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REMEMBERING THE TITANIC: Local woman share's family's story

April 6, 2012

Antoine Temmerman, pictured at his home in Denderhautem, Belgium in March of 1912, just before he left for America.


Editor’s Note: The following is the first of a three-part series on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the impact that the event is having today on a local family.


COLUMBIA CITY — Holding back tears in her eyes, Gail Morris from Shriner Lake folded her hands together, sat back in her chair and turned her thoughts to the Titanic.

“When I think about the Titanic, I just thank God that my grandfather was not on it,” said Morris. “I feel very bad for everybody that was.”
A few weeks ago, Gail Morris received an invitation to go to Belgium for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the famous ship.

The invitation came to her because her grandfather, Antoine Augustus Temmerman, born in Kausen, Belgium Feb. 2, 1893, purchased a ticket to sail on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. He was nineteen at the time.
Temmerman, who lived in Denderhautem, Belgium, secured a job in Detriot, Mich., along with other friends who had originally planned to go on the Titanic.

“At that time there were posters encouraging Belgians to immigrate to America on the Titanic,” said Morris. “There was a ‘sugar beet campaign’ in Michigan, and they wanted experienced farmers from Belgium to help.”
However, Temmerman did not make the venture to the United States on the Titanic, as it was delayed from March 20 to April 4 due to the collision of the HMS Hawke, a Royal Navy Cruiser, with the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic.

The Olympic returned to Belfast for repairs, and the Titanic did not set out when originally intended.
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