The key that a steward on the Titanic would have used to retrieve lifejackets has re-surfaced after 104 years. The key was found, along with an antique pocket watch, on Sidney Sedunary who unfortunately passed away during the tragedy at aged 25.
He was last seen passing the cork-filled life preservers to the third class passengers on the lower decks of the boat as it was sinking. He signed up to work on the Titanic on April 4, 1912 – only six days before it left Southampton on its maiden voyage to New York.
The Titanic, which was known as the ‘unsinkable boat’, claimed the lives of over 1,500 people when it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on the evening of April 14th, 1912, before sinking in the early hours of April 15th, 1912. It is known as one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
The fob of the key is engraved with ‘Locker 14 F Deck’ and is believed it would have unlocked a cupboard which stowed a number of lifejackets. The courageous Sidney would have had to wade through the chilling ice water that filled the boat to retrieve the jackets, as F Deck was in the lower bowels of the boat. His antique pocket watch stopped at precisely at 2:20am, the time that the Titanic sunk. It was sent, with the key, to his grieving and pregnant widow in Southampton.
A descendant of Sidney has now decided to put this timepiece up for sale at Wiltshire auctioneers, Henry Alridge and Son, and is up for an estimated £50,000. It is being sold on 22nd October in Devizes. The pocket watch was donated to Southampton’s Sea City Museum in 2010.
Image available under Public Domain.