A new play intends to shed light on the man who has gone down as one of the greatest cowards of the 20th century.
Liverpool born, Joseph Bruce Ismay was one of the owners of the Titantic who managed to escape the doomed liner when it sank on April 15, 1912. He later moved to Connemara in County Galway after he was publicly shunned for his deserting the Titanic.
The new play entitled “The Man who left the Titanic” tells the tale of the Ismay. The production will premiere on Saturday as part of the Belfast City Council’s two-month Titanic 100 festival.
The new show asks whether Ismay simply did what anyone would have done in similar circumstances.
After the famous liner hit an iceberg 400 miles south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and began to sink, Ismay was rescued in a lifeboat.
At the enquiry into the disaster Ismay testified that the ship was in its final moments of sinking as he managed to escape.
He was later branded a coward by the American and British press for deserting the ship while women and children perished.
Many rumors emerged that he had dressed like a woman so he could escape while less harsher critics proposed that he had merely followed the “women and children first” principle and assisted those on board before he took his place.
Ismay later reseigned as president of International Mercantile Marine Company and chairman of the White Star Line and maintained a low profile after the disaster.
Soon after he retired in the mid-1920s and moved to Connemara in County Galway. He later lost part of his right leg when he was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1930s. He died in Mayfair London in 1937 at the age of 74.
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