More Lloyds of London History By Miller

By Paul Miller

Here is a section from a rather harrowing insurance claim; made by Anna Sofia Sjöblom, a passenger aboard the RMS Titanic.

Miss. Sjöblom was a Finnish immigrant, making her way to Washington State. She was a third class passenger, having been sent by her mother in Finland to join her father and brother who worked in a logging camp near Olympia. Her relatives did not know of her presence on the Titanic as she had intended travelling on the Philadelphia, but her plans were changed by a seamen’s strike. 

The 14th April 1912 was Anna’s 18th birthday and she was in bed in her cabin suffering from seasickness when the collision occurred. Later facing the Titanic from a lifeboat, as the penultimate passenger to leave the steamer, she was horrified as the ship sank and hundreds of passengers leaped into the water: “I saw so many things, so many terrible things, that sometimes I can hardly remember anything. It seems just as if I wanted to rest my mind a long time.”

“The boat that I got into finally was the next to the last boat launched. There must have been 50 people in it. It was so crowded that we sat on each other’s laps, three deep. While the boat was being lowered, a man jumped into it from the deck above. He came down feet first on my head, and nearly broke my neck. He sprawled over the people in the lifeboat and nearly fell overboard. I was in intense pain for hours after he had jumped on me.”

Before the lights of the ship went out, Anna clearly saw the iceberg that brought about the disaster.

Her insurance claim was for lost belongings (£200) and personal injuries (£6,000) but’s unclear how much she received. Anna’s was one of many claims jointly filed by survivors against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, the parent company of the White Star Line. Hundreds of claimants joined the suit, asking for more than $16 million in damages. In the end, the company paid a settlement of $664,000 to be divided amongst them.

Anna later married Gordon Kinkaid and lived in Olympia, Washington State, until her death in 1975 at the age of 81.

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