Titanic Crew Story: Thomas Millar
Thomas Millar was a 33 year old assistant deck engineer on Titanic. He was travelling to New York where he planned to base himself while continuing to work for the White Star Line
. Thomas Millar is unique in that he worked at Harland and Wolff as an engine fitter and helped build the engines of Olympic and Titanic. In early 1912, he left the shipyard and signed on with White Star. His signing on record on 2nd April shows that he had made one previous voyage on a Red Star liner called Gothland.
A Change of Life to America- Leaving Belfast for the Last Time
Thomas Millar’s decision to uproot from Belfast to New York was spurred on by the death of his wife, Jeannie in January of 1912. That left him with two small children to bring up and he decided that the best future for them was to bring them out to America once he had got settled. When he left Belfast on Titanic on 2nd April, the boys were left in the care of an aunt in a country village outside Belfast. They expected to see their father again in a few months’ time when they would be brought to either Queenstown or Southampton to board a White Star ship. The children, Thomas Junior aged 11 and William Ruddick, aged 5 were given two new pennies each by their father before he boarded Titanic. He told them not to spend them until he came back.
Thomas Millar did not survive Titanic’s sinking. His body was never recovered and the boys were left orphaned. They remained with their Aunt Mary until they were old enough to make their own way in life. An allowance of 5 shillings a week was paid to the family from the National Disasters Relief Fund. Thomas Millar’s name is on the Titanic Memorial at Belfast City Hall and there is an inscription dedicated to him at his wife’s grave in Carrickfergus. William Ruddick Millar never spent the two pennies given to him by his father before he sailed on Titanic and they remain with the Millar family to this day.
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