Lot 243: **R.M.S. TITANIC: An exceptionally rare letter by Titanic crewman
Titanic & Travel Memorabilia
October 22, 2016
Devizes, United Kingdom
Description: **R.M.S. TITANIC: An exceptionally rare letter by Titanic crewman Sidney Siebert from the mighty ship's birthplace, Belfast, titled 'prior to her sea trials'. R.M.S. Titanic, Belfast, Friday, and is written in pencil over four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4½ins. x 7ins. It is to Sidney's wife Winnie, written in the Public Library in Belfast. In full (with grammar and spelling retained): I have bought a little note paper so that I could drop you a few more lines than I could get on a postcard. As I told you we had a very trying journey here we were over 11 hours in the train and then straight on to the steamboat for another 8 hours and nowhere to sleep all that time and she was a rather old boat we came over by. I hope you are still keeping well. I am glad to say I am alright the air here is very bracing it makes me as hungry as anything. I don't think a great deal of the City it is not so good as Soton (Southampton) although there are several fine buildings here but the town itself is very dirty and it has been raining ever since we got here. I am writing this in the Public Library a very nice building but not up to date English books and papers seem very scarce here. Also another thing which strikes one as curious is that there are no cabs or Taxis here they all have these jaunting cars as sort of a shelf arrangement on two wheels and they look most decidedly uncomfortable. I have not tried one yet and have no intention of doing so. I expect we are leaving here for our trials on Monday and for home on Tuesday and I can tell you I shall be glad after that long time at home I don't like being away at all. But I suppose I must not grumble as I have had a good time while I was home and must not get on & earn some money. Kiss baby for me tell her daddy wants to see her and I want to see my other little girl as well. Good Night my own beloved with all the hearts love. Your own ever loving & Davoted (sic) Husband hon, At this time, Titanic had been in Belfast awaiting her delivery to Southampton in order to embark on her maiden voyage from that port on April 10th, 1912. She had a skeleton delivery crew for this short but necessary journey, of which Siebert was a part. The crew was responsible for getting themselves to Titanic's birthplace, first to take her on her sea trials and then to Southampton. Siebert explains he had carried the notepaper he used for this letter with him to Belfast so that he wouldn't have to send her a postcard. Siebert died in the sinking. His body was not identified. According to Colonel Archibald Gracie in his book Titanic (page 181), Siebert had been pulled from the water into Lifeboat No. 4 but died thereafter. Letters from Titanic's delivery/sea trial crew during their very brief stay in Belfast are practically non-existent. The fact that Siebert mentions the upcoming sea trials and delivery trip, and discusses the sites he had seen in Belfast makes this letter all the more desirable, and possibly unique. A small separation to one of the central horizontal folds, expected light soiling, and some scattered light toning to second page, otherwise fine condition.