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Millvina Dean was the youngest of the 705 survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and lived to be the last survivor.
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Born in Branscombe, England on February 2, 1912, Millvina Dean was only nine weeks old when she rode on the RMS Titanic with her parents and brother. When the ship hit an iceberg and sank, she became its youngest survivor. In later years, she participated in Titanic-related events after the wreckage was discovered. She died at 97, also becoming the last survivor of the sinking.
Elizabeth Gladys Dean was born February 2, 1912, in London. Her parents, Bertram and Georgetta (Eva), decided to emigrate to Wichita, Kansas, where her father had family and friends and where they hoped to open a tobacco shop.
The Deans, including Millvina's older brother Bertram (born in 1910), was originally booked on another White Star liner, possibly the Adriatic. But due to a coal strike, they were offered passage on the maiden voyage of the much heralded luxury liner the Titanic. They boarded as third-class passengers at Southampton and set sail on April 10, 1912.
On the night of April 14, while sailing south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Millvina's mother and father felt the ship's collision with an iceberg. He left his cabin to investigate and soon returned, telling his wife to dress their sleeping children and go up on deck.
Millvina, her mother and brother were placed in Lifeboat 10 and were among the first steerage passengers to escape the sinking liner. After their boat drifted in the water for some time, the survivors were rescued and taken aboard the Carpathia, a ship that answered the Titanic's distress call. They arrived safely in New York City on April 18.
Later it would discovered that 705 people survived the disaster. Millvina's father, however, the 25-year-old Bertram Frank Dean, was one of the 1,500 who perished. Like many of the men aboard, he stayed on the ship and died when it sank early the following morning. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
At first, Millvina's mother, wanted to go on to Kansas and fulfill her husband's wish of a new life in America. But with no husband and two small children to care for, she decided to go home. After two weeks in a New York hospital, Millvina, her mother, and brother, returned to England aboard the Adriatic.
As a baby who had survived the Titanic sinking, Millvina attracted a lot of attention aboard the Adriatic. Passengers lined up to hold her, and many took photographs of her, her mother and brother, several of which were published in newspapers.
"[She] was the pet of the liner during the voyage, and so keen was the rivalry between women to nurse this lovable mite of humanity that one of the officers decreed that first and second class passengers might hold her in turn for no more than 10 minutes," the Daily Mirror reported on May 12, 1912.
Millvina and her brother were raised and educated largely with funds from charity organizations dedicated to Titanic survivors.
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On April 10, 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, carrying 2,207 passengers en route to New York. Unfortunately, the ship never made it to its final destination. After on colliding with an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912, the ship sank in only a few hours.
From "the Unsinkable Molly Brown to the discovery of "the Unknown Child," explore some of the extraordinary stories of survival and tragedy—and view photos and videos—of those who boarded the Titanic.
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