Sunday Letters: William Kelly to his mother

I was thinking that I would do something a bit different on Sundays. Instead of sharing my letter on Sundays, I thought I would share someone else’s letters that are interesting or catch you up on the letters that I receive back from the people I’m writing to – I hope to get some responses! As Lazlo Toth says, “You send letters out, you get letters back!”

Today I thought I would share an old handwritten letter that is from a crew member of the Titanic on its fateful voyage. William Kelly wrote to his mother from Normandy, France five days before the ship sank. Kelly, born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1888, was an assistant electrical engineer and Titanic was his first sea voyage. He did not survive and his remains, if recovered, where never identified.

titanic-william-Kelly-harland-and-wolff-to-mother-2 titanic-william-Kelly-harland-and-wolff-to-mother-3 titanic-william-Kelly-harland-and-wolff-to-mother-4


RMS Titanic
9 April 1912

My Dear Mother,

As this is the last opportunity I will have of writing home for some time am sending this to let you know how I was getting on.

We are just after leaving Cherburgh [sic], after a wild passage across the English Channel.

We have a large crowd of passengers on board, the 1st + 2nd class are just what you would expect but the third class are terrible they include everything from a Christian to a Jew, not excluding Chinese and Japanese with children of all ages.

We are living like princes now, we had lunch at 1 o’c[lock], I thought it was dinner, and we dined at 7 o’c[lock].

I hope when the Atlantic gets a hold of me I won’t be sorry I eat so much.

I did not spend a bad Easter, of course, the Monday is the Chief day here.  I went to a place called the Common where there was a fancy show, and afterwards I went for a trip into the country.

I like Southampton very much the scenery is beautiful and the town itself is very nice, but it is very old fashioned.

From what I have seen of England I think Ireland is not a bad place after all.  Dublin is certainly a more up to date cit[y] in every way than Southampton, which is considered a leading English city.

You might tell Rose to send me a few arrangements for hanging up coats and an unlined pair of brown kid gloves size 8 ¼ or 8 ½.  Send them to meet the boat a[t] Southampton.

I think I will now conclude.

Yours affectionately


P.S. I intended sending you the money tfor the box, but I forgot to get the P.O. [Postal Order] before comming on board.  WK.

*Images and background information courtesy of Encyclopedia-Titanica.

Drop me a note if you know of an interesting handwritten letter that should be shared here.


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