A century of Titanic intrigue

John Yearsley with the Titanic exhibition at Cleckheaton Library. (d05041205)
John Yearsley with the Titanic exhibition at Cleckheaton Library. (d05041205)

THe story of the Titanic has enthralled generations since the ocean liner sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

And to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy, Cleckheaton Library is hosting an special event focusing on the history of the ship by John Yearsley, who believes a steward called Harry Yearsley who survived the sinking is his distant relative.

John, whose birthday falls on April 14 said: “I have always had a fascination with the Titanic. My interest grows every year.

“There was a Titanic exhibition at Cartwright Hall in Bradford about 10 years ago. I was looking at the survivors’ list and there at the bottom was Harry Yearsley. I couldn’t believe it.

“Since then I’ve been trying to establish a link.

“Yearsley is a very unusual name so I believe we could be related.

“Harry Yearsley was on board Titanic, working as a first class steward.

“He was 38 years old and was one of 300 stewards on board, employed by White Star Line.

“He boarded in Southampton and was paid 3s 15d per month, about £348 in today’s money.

“He was saved in lifeboat nine and rescued by the Carpathia, which sailed to New York with other survivors.

“A lot of the crew perished so he was extremely lucky to survive,

“In fact, he lived until he was 64.

“I am trying to find out other details about him but it is detective work – it’s not an easy task.”

John said the event would feature White Star Line memorabilia and other historical artefacts.

He added: “This exhibition is a tribute to the Titanic, to the 1,500 who perished and those who survived.”

The free event takes place on Friday April 13 from 2pm-4pm and Saturday April 14 from 1.30pm-3.30pm, at Cleckheaton Library, Whitcliffe Road.