A penknife that was crucial in saving the lives of 32 people on a lifeboat that was fleeing the Titanic has been found just before the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship.
Margaret Devaney was 19 when she boarded the Titanic. The Sligo woman was on her way to New York to make a better life for herself and the penknife was a parting gift from her younger brother John. The knife has been fitted with two new blades just before the then 12-year-old gave it to his sister.
On that fateful night on April 15, a ship steward desperately asked if any passenger on the C lifeboat had something sharp to cut the ropes so the lifeboat could get away from the ship.
The lifeboat has become entangled in the Titanic’s rivets and was in danger of going down with the ship. Margaret produced the penknife that was used to cut the ropes and allow the lifeboat to get away.
The knife was recently discovered at the Sligo store that repaired the knife in 1912. A special ceremony will commemorate Margaret and her penknife as part of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship.
Devaney’s granddaughter, Patti Gildenberg, lives in Houston and has several of her grandmother’s possessions from the trip, including her rosary beads and her boarding ticket.
"My grandmother clutched her beads in her hands saying the Rosary for the people suffering and screaming in the water. We wouldn't be without those beads in this family. I'm so proud of what she instilled in all of us. She accepted her life was a gift of grace after Titanic even though she didn't consider she earned it. She was a lovely role model for all of us."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore