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: email@example.com
Society membership fees: £20-00, Britain and USA $40-00.
Thank you Pat.