Titanic’s secret saviour: The extraordinary story of the Countess of Rothes, an unsung hero of the 1912 disaster
My great-grandmother Noël, Countess of Rothes, boarded lifeboat number eight at one in the morning, writes ANGELA YOUNG. And for the entirety of that long, cold and frightening night, while she helmed the boat, or rowed, or taught others to row, or comforted the distraught women, she thought about her two young sons safely at home, and prayed she would see them again. It wasn’t until much later that she learned that, at exactly one in the morning, far away in Scotland, her eldest son, ten-year-old Malcolm, had woken up, shivering and terrified, calling out, ‘Mama’s in danger! Mama’s very cold!’ He knew in his heart that something terrible had happened, despite being thousands of miles from her. Pictured: Noël (left), survivors on board RMS Carpathia (top right) and lifeboat number eight (bottom right).
French replica of an 18th century ship used to help defeat the British in War of Independence sets sail for Boston
The replica of an 18th Century French navy frigate L’Hermione,set sail on its maiden voyage to the United States off the coast of Fouras, southwestern France on Saturday
The French are coming! Replica of Lafayette’s ship sets sail for US
Original Hermione helped American revolutionaries win war with Britain
Replica cost $27m and will commemorate independence at key locations
Reuters in Rochefort, France
Saturday 18 April 2015 16.27 EDT
A replica of the warship that carried France’s Marquis de Lafayette to help American colonists in their war of independence sets sail for the United States on Saturday, symbolizing of a historic moment that binds the two nations.
Lafayette crossed the Atlantic on the original Hermione in 1780 to tell his friend George Washington, commander of the American insurgents against British imperial rule, that France was sending a strong military force to help them.
The replica fired its cannons as it sailed up the French river Charente on Saturday to the military shipyards of Rochefort, where both vessels were built. French president François Hollande paid a brief visit to the warship, which was due to set sail later in the day.
The new Hermione has been under construction since 1997 and cost €25m ($27m) to build. It will head for Yorktown, Virginia, where Lafayette and his forces played a critical part in a decisive battle against the British.
“I feel it’s important that this boat is remembered as more than just a modern recreation, that it represents the historical boat as well,” said Adam Hodges-LeClaire, a US citizen, history student and one of the 80-strong crew aboard the 1.2-tonne warship. Hodges-LeClaire made his own period costume to wear during the voyage.
The frigate is due to arrive in Yorktown on 5 June for a two-month tour of key locations in the American Revolution, including Annapolis, Boston, Philadelphia and New York City.
To the American independence movement, Lafayette – whose full name was Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert de Motier de Lafayette – was “our Marquis”.
Although an aristocrat who persuaded King Louis XVI into sending military help to Washington’s men, Lafayette also maintained a civic role after the king and much of the French nobility had been executed in France’s own revolution, which began in 1789.
The two countries sealed their friendship almost a century after Lafayette’s voyage with the 1876 inauguration of the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to New York harbour, a gift from the French people to commemorate the centenary of the declaration of independence.
Since then, Franco-US military and diplomatic relations have ebbed and flowed, hitting a recent low point when France opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
More recently, France resisted, then gave in to pressure from the US, its Nato ally, to delay the delivery of a helicopter-carrying warship to Russia due to the Ukraine crisis.