Published: March 28, 2012
Burnham author recounts family member's escape from The Titanic

A Burnham-On-Sea pensioner has this week published a new book recounting how one of his family members escaped from the sinking Titanic liner a century ago.

Peter Crimmins, 78, has written 'Titanic: From One Extreme To The Other', which outlines how his father's cousin, James Crimmins, worked as a fireman in the boiler room of the ill-fated ship.

"James was one of the very last people to make it off the ship alive, managing to escape on the final lifeboat," Peter told

"On the nights of April 14th, 15th and 16th 1912 James was on duty doing his 8pm-midnight shift when the ship struck the iceberg."

"When the officers realised the seriousness of the situation, James and fourteen other firemen were ordered to draw and dampen down the fires."

"James helped where he could and also loaded the lifeboats with women and children, and he himself managed to get on the last lifeboat with 68 passengers."

The 21-year-old was in the lifeboat for four and a half hours in icy cold weather before he was picked up by another boat and taken safely to New York.

His brother-in-law, Thomas Kerr, who was also onboard The Titanic, was lost on the sinking ship.

While James was incredibly fortunate not to be among the 1,503 who lost their lives that night, he was injured in another shipping incident during World War II and died in 1956, aged 65.

Peter added: "Having discussed James' story with my family many times over the years, I decided it is important that it should be remembered for future generations, particularly given this year's 100 year anniversary. That's why I have written the book which I hope will be of interest to lots of people."

Peter's book has gone on sale this week at Burnham's seafront information centre, priced at £4.99. A donation from each sale will go to BIARS, the community group that runs the centre.


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