Frank John William Goldsmith
Born 19 December 1902(1902-12-19)
Strood, Kent, England
Died 27 January 1982(1982-01-27) (aged 79)
Orlando, Florida, United States
Parents Frank J. Goldsmith and Emily Alice Brown
Relatives Albert John "Bertie" Goldsmith (brother, 1905-1911)

Frank John William Goldsmith (19 December 1902 — 27 January 1982), was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. He later wrote a book about his experiences on the ship, and had his story featured in the documentary, Titanic: The Legend Lives On, as well as a children's book about the disaster, Inside the Titanic. You can also find another book he had written called Echoes In the Night.

Early lifeEdit

Survivors of TITANIC - family group

Frank with his parents and younger brother, Bertie, around 1907

Frank was born in Strood, Kent, the eldest child of Frank John and Emily Alice (née Brown) Goldsmith.[1] His father was originally from Tonbridge. His parents married sometime between October and December 1901,[2] and Frank arrived the following December. He was joined by a younger brother, Albert John "Bertie" Goldsmith, in early 1905. Bertie died in late 1911 of diphtheria.[3][4]

RMS TitanicEdit

Frank and his parents boarded the Titanic out of Southampton as third class passengers, en route to Detroit, Michigan. Frank's father, a tool maker, was bringing his bag of tools with him, and these were stored in the ship's hold. Accompanying the family were Frank Sr.'s friend, Thomas Theobald, and the son of a family friend, Alfred Rush.

Rush celebrated his sixteenth birthday on 14 April on board the ship, celebrating his transformation from a boy to a man as he no longer had to wear knickers, but was now to wear long pants.[5]

Frank spent his time on board the ship playing with a group of young English-speaking third class boys that were about his age: William Johnston, Willie Coutts, Harold Goodwin, James and Walter van Billiard, and Albert and George Rice. The boys climbed the baggage cranes and wandered down to the boiler rooms to watch the stokers and firemen at work.[5] Of these boys, only Frank and Willie Coutts would survive the sinking.

When the ship struck the iceberg, Frank Sr. woke his wife and son, and, together with Theobald and Rush, the group made their way to the forward end of the Boat Deck, where lifeboat Collapsible C was being loaded. There was a ring of seamen standing around the boat, letting only women and children pass through. Frank wrote of the experience in his book, Echoes in the Night: "Mother and I then were permitted through the gateway, and the crewman in charge reached out to grasp the arm of Alfred Rush to pull him through because he must have felt that the young lad was not much older than me, and he was not very tall for his age, but Alfred had not been stalling. He jerked his arm out of the sailor's hand and with his head held high, said, and I quote, 'No! I'm staying here with the men.' At age 16, he died a hero."[6]

Thomas Theobald gave Mrs. Goldsmith his wedding ring, asking if she would give it to his wife if he did not survive.[5][7] Frank later recalled: "My dad reached down and patted me on the shoulder and said, ‘So long, Frankie, I’ll see you later.’ He didn’t and he may have known he wouldn’t."[8] Frank Goldsmith Sr., Thomas Theobald and Alfred Rush all died in the sinking. Of the three, only Theobald's body was recovered.

Frank and his mother were rescued by the Carpathia in Collapsible C. As the Carpathia headed to New York City, Emily Goldsmith entrusted her son into the care of one of the surviving firemen from the Titanic, Samuel Collins, asking Collins if he would look after her son to get his mind off of the sinking. While his mother was busy sewing clothing from blankets for women and children who had left the ship in only nightclothes, Frank accompanied Collins down to visit the Carpathia's stokers, and the men offered to make Frank an honorary seaman by having him drink a mixture of water, vinegar and a whole raw egg. Frank proudly swallowed it in one go, and from then on, considered himself a part of the ship's crew.[9] Frank remembered Collins telling him, "Don’t cry, Frankie, your dad will probably be in New York before you are."[6]

Later lifeEdit

After arriving in New York, Frank and his mother were housed by the Salvation Army, which provided train fare to reach their relatives in Detroit. He and his mother moved to a home near the newly opened Navin Field, home of the Detroit Tigers. Every time the crowd cheered during a home run, the sound reminded him of the screams of the dying passengers and crew in the water just after the ship sank; as a result Frank never took his children to baseball games.[6]

Growing up, Frank still held on to the hope of his father's survival. It took him months to understand his father was really dead, but for years afterward, he used to tell himself "I think another ship must have picked him up and one day he will come walking right through that door and say, 'Hello, Frankie.'"

Frank married in 1926, and he and his wife, Victoria, had three sons: James "Jim" Goldsmith, who lives in Urbana, Ohio, Charles "Charlie" Goldsmith, who use to live in East Millinocket, Maine but now lives in Mansfield, Ohio; and Frank Goldsmith II, who lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida.[10]

Frank served as a civilian photographer for the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After the war, he brought his family to Ashland, Ohio, and later opened a photography supply store in nearby Mansfield, Ohio.

Frank wrote an autobiography entitled Echoes in the Night: Memories of a Titanic Survivor and published by the Titanic Historical Society. Walter Lord wrote the foreword to the book, which is the only book written by a third class passenger about the sinking.

Frank Goldsmith Jr. died at his home in 1982 at the age of 79. Several months after his death, on April 15, the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, his ashes were scattered over the North Atlantic, above the place where the Titanic rests, reuniting him with his father in death. Ruth Becker and Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall also had their remains scattered over Titanic's final resting place.[11]

A 1977 clip of him describing his Titanic experience can be see in the 1995 film Titanica: IMAX. Survivor Eva Hart is also featured.


  1. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  2. England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  3. England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. General Register Office, London, England.
  4. Mrs Emily Alice Goldsmith Encyclopedia Titanica
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Hugh Brewster, Inside the Titanic (A Giant Cutaway Book), 1998.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Goldsmith, Frank J.W. (1991). Echoes in the Night: Memories of a Titanic Survivor. Titanic Historical Society. 
  7. [1] Titanic Historical Society
  8. "That Unforgettable Night". National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  9. Geller, Judith B. (October 1998). Titanic: Women and Children First. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 140. ISBN 978-0-393-04666-3. 
  10. Book report on Frank Goldsmith and later life Encyclopedia Titanica
  11. Titanic Today: Exhibition of Titanic Artifacts

External links Edit