Front cover of a new book about the Titanic, created with the help of two Whitchurch residents.

The lookout in the crow’s nest of the Titanic, who first spotted the iceberg on 14th April 1912 that caused the ship to sink, had a family connection with Whitchurch, Hampshire.

The lookout was Reginald Robinson Lee. His younger brother by 5 years, Herbert William Lee, was born in Whitchurch in the autumn of 1875. Their parents were William Lee (a schoolmaster) and Jane (a schoolmistress).

Reginald survived the disaster and was rescued in lifeboat no.13 only to pass away a year later due to pneumonia. Reginald’s testimony to the British and American inquiries was vital in understanding how the disaster unfolded – and contrasts with the fictionalisation in the popular movie Titanic.


Now, two current residents of Whitchurch have had a hand in making a new book about the Titanic – a liner which set sail from nearby Southampton 100 years ago. Gill Knappett (editor) and Jan Kean (picture researcher) have worked together on this book by local publisher, Pitkin Publishing, based in Andover.

Many schoolchildren are studying Titanic this year and the new SeaCity Museum in Southampton opens on 10 April which many schools will be visiting over the coming weeks.

Gill Knappett visited our primary school last week to talk to the children about how a book, and in particular Titanic, is published.


10 April 2012 marks the centenary of Titanic’s maiden – and only – voyage. One hundred years on, the story of the famous ship continues to fascinate.

In an attempt to reach a modern audience, day-by-day accounts about the Titanic is taking place on the Twitter social media site, as if the people involved with this historic ship had been able to ‘tweet’ about their lives and the ship on the days leading up to its launch and its subsequent disastrous sinking.

Details about Reginald Lee is HERE. The SeaCity museum website is HERE. The book is available in bookshops and online HERE. There is also an iPad application – Titanic: Her Journey – available HERE. You can ‘follow’ historic day-by-day stories about Titanic on Twitter HERE.

If you are aware of any locals who were involved with the Titanic then please contact us. Do you know of a local resident who help build the ship? Who worked on it? Who was a passenger?

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