Thomson Beattie

Last updated
Thomson Beattie Thomson Beattie.jpg
Thomson Beattie

Thomson Beattie (November 25, 1875 - April 15, 1912) was a RMS Titanic victim. It has been suggested that, with travel partners Thomas McCaffry and John Hugo Ross, he was one of the gay passengers aboard the Titanic.

RMS <i>Titanic</i> British transatlantic passenger liner, launched and foundered in 1912

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of modern history's deadliest commercial marine disasters during peacetime. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, chief naval architect of the shipyard at the time, died in the disaster.


Early life

Thomson Beattie was born on November 25, 1875, in Fergus, Ontario. He was the last of eleven children. His father, John Beattie, [1] was a private banker, and in 1871 became the Clerk of Wellington County. [2]

Fergus, Ontario Unincorporated community in Ontario, Canada

Fergus is the largest community in Centre Wellington, a township within Wellington County in Ontario, Canada. It lies on the Grand River about 18 km NNW of Guelph. The population of this community at the time of the 2016 Census was 20,767, but the community is growing as new homes are being built for sale.

Wellington County, Ontario County in Ontario, Canada

Wellington County is a county located in Southwestern Ontario, Canada and is part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The County, made up of two towns and five townships, is predominantly rural in nature. However many of its residents commute to urban areas such as Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto and Hamilton for employment. According to the 2016 Census, the population of the County was 90,932.


At the death of his father in 1897, Beattie and one brother moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Beattie partnered with Richard Deans Waugh to open Haslam Land Co. [3] [4] After five years Beattie bought a distinguished house at 560 River Ave., in an upscale neighbourhood, and shared it with Dr. Field, a medical doctor. [3] In 1911 Waugh became mayor of Winnipeg and Beattie ran their company alone. [2]

Richard Deans Waugh was a Canadian politician, the 23rd Mayor of Winnipeg in 1912 and again from 1915 to 1916.

He was a prominent member of the Winnipeg Country Club and the Manitoba Club. [3]

Personal life

John Hugo Ross, Unknown, McCaffry, Mark Fortune and Thomson Beattie feed pigeons in St. Mark's Square, Venice, March 1912 John Hugo Ross, Unknown, McCaffry, Mark Fortune and Thomson Beattie feed pigeons in St. Mark's Square, Venice, March 1912.jpg
John Hugo Ross, Unknown, McCaffry, Mark Fortune and Thomson Beattie feed pigeons in St. Mark's Square, Venice, March 1912

In 1897 he met Thomas Francis McCaffry, who would die with Beattie aboard the Titanic. They traveled together to the Aegean in 1908, and to North Africa in 1910. The 1912 visit to the Middle East and Europe, with the return aboard the Titanic, was to be their last. [5]

In 1912, Beattie, McCaffrey and John Hugo Ross, another Titanic victim, left aboard the RMS Franconia for a 4 month-long tour to the Middle East and Europe. [6] In February they were in Cairo and visited Luxor and Aswan. After Cairo they landed in Naples and Venice. They boarded the Titanic as first class passengers in Cherbourg. Beattie and McCaffry shared cabin C-6. Beattie managed to leave on the last available raft, Collapsible A, but died of exposure. McCaffrey didn't board. One month after the sinking, Beattie's body was found and buried at sea. [7] [8] [5]

RMS <i>Franconia</i> (1910) 1910 ocean liner

The RMS Franconia was an ocean liner operated by the Cunard Line. She was launched on 23 July 1910 at the Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Wallsend shipyard. Franconia was intended for the line's Boston service, being the largest ship of the time to enter Boston harbor, with winter service in the New York—Mediterranean cruising service.

His family commissioned a tombstone for the family plot in Fergus, Ontario. [2]

It has been suggested that Beattie and McCaffrey were a couple and Ross was gay as well. [9] According to Alan Hustak: "Beattie and McCaffry resembled each other, dressed alike, and were often mistaken for brothers. The Winnipeg Free Press remarked on how similar they were, and observed the two of them 'were almost inseparable.'" [10]


A Bronze Tablet was erected in the Winnipeg City Hall to commemorate the city's Titanic victims: Mark Fortune, Charles A. Fortune, John Hugo Ross, Thomson Beattie, George A. Graham and J.J. Borebank. All Winnipeg men on board the Titanic died, while all Winnipeg women survived. [11]


  1. Thorning, Stephen. "A little known local survivor of the 1912 Titanic disaster" . Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 "1st Class Passengers » Mr Thomson Beattie" . Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 "Thomson Beattie - 16 Apr 1912, Tue • Page 1". The Winnipeg Tribune: 1. 1912. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  4. Bumsted, J. M. (1999). Dictionary of Manitoba Biography. University of Manitoba Press. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  5. 1 2 "1st Class Passengers » Mr Thomas Francis McCaffry" . Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  6. "Local Manager Titanic Passenger - 15 Apr 1912, Mon • Page 1". Vancouver Daily World: 1. 1912. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  7. "Three Dead Bodies Afloat in Mid Ocean - 16 May 1912, Thu • Page 1". The Huntington Press: 1. 1912. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  8. "The Titanic's last lifeboat: Amazing photos show vessel containing three rotting bodies - including a man still in his dinner jacket - which was found by passing liner a month later and 200 miles away". MailOnline. 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  9. Brewster, Hugh (2012). Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World. Crown/Archetype. p. 73. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  10. Hustak, Alan (1998). Titanic: The Canadian Story. Véhicule Press. p. 24. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  11. "Titanic Victims' Heroism is Told for Future Ages - 18 Dec 1912, Wed • Page 1". The Winnipeg Tribune: 1. 1912. Retrieved 2 October 2017.