Grandfather,s name is now carved in stone on the memorial along with all the other victims.In the grounds of the Belfast City Hall the Name Andrew John Shannon,his former name and the name that was given to him by his parents.So all the work I have done has not been in vain,also his mother,s name was Delay her maiden name before marriage, then married Mr Shannon and was married in Cobh Cathedral,on exploring the name Delay it was a branch tribe of the Don Leaveys who were driven out ireland but some of the Delays went down to Cobh and settled among the Islands one of which was Cobh I think the great Island,nearby was the hamlet of bally-delay named after the Delay,s no longer in existence,this move by the delay.s took place in the 11th century because of the Norman Conquest.

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