STRANGE HISTORICAL PICTURES -THE TITANIC ORPHANS - LOUIS AND LOLA - TWINS THAT SURVIVED THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC!
The Titanic Orphans: Two brothers put on last lifeboat by father who died in disaster (and were only reunited with their mother after she saw newspaper appeal)
By KERRY MCQUEENEY
Michel and Edmond Navratil must have felt a sense of relief when they finally made it on to the last lifeboat to be successfully launched from the sinking Titanic.
Despite their tender years, the brothers - aged just four and two - would have been aware of the terror and hysteria that had engulfed those still trapped on the stricken vessel.
They were placed on the lifeboat by their father - but it was the last time they ever saw him.
Lost boys: The pair were reunited with mother Marcelle when she sailed to New York City after seeing the newspaper articles about them - which included their photographs
As the 100th anniversary of the disaster approaches, Michel and Edmond's incredible story of survival has been resurrected through a series of photographs documenting those who escaped.
The boys became known as 'Louis and Lola' - the only children to be rescued from the Titanic without a parent or guardian.
After placing them on the lifeboat, their father died during the sinking. They were among the 700 passengers picked up by the Carpathia.
According to the website Retronaut, which has featured photographs of the survivors, Michel later claimed to remember his father telling him: 'My child, when your mother comes for you, as she surely will, tell her that I loved her dearly and still do.
'Tell her I expected her to follow us, so that we might all live happily together in the peace and freedom of the New World.'
The youngsters, who were French, spoke no English and they were unable to identify themselves to rescuers.
As a result, a French-speaking passengers called Margaret Hays cared for the brothers until their mother was traced.
Lucky ones: The survivors were picked up and taken to the US - where the Navratil brothers had been heading with their father to start a new life
A number of newspaper articles about the boys - which included the publication of their photographs - eventually led to their mother, Marcelle, being traced.
She sailed to New York City and was finally reunited with her boys on May 16, 1912 - one month and one day after they made it off the Titanic alive.
One could only imagine the emotions their mother must have felt when she saw her sons, particularly as their father had covertly boarded the Titanic with the boys so the three of them could start a new life in America - without Marcelle.
The boys' parents had separated in early 1912 and Marcelle was awarded full custody of the children. However, she allowed her sons to stay with their father over the Easter weekend and he instead decided to emigrate to the United States.
Homeward bound: The Carpathia had been sailing from New york to Europe but turned around after picking up the huge number of survivors
The three travelled to England following a brief stay in Monte Carlo before boarding the doomed ship.
In later life, Michel recalled his memories of the Titanic as a 'magnificent ship'.
Through a translation he said: 'I remember looking down the length of the hull - the ship looked splendid. My brother and I played on the forward deck and were thrilled to be there.
'One morning, my father, my brother, and I were eating eggs in the second-class dinning room. The sea was stunning. My feeling was one of total and utter well-being.
'I don't recall being afraid, I remember the pleasure, really, of going plop! into the life-boat. We ended up next to the daughter of an American banker who managed to save her dog - no one objected.
Carpathia’s Captain Arthur Rostron found 'only a sea covered with wreckage and debris' where the Titanic had sunk - but crucially he found the lifeboats and took on board their exhausted passengers
'There were vast differences of people's wealth on the ship, and I realised later that if we hadn't been in second-class, we'd have died. The people who came out alive often cheated and were aggressive, the honest didn't stand a chance.'
Immortalised in films and brought to life with exhibits throughout the world featuring artefacts from the cabins that now lay 12,415 feet below sea level, the ship is undoubtedly one of the most famous in history.
The story of the disaster is well known: the ship left Southampton, England on its maiden voyage bound for New York.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120129/The-Titanic-Orphans-Brothers-Michel-Edmond-Navratil-escaped-sinking-vessels-lifeboat.html#ixzz2SLCMkloq