Harrowing Titanic letter to auction

A Titanic crewmember's letter, recounting the harrowing last moments on board, is coming to auction.

Titanic letter
'Goodbye old man'

Second officer Charles Lightoller, the most senior crewmember to survive the sinking, writes of saying his goodbyes to eight colleagues.

In this typed letter to a friend of one of the eight, Lightoller says, in part:

"I am sorry to say that Asst. Surgeon John E. Simpson was on the Titanic…

"I deeply regret your loss, which is also mine. I may say I was practically the last man to speak to Dr. Simpson, and on this occasion he was walking along the boat-deck in company with Messrs. McElroy, Barker, Dr. O'Loughlin and four assistant pursers.

"They were all perfectly calm in the knowledge that they had done their duty and were still assisting by showing a calm and cool exterior to the passengers. Each one individually came up to me and shook hands. We merely exchanged the words 'Goodbye, old man.'

"This occurred shortly before the end and I am not aware that he was seen by anyone after…"

The letter, which Lightoller wrote on the return journey to Britain, just two weeks after the sinking, is estimated to make £15,000 ($18,640).

We believe it could make significantly more, considering its fascinating subject matter.

The letter will auction at Henry Aldridge and Son's October 22 sale, dedicated to the tragedy.

Also selling is a key from the ship, recovered from the body of steward Sidney Sedunary. The key, coupled with a brass tag that reads "Locker 14 F Deck", is expected to auction for up to £50,000 ($62,000).

Titanic key
The Titanic key has a £50,000 estimate

Titanic memorabilia is hugely popular with collectors and consequently valuable, particularly since the centenary commemorations of 2012.

A set of four keys from the ship auctioned for £20,000 ($26,400) last month.

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