Berthe Antonine Mayne – she was a Titanic survivor but people only believed her 51 years later

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Berthe Antonine Mayne was a Belgian cabaret dancer who was born in July 21st, 1887 and had a relationship with Quigg Baxter, a young hockey player from Montreal, Canada. But what made her stories became more fascinating is that she was actually one of the Titanic survivors.

However, no one believed her when she was alive and when they started to believe- it was then too late.

Source: The Canadian Press Archive

In fact, people only believed that she survived through the sunken luxury steamship after her death on October 11, 1962 which was 51 years after the tragedy.

It all started when her nephew found some of her personal clippings, letters and photographs. It was all kept inside a shoebox. It is believed that Mayne had tried so many times to tell her nephew, family and relatives regarding how she had survived the Titanic tragedy after being in the ship with a young Canadian millionaire but no one trusted her until after her death.

Source: The Canadian Press Archive

It is indeed frustrating to know that people could have interviewed her personally on her personal experiences and feelings in the Titanic tragedy when she was alive. However it is too late as they only realized after her death that all this while she was actually telling the truth. Researchers can now only depend on the clippings, documents, photographs and other second-hand stories about her and her Titanic experience.

Source: Tumbler

Inside a Belgian newspaper, The Het Laatste Nieuws, described Mayne as someone who was ‘well known in Brussels in circles of pleasure and was often seen in the company of people who like to wine and dine and enjoy life.”

It was later revealed that the reason why people did not believe her back then was because Baxter at that time had changed her name to ‘Mrs. De Villiers’.

Source: Popsugar

Based on Titanica, Mayne and Baxter used her pseudonym “Mrs. De Villiers” from her former liaison, Fernand de Villiers who was a French soldier so that she would be able to book a luxurious cabin.

Baxter met Mayne while she was performing in a café in Brussels when he was in a trip to Europe with his mother and sister.

Baxter’s mother booked two adjoining staterooms, B58 and B60 which are a first-class cabin abroad the Titanic for herself and her two children.

It was then hard for Baxter to go back to Canada because he wanted Mayne to join them. He would not want to leave Mayne behind. He was indeed very determined to bring Mayne to Canada and follow him so he booked her a C-90 room or one deck below his room however it was under the name of ‘Mrs. De Villiers.’

On the tragedy night, Baxter’s mother was curious when the ship had abruptly stopped in the middle of the ocean. She then requested Baxter to ask the captain of the ship. Baxter went outside and saw Captain Smith was talking to Bruce Ismay, one of the high White Star officials to have survived the tragedy.

According to the Vintage News, part of the conversation between Baxter and Smith was:

“There’s been an accident Baxter but it’s alright.”

But as soon as the captain left, Ismay told him to immediately get his family and ride the emergency boat.

In hurry, Baxter took his mother and sister in lifeboat 6 and making sure that they were all right. He then returned to the lifeboat with Mayne and introduced her to his family and asked them to look after her.

Source: Titanic Archives

At first, Mayne refused to get into the boat without Baxter. She also wanted to return to her cabin and retrieve all her precious pieces of jewellery. However, another passenger named Molly Brown convinced her to get into the lifeboat as it might be dangerous for her if she wandered inside the ship during that time. Lifeboat number 6 was likely to be the first boat to leave the sinking ship.

Baxter, on the other hand, never made it to the lifeboat and his body was never identified nor discovered.

It is believed that his last words were:

“Goodbye, keep your spirits up everyone!”

Mayne stayed with his family for a few months in Montreal and the returned to Europe. She kept on being a cabaret singer in Paris, France.

Her nephew mentioned that Mayne never got married to anyone. She returned to a suburban house in Beerche-Ste-Agathe in Brussels and died on October 11, 1962 when she was 75 years old.

 

 

 

 

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