Third class passenger had little chance of survival

THOMAS Rowan Morrow had worked as a general labourer in Rathfriland before paying £7 and 15 shillings for a third class Titanic ticket - worth around £120 in today’s money - after making the lengthy journey from his native Drumlough to the southern tip of Ireland.

It is understood a friend Robert Bell, who still has relatives in the Rathfriland area, was to travel with Thomas but for unknown reasons didn’t board the ship. Robert later sailed to America on the Lusitania.

Thomas, a past Worshipful Master within Drumlough LOL 153, was en route to see his brother Waddell in Alberta, Canada to where he had emigrated three years previously.

Sadly he never made it and, in reports carried in the Belfast Telegraph and News Letter following the ship’s sinking, he was described as “a man of great promise” and his death was said to have caused widespread sympathy in his local area.

In the 1911 census, Thomas’ name is listed along with his widowed mother and sister although it is thought he also had a brother Robert and two sisters, Mary and Sara.

Speaking to the Leader earlier this year Philip Mowat, from the Ulster American Folk Park, said Thomas is likely to have been one of only a handful of passengers from Ulster who sailed on the White Star Liner because the port in Cork was such a distance away.

He said, “Most people from the Northern part of Ireland usually sailed on ships from Belfast or other closer ports but it seems these two men for some reason travelled all the way to Cork where Thomas boarded the Titanic.”

While Thomas may not have enjoyed the luxuries of the first class passengers, it was said even third class accommodation was “of a very superior character” for the era. Passengers had use of a dining saloon, smoke room, general room and promenade.

Visitors to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast have recently been able to take in the sights and sounds that a passenger on the ship may have experienced all those years ago.

Thomas’ third class status immediately put him at a disadvantage when the ship began to sink as men in third class were some of the last to make it into the few lifeboats carried on the boat. Just 75 of the 462 adult males in third class survived the disaster. Sadly Thomas was not one of them.