The Truth About Titanic Survivor Eva Hart

The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the most famous ship disasters in history. What was then hailed an unsinkable ship met its end in the middle of its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York on April 14, 1912. Of its more than 2,000 passengers and crew, just a little over 700 survived the Titanic disaster, and one of them was Eva Hart, a 7-year-old girl who was on the ship with her family.

The young girl boarded the Titanic with her parents as second-class passengers on April 10. She would become the last living survivor of the Titanic before her death in 1996 at 91 years old (via The New York Times). Throughout the years, Hart had been outspoken about her experience on the ship, the events that happened afterward, and how the sounds and sights on that fateful night never left her, even if she was just a child when it all happened.

The Hart family

Eva Marie Hart was born to Benjamin Hart and Esther Bloomfield in London on January 31, 1905. Eva was the couple's only child, and Benjamin worked as a builder. At that time, there was an economic recession and Benjamin thought it best for the entire family to emigrate to Canada to seek a better life. According to Mental Floss, Benjamin's brother had already moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and he had plans to open a drug store there.

Esther was apprehensive about moving to a different country, but the family ultimately decided to push forward with the plan. Benjamin purchased tickets for the ship called Philadelphia, but because of a coal workers' strike, most of the passengers from that ship were transferred to the Titanic. Eva recalled her father being ecstatic about traveling on the massive oceanliner. Esther, on the other hand, was nervous and felt that something bad was going to happen (via Sandi Altner).

How Eva Hart survived the Titanic's sinking

It was Eva Hart's first time seeing a ship, and she described the Titanic as massive. On the day it was scheduled to set sail, the environment was filled with excitement from the passengers who were looking forward to boarding the luxurious liner. Not everyone was delighted, though. Upon entering their cabin, Esther Hart said she wouldn't be able to sleep at night, per Encyclopedia Titanica. She had no explanation for the feeling in her gut telling her that something was going to happen, but she nevertheless listened to her intuition and spent nights awake in their cabin.

Eva was sleeping the night the Titanic hit the iceberg. Benjamin Hart was quick to act and headed to the cabin to tell his wife and daughter what had happened. He wrapped a blanket over the young girl and rushed them to the ship's deck where the lifeboats were located. However, as Barking and Dagenham Post reported, the lifeboats only had space for 800 people. Fortunately, the Harts were one of the first ones to reach the deck. Eva recalled her father telling her to get into the lifeboat with her mother and to "hold mummy's hand and be a good girl." Benjamin then proceeded to help other women and children board the other lifeboats, and that was the last time she saw her father.

Eva Hart's life after the tragedy

Eva Hart and her mother boarded the rescue ship Carpathia along with other survivors. They were taken to New York and then traveled back to England. Benjamin Hart didn't survive the Titanic's sinking, and his body was never recovered. Eva experienced nightmares even years after the tragedy. She couldn't forget the screams that she heard that night and the silence that followed when the Titanic disappeared into the frigid waters, per Encyclopedia Titanica. Esther Hart died when Eva was 23 years old, and it was after that that she decided to face her fears and travel by sea once again and went to Australia and Singapore.

In her later years, Eva became one of the most outspoken survivors of the Titanic tragedy. In 1985, the Titanic's wreckage had just been discovered, and scientists and researchers said that they wouldn't attempt to raise it from its location. According to The Washington Post, Eva spoke about the discovery and opined that the wreck should be left alone. "I would prefer my father's grave to remain undisturbed," she stated in an interview. In 1987, salvage efforts began, and once again, Eva noted that the gravesite should be respected and be made into a memorial.

Esther and Eva Hart's letter

In 2014, a letter that Esther Hart penned to her mother on April 14, 1912, was sold at an auction. It was written aboard the Titanic on the day it sank. According to The Daily Mail, Esther wrote the letter to update her loved ones about their voyage and described how her day went. Early that morning, Esther and Eva went to church where the little girl happily sang hymns. She wrote about the cold weather and apologized for the sloppy handwriting caused by the motion of the ship. At the end of the letter, Eva wrote in shaky handwriting, "heaps of love and kisses to all from Eva."

The letter, which was written on paper labeled RMS Titanic, was never sent, as the ship hit an iceberg later that night. It was found inside the pocket of Benjamin Hart's coat, which he placed over his wife before he guided her and Eva into a lifeboat. The letter was sold for approximately $200,000 at an auction in London, per NPR.

Eva Hart's later years and death

Eva Hart never married. She lived a long and fruitful life and worked in various places. She became a professional singer in Australia, and then went back to England and took a job as an organizer for the Conservative Party, as reported by The New York Times. She was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1974 for her contributions to political and public services. She also participated in Titanic interviews and conventions in the late '80s and early '90s.

Hart published a memoir in 2014 titled "A Girl Aboard the Titanic," wherein she recalls the events that transpired on the night of April 14, 1912, and how she and her mother survived the sinking. She spent the latter part of her life in a hospice in London, England and died in 1996 at 91 years old (via AP News).