Leamington's Titantic link

By IH 11/04 Updated: 13/04 07:52

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Buy photos » Warwick-born Florence Angle, née Hughes, survived the sinking of the Titanic, but sadly her husband William did not. Left: Florence Angle’s death certificate. (s)

THE SINKING of the Titanic a century ago touched lives the world over - including in a small way Warwick and Leamington.

With saturation coverage of the 100th anniversary on television screens, via news and documentaries, and cinema screens showing a 3D version of James Cameron's Oscar-winning film, fascination with the world's most famous maritime disaster is greater than ever.

And this area has its own claim to Titanic fame in William and Florence Angle.

William, born in Staffordshire, was no stranger to crossing the Atlantic. At the age of 23 the tile fixer travelled to New York to begin a new life.

But that life was to include his Warwick-born bride Florence, née Hughes, who he married in her home town in 1906 before returning with her to New York.

The couple returned to Warwick to visit Florence's father in 1912 and stayed with him at his Mill Street home in the shadow of the castle.

How long they stayed is not recorded, but their return to New York was to be an exciting one - on the maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic, then the largest ship ever made.

The couple paid £26 for their second class ticket and boarded at Southampton on April 10, 1912. William was aged 25 and Florence 30.

On the fateful night five days later when the ship struck the iceberg they were to be parted for ever.

While Florence took a place on Lifeboat 11 and survived, her husband lost his life in the icy waters of the Atlantic. His body was never recovered.

When Florence arrived in New York, records show she was planning to go to her sister's house in the city.

Florence - described as taller than average for a woman of her day at around five foot ten inches, and with brown hair and grey eyes - was only 36 when she became a widow, and at some time she moved back to Leamington to live out her life, dying aged 93 while living in a house in Tachbrook Road in 1969.

A search of the internet this week did not reveal any details of Florence ever speaking on the record about her recollections of the disaster which in total claimed 1,517 lives.

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