By EUAN STRETCH She was the youngest passenger on board the Titanic when it sank . . . and yesterday the last direct link with the disaster was broken when Millvina Dean died at 97.
Millvina was just nine weeks old when the liner went down on its maiden voyage in 1912, with the loss of 1,523 lives.
Her death – after a bout of pneumonia – comes just a month after Titanic movie stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio and director James Cameron stepped in to pay her private nursing home fees.
Back in 1912 her parents had planned a new life in Wichita, Kansas, but their dreams were dashed when the ship sank. In a cruel twist of fate, they were not supposed to be on board but due to a coal strike they were transferred on to the Titanic as third-class passengers.
Millvina, her mother Eva and brother Bertram were rescued in a lifeboat. Dad Bertram drowned. She said: “My mum, brother and I were among the lucky ones and I put our survival down to the bravery of my father who was alert to the dangers and made sure we got off. He had no choice but to stay on board.”
Spinster Millvina spent most of her life in Ashurst, Hants, just miles from Southampton where they had boarded the Titanic. She became a celebrity at 73 when the ship’s wreckage was found. Millvina said: “Suddenly everyone knew my name.”
She was the last survivor after Barbara Dainton, from Cornwall, died in 2007 aged 96.