Barbara Joyce Dainton (née West; May 24th, 1911 – October 16th, 2007) was the second last remaining survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15th, 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage. She was also the last living second class passenger on the ship.
Barbara Joyce West was born in Bournemouth, England on May 24th, 1911 to Edwy Arthur West and Ada Mary Worth. Ada had given birth to a daughter, Constance, in 1907, and was pregnant with a third child when she boarded the Titanic.
Edwy decided to start a new life in the fruit culture business in Gainesville, Florida and, along with his wife and two children, were immigrating there by way of the Titanic.
Barbara, her parents, and older sister, Constance, boarded the Titanic on April 10th, 1912 at Southampton as second-class passengers. Barbara was just 10 months and 18 days old making her the second youngest passenger on board. In an interview, Barbara said that she could still recall the screams heard from the sinking ship, she also said that she remembers her father taking her to the boat deck and placing her in the boat, saying his farewell, the last time she would ever see him, and crying.
When the Titanic collided with an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14th, 1912, Barbara was asleep in her cabin. Her mother, Ada, later recalled:
- "We were all asleep when the collision took place, but were only jolted in our berths-my husband and children not even being awakened, and it was only the hurrying of passengers outside the cabin that caused alarm. The steward made us all get up and dress thoroughly with plenty of warm things. Arthur placed lifebelts upon the children and then carried them to the boat deck. I followed carrying my handbag. After seeing us safely into the lifeboat, Arthur returned to the cabin for a thermos of hot milk, and, finding the lifeboat let down, he reached it by means of a rope, gave the flask to me, and, with a farewell, returned to the deck of the ship."
Barbara, her mother, and sister, all survived the sinking and were picked up by the rescue ship, RMS Carpathia. Her father, however, did not survive the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
The surviving West family arrived in New York City aboard the Carpathia on 18 April. Upon their arrival, Ada booked passage for herself and her daughters aboard the White Star Line's RMS Celtic. The ship arrived at Liverpool, England on 6 May and Ada gave birth to a third daughter, Edwyna Joan, on 14 September.
Ada died on April 20th, 1953 at the age of 74 and Constance died on September 12th, 1963 at the age of 56. Little is known about Barbara's sister, Edwyna.
Throughout her life, Barbara avoided all publicity associated with the Titanic. As she aged and became one of only a handful of living survivors, interest in Barbara's story grew, but she refused to discuss the disaster outside her family circle often saying she wanted 'nothing to do with the Titanic people'. She did, however, communicate sparingly with the British Titanic Society, but such communication was heavily guarded.
Barbara died on October 16th, 2007 in Truro, England at the age of 96; she was the last surviving Second Class passenger. Her funeral was held 5 November at the Truro Cathedral. To avoid unwanted attention and maintain privacy, Barbara insisted that her funeral take place before any public announcement of her death. Barbara's death made Millvina Dean, then 95, of Southampton, England, the last living survivor of the Titanic sinking; Dean died 19 months later.
- "Telegraph, Barbara Dainton (9 November, 2007)". Telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/09/db0903.xml. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- "One of last Titanic survivors dies in England at age 96". Associated Press. November 8, 2007. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/08/europe/EU-GEN-Obit-Britain-Titanic-Survivor.php. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN
- A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord, ed. Nathaniel Hilbreck, Owl Books, rep. 2004, ISBN