Titanic Postal Workers Memorial - Atlas Obscura

Titanic Postal Workers Memorial

Southampton Civic Centre

Dedicated to the five postal workers who died aboard the doomed ocean liner, this plaque was made from a spare propeller from the Titanic. 


The disaster of the RMS Titanic is forever linked to Southampton—the British port city where the Titanic launched on April 10, 1912. Graves and memorials are dotted all over the city. All told, over 500 Southhampton households lost at least one family member from the wreck. This memorial is dedicated to five people lost in the disaster, whose role onboard was tied directly to the ship’s title.

The “RMS” in RMS Titanic stood for Royal Mail Ship. As well as people, the Titanic was built to transport mail across the Atlantic. Mail officers onboard had crew quarters separate from the standard crew. On the night of the disaster, shortly after the Titanic struck the iceberg, the five mail officers, who were mid-birthday celebrations for postal clerk Oscar Woody, realized the mail room was flooding fast. They had over 3,000 sacks of mail onboard and the five men started to work hard to save the mail.

One steward who was roped in to help gives us a clue as to how the men attended their duties, testifying: “I urged them to leave their work. They shook their heads and continued at their work. It might have been an inrush of water later that cut off their escape, or it may have been the explosion. I saw them no more.”

The five postal officers wouldn’t survive the disaster.

They are honored in the Southampton Civic Centre with one of the most unique memorials to the disaster: a piece of the Titanic itself. The Harland and Wolff shipyard, which built the Titanic, donated a spare propeller to be recast to make this memorial. To this day, it stands in Southampton Civic Centre.

More than 1,500 people died after the Titanic hit an iceberg off the southeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Among them were the five postal clerks: U.K. citizens James Williamson and Jago Smith and U.S. citizens William Gwinn, John March, and Oscar Woody. Not everyone would stand by their posts in the face of death, but in the early hours of April 15th, these men did right until the end.

Know Before You Go

The plaque is located inside Southampton's main Civic Centre. It can be found on a wall at the top of the stairs inside the main entrance, outside the entrance to the Council Chamber.

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March 6, 2024

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