4. What links hospital ships, women’s rights, and the Titanic?

I can’t promise that every wreck will be topical – after all, in the northern hemisphere the prime ‘wrecking season’ is between October and March, and I also want to make the selection fairly random! However, this week features the Rohilla, a hospital ship which struck the coast of Whitby on 30 October 1914, i.e. 98 years ago this week.

Rohilla is one of a number of hospital ships which were lost during World War I, but she is the only one who is almost certainly not a war loss (the initial cause of loss was thought to be a mine explosion).

Of course, the cause of women’s rights was greatly advanced by the shipboard nurses who faced danger on the high seas, as well as the other women who stepped into wartime roles. One nurse on board Rohilla had had previous experience at sea as a stewardess, when she was rescued from the most famous wreck of all time, so our topicality extends to this year’s centenary of the loss of the Titanic.

For more on Rohilla, please see ‘one I made earlier‘:  including a link to genuine amateur footage of the rescue operation, redistributed by Pathé.

Rohilla was not the only wreck to carry a Titanic survivor who also survived a second wreck. Another wreck was HMS Falcon, in 1918: which was commanded by Charles Lightoller, the senior surviving officer on board the Titanic – again, he survived. As you can see, we try and tell a story and make links to events and people of cultural and historic interest to contribute to scholarship and drive public engagement with heritage. Charles Lightoller is also entered as a Person of Historic Interest, so all monuments linked to a particular person can be searched for.

If you know of any more Titanic survivors on other wrecks, please let me know – and I can update our records.

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