A letter written on the Titanic by a hero pastor who died in the ship’s sinking is up for auction in the U.K.
The letter was written by John Harper, the pastor of Walworth Road Baptist Church in London, a widower who was traveling with his sister and 6-year-old daughter to preach at the Moody Church in Chicago.
The Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. ship's time on April 14, 1912, during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. The liner sank just over two hours later with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge of Henry Aldridge and Son told Fox News that, while Harper’s daughter and sister were put in a lifeboat and survived, the pastor stayed on board the Titanic and gave his lifejacket to a fellow passenger.
“Contemporary accounts state that Harper preached the Gospel to the end (especially Acts 16:31), first aboard the sinking ship and then afterward to those in the freezing water before succumbing to the inevitable,” he explained via email.
The letter thanks “dear Brother Young” for his help prior to Harper’s departure to the U.S. Written on Titanic stationery, the letter is dated April 11, 1912, and was mailed from Queenstown, Ireland when the Titanic picked up passengers there that day.
“I am penning you this line just before we get to Queenstown to assure you that I have not forgotten you and especially all your kindness while we were north,” Harper writes.
With a pre-sale estimate of $38,850 to $64,750, the letter will be auctioned on Nov. 14.
More than 100 years after the Titanic’s sinking, the disaster continues to be a source of fascination. Last year, an expedition to the Titanic led by EYOS Expeditions revealed the ill-fated liner’s deterioration on the North Atlantic seabed.
Eerie footage of the dive obtained by the BBC showed the Titanic’s rusting bow and parts of the ship’s wrecked hull. Despite the wreck’s rapidly deteriorating state, glass can still be seen in some of the Titanic’s portholes.
In 2017, a sea-stained letter recovered from the body of a Titanic victim was sold at auction for $166,000.
Earlier this year, new research said that space weather may have played a part in the Titanic disaster.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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