t his office at the Paris stock exchange, Alfred Fernand Omont would later surround himself with mementos from his Titanic voyage, including two playing cards in a glass frame. One card was an ace of diamonds, signed by his fellow players. The other card was mounted with the back facing the front. Between the two cards was a photograph of a lifeboat.
Frame with playing cards, with picture of lifeboat in the middle. Private collection
t his office, Omont also kept a picture of Catpain Rostron, which had been cut out of magazine. Rostron’s ship saved the lives of over 700 people. In Omont’s safe, there was also a letter from the French mother of one of the eight musicians playing on the deck of the Titanic. She asked him if he had happened to see her son while the ship was sinking. Also in Alfred Fernand Omont’s office was a photograph of an Afro-American woman carrying cotton bales. There was also a series of photographs commemorating special moments in his life before his marriage to Isabelle-Marie Omont, nee Chauny. A one-meter long piece of shrapnel was kept above the fireplace. Alfred Fernand Omont came close to death a second time, this time in Verdun in 1914. He had volunteered to fight for his country in the Great War. From then on, traumatic war experiences overlaid his Titanic memories, which his son François Omont now can attest to. Other survivors, such as Greenfield and Blanc, who had also been saved on Boat No. 7, hardly ever spoke of their Titanic experience. Was it their sense of guilt for having survived where so many others hadn’t?
Alfred Fernand Omont with his three children and a neighbour´s boy, 1933.
fter World War I, Alfred Fernand Omont began trading in wood, importing Scandinavian lumber necessary for rebuilding France. He died in 1948 of a cerebral aneurism while riding the Paris Metro.
Thanks to my wife Bénédicte Omont! Peter Heigl, Nuremberg translated by Wayne Lempke
The New York Times, April 20, 1912 The Daily Picayune, April 27, 1912 Alfred Fernand Omont´s testimony for the British commission of inquiry, May 1912 Francois Omont´s memoirs on his father and the Titanic, 2007 Latitude 41, Nr. 28, Association Francaise du Titanic, A. F. Omont, by Frank Gavard-Perret, 2006