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Katherine Gilnagh, Third Class Passenger

7/20/55 Interview with Katherine Manning (Gilnagh in 1912) Walter Lord's interview with Gilnagh/Manning is in the form of notes

Was 15-16 year old girl immgrating from Ireland to America with Katy Mullins, Kate Murphy and other teen-age colleens. All under the protective wing of Jim Farrell, a milk truck driver from same county, who had a fight with his boss and on the spur of the moment took the Titanic too.

Boarded the ship at Queenstown and found herself rooming with four other girls in steerage cabin Q (berth Q 161).

The trip over was a delight. Sunday evening a gay dance, enlivened by a strolling bagpipe player the girls all loved. During the evening a rat scurried across the room, and the boys gave chase while the girls squealed with excitement. She remembered thinking that this must be a safe ship -- the rats don't like to leave it.

She went below fairly early and lay down on her bunk with all her clothes on. Dozed off. Awakened by the bagpipe player, who came in and told her to get up, something was wrong with the ship. She thought things probably always went wrong with ships -- it was just part of the trip -- and wasn't worried at all.

She climbed the stairs and met Jim Farrell when she reached the deck. He told her to go back and get her luggage; they'd probably have to leave. She went below, pulled together her things, stuck her pocketbook in her suitcase (so she'd only have one thing to carry), and climbed back on deck.

Every one was just waiting around. News came that the boats were being lowered, but when she and the girls tried to go up to them, a man stopped her at the Third Class barrier and wouldn't open the gate. They were still standing there, when Jim Farrell came up. "Great God, man!" he roared, "Open the gate and let the girls through!" To the girls surprise, the man did then open the gate, and Kate slipped through to the Second Class deck.

Her troubles weren't over, because she still couldn't figure how to get up to the First Class Deck, where the boats were. The Second Class deck was now deserted, except for a single man standing all alone. He offered to let her stand on his shoulders and climb up onto A deck that way. She accepted the invitation and soon scrambled over the rail above and onto A Deck.

She dashed through the lounge, noticing how deep the rug was, and on up to where the boats were. Seems to have been pretty far forward when she came to where they were lowering a boat. She asked if she could get in, and a man told her no more room -- it was too crowded.

"But I want to go with my sister!" shecried. She of course didn't have a sister, but it seemed like a way to move the man to let her through. It worked. He said, "All right, get in." She jumped in (it was hard work, climbing over the rail and dropping down), and stood in the boat as it was lowered to the sea. The boat dropped easily down and didn't see to fall very far.

They rowed off a short distance, men by now swimming in the water not too far from them. Then they tied up with some other boats. All the time, the Titanic was tilting more and more,; the banks of lights in the stern sloping up higher and higher. A man near her said she's sinking -- look at her. Kate said yes, she sure was. Looking back on it, she's amazed at the matter-of-fact way in which they discussed this appalling fact. But then, it was her first trip, and she supposed this was just one of the difficulties of coming over.

When the Titanic finally went under, the noise and screams were terrible -- the worst part of the night.

It was bright morning when they finally edged up to the Carpathia. This was the scariest part of all, for the sea was choppy now, and the waves against the side of a ship always splash and slop about. She was hauled up in a rope sling and immediately given some very bad green tea.

The Caprathia's crew were wonderful -- gave up their bunks, did everything imaginable for them. She had a marvellous time during the days that followed, not really appreciating how terrible the tragedy was. As a sort of pet of the crew, she told their fortunes with a deck of cards and laughed and joked with them.

The Carpathia's master at arms took a great shine to her, and every day he would give her a little delicacy from the bake shop. This she would take and share with Kate Mulling and the other girls. On the last day out, he gave her a plum pudding. The a little board he had made, with a couple of fish carved in it swimming towards each other.

When she landed in New York, she was surprised not to be met by her aunt or uncle. Actually, she was listed as missing, and they had given her up. She however didn't realize this, and simply thought she had missed her aunt in the crowd. It was hard to tell one American woman from another -- they all wore such big hats.


1. Spelling and punctuation have been preserved, where possible.

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