The untold story of Edith Evans
The story of the doomed cruise liner RMS ‘Titanic’ has always compelled me to research the untold mystery behind its sinking which claimed the lives of thousands boarding on the liner. The disastrous collision of Titanic resulted in deaths of 1,517 people on board leaving scars of separation, agony, pain in hearts of their beloved ones. But in this hour of crisis, one young woman dared to face the odd moments by offering her seat to a mother in the life boat and chose death over life. The name of the woman was Edith Corse Evans. Several motion pictures, documentaries have been made on the incident of Titanic sinking which focused more on the technical aspect behind its collision with the ice berg. But sadly, very less has been written about Edith Evans who smilingly gave up her life with a noble intention to help a woman unite with her children.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a wealthy family, Edith Evans was the second daughter of lawyer Cadwalader and Angeline Burr Corse. Edith had a sister called Lena Cadwalader Evans, who was a well-known painter. Living in New York for a long time, Unmarried Edith had a keen interest in genealogical studies
Edith never expected that this journey will be her last journey of her life. On the evening of April 10, 1912 Edith boarded RMS Titanic at Cherbourg to return back to her homeland after attending a family funeral in England. During the journey, Edith got a good companionship of group of sisters – Mrs E.D.Appleton, Mrs John Murray Brown and Mrs R.C.Cornell.
As Titanic crushed against the iceberg, the race for survival became fierce among the passengers who were dying to search life boats. The officers of Titanic rapidly started lowering lifeboats for women and children in the sea with a view to save as much lives as possible. Edith Evans and Mrs Brown were guided towards lifeboat by the officers, but the lifeboat was left short as it could accommodate only one person. Mrs Brown was desperately missing her children and was yearning to unite with her children. Edith realized her situation and allowed Mrs Brown to sit in the lifeboat because she knew there was the family waiting for Mrs Brown. The lifeboat left carrying Mrs Brown and other passengers. Unfortunately there was no lifeboat left for Edith. Even in the turmoil of terror Edith was fearless, with a satisfaction of saving a life. Slowly, the ocean liner started sinking in the sea carrying Edith Evans and several other passengers who were destined to get the ocean burial. As predicted by a fortune teller, Edith Evans was supposed to stay away from water, but destiny had different plans. The body of Edith Evans was never recovered and there was no evidence or photograph of her. On April 22, 1912 a memorial service was held in her memory remembering her extraordinary courage in hours of crisis. I had read the story of Edith Evans in a Marathi book which told the stories of courageous people all over the world. The saga of Edith Evans was etched in my mind and after researching as much data on her life I have taken a small effort to retell the legend of Edith to all the readers and inspire them to face the adversities of life with determination. Such a great sacrifice! Hope someday a motion picture will come up to project on the life of Edith Evans.