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A custody dispute almost cost two young boys their lives

According to a Lake County historian, two passengers aboard the RMS Titanic had ties to the area. Both perished when the Titanic went down. Only 700 of the 2,200 passengers survived. The Lake County stories are just two of the real-life dramas that have come to light during the 100th anniversary of the loss of the Titanic. One story, about two young boys caught up in a custody dispute, caught our attention.

Move over, Jack and Rose. This story is more dramatic than anything we could imagine. The boys, age 2 and 4, were the last two passengers put on the last life boat that left the ship (collapsible D). Their father didn't make it. The boys were the only children rescued without a parent or guardian.

When they reached the Carpathia, they could not identify themselves to anyone. They were French and neither spoke nor understood English. The press dubbed them the "Orphans of the Titanic." A Frenchwoman cared for them while the press and authorities searched for family members.

It complicated matters enormously that their father had purchased tickets under a false name. He reportedly told his fellow passengers (in second class) that he was a widower heading to the U.S. to start a new life. He let the children out of his sight just once, for a poker game.

The truth was that their mother was alive. She lived in France at the time, and she had no idea her children were on the Titanic.

To be continued.

Source: The Daily Mail (UK), "The Titanic Orphans: Two brothers put on last lifeboat by father who died in disaster," Kerry Mcqueeney, March 25, 2012

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