Fifth Officer Harold Lowe
- Death and Memorials

Lowe's obituary in The North
Wales Weekly News
(Colwyn Bay,
Wales), 18 May 1944
(Click image to enlarge)

Sadly, in 1942 Harold Lowe suffered a stroke and he became wheelchair bound, unable to continue his wartime role. Two years later, on the 12th of May 1942, Lowe passed away at the age of 61, the first death among the surviving Titanic officers. The cause of death was listed as hypertension and cerebral haemorrhage malaria (chronic). His recurring problem with malaria had plagued him since his early days at sea when he sailed along the African coast.

He was laid to rest near St. Trillo’s Parish Church in Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, not far from Colwyn Bay. Nellie chose a tombstone in the design of an open book, with the left-hand page memorializing Harold:


Later, the ashes of his daughter Florence "Josie" Edge Lowe were also interred on her death in 1996.

Harold Lowe's grave at St. Trillo’s Parish Church in Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, in 2017. Photograph: Trevor Baxter (Click image to enlarge)

The Lowe family express their thanks, The North Wales Weekly News
(Colwyn Bay, Wales) · 25 May 1944


Edgar Reginald Lowe.
Credit: Inger Sheil/Titanic Valour

Nellie joined her husband in death three years later on the 10th of February, 1947.

His sister Ada (born in 1879) had died in 1937. Edgar Reginald Lowe - Harold Godfrey Lowe's brother who was born in 1885 and had also followed a career in the merchant service - settled in New Zealand and enjoyed a successful career with the Union Steam Ship Company, commanding many of their vessels before passing away suddenly in 1941. His second son, who also had a career in the merchant service, was named Harold Arthur Lowe after Harold Godfrey and Harold and Edgar's brother Arthur.

John Lowe, the grandson of Harold Lowe, was also a captain in the merchant marine. In 1969 he made the local news when the "former member of the Llandudno and Distrcit Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps... passed Board of Trade examinations qualifying him for his Master Mariner's (Foreign Going) Certificate." As a cadet (1954-59 )John Lowe was awarded the "Commodore Gerald Jones Trophy for being the best cadet of the year." He worked for the Ellerman Line as an officer and was also "a member of the Conway Yacht Club, Deganwy, and his hobby sailing Conway One Design boats." (The North Wales Weekly News (Colwyn Bay, Wales) 19 June 1969)

The North Wales Weekly News
(Colwyn Bay, Wales) 19 June 1969)

In a 2009 North Wales Daily Post news article is was reported that readers "have nominated Harold Godfrey Lowe as one of our 30 top North Walians":

"His grandson John Lowe, now 66, lives just down the road in Deganwy and has recently retired after 41 years as a seaman himself, skippering huge cargo ships and roll-on, roll-off vessels across the oceans. The tale of his grandfather was, in part, an inspiration for his own love of the sea. But he has never watched James Cameron's Titanic epic."

And the fictional portrayal of his grandfather coming to the rescue of Rose means nothing to him. When the film hit the cinemas in 1998, he was himself at sea, captain of a cargo ship.

"No, I haven't seen the film. It's a love story isn't it? They used poetic licence, it's a work of fiction. It doesn't really mean anything to me," says John.

John Lowe reserves his pride for the actual deeds of his grandfather who died at the age of 61 in 1944 when John was just 18 months old.

"By all accounts, he very rarely spoke about it (the Titanic disaster). I think he preferred to forget. He was only doing his duty really. You get to the stage when you do these sorts of things," says John. "I am a seafarer myself. When push comes to shove you act accordingly. It's inbred in everybody."...

There is, points out his grandson John, some good to come out of the loss of the Titanic. "Out of the disaster a lot of new laws were implemented and better forecasting and ice patrols came out. A lot of good came out of it."

As a seaman himself had he ever had a brush with dreaded icebergs? "No, but I have worked in ice and seen icebergs," John Lowe replies. "You made sure you kept clear of them."(Daily Post, 20 July 2009,

Jonn Lowe went on to assist Inger Sheil in the writing of her biography Titanic Valour. He died in April 2019. A year later a large archive of family heirlooms was sold at auction. Another grandson, Godfrey Lowe lives in Australia.

Grandson John Lowe at the unveiling of the plaque in Barmouth in 2012. (ITV)

Author of "Titanic Valour", Inger Sheil, and Harold Lowe's grandson, Godfrey, aboard the Australian National Maritime Museum's SY ENA. (Inger Sheil/Titanic Valour)


The Blue Plaque on the Lowe family home unveiled in 2012. (BBC)

On April 10th, 2012, during the centenary of the sinking, a blue plaque was unveiled at Lowe’s retirement home in Deganwy, identifying the property as having been lived in by the former Fifth Officer of the Titanic. In attendance at the presentation was merchant marine captain John Lowe, another of Harold Lowe’s grandsons.

A BBC article on the unveiling reported:

Lowe lived in the waterfront house in Deganwy, Conwy, for 13 years until his death in 1944 aged 61. His grandson, John Harold Lowe, now lives there. Mr Lowe, a retired merchant navy captain, said his grandfather was known locally as Titanic Lowe. However, Mr Lowe does not remember his grandfather, who died when Mr Lowe was still a toddler.... Family photographs show the Titanic officer cuddling his grandson.

Mr Lowe said: "I've always held him in great esteem. Now that he's getting some recognition, that's even better. "Within the house, we've had various photographs up. I was proud to be associated with him, although in those days I hadn't delved into it. I knew he'd saved people but didn't realise the extent that he'd gone back [in a lifeboat to rescue people]. He was very reticent to talk about it. He talked to his son, my uncle, about it, but it was forbidden to talk about it."

The plaque was commissioned by the History of Deganwy Group and was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon.

(BBC, 10 April 2012)

The Lowe family home in Daganwy, as pictured in 2011 (Google maps)

On April 15th, 2012 a second plaque was unveiled, this time in Barmouth. Maddie Mathews, an 18 year old student from Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd, had argued that Harold Lowe needed to be remembered for his acts of heroism when the ship sank, and she initiated a Facebook campaign entitled "We want recognition for Harold Lowe in Barmouth!" to accomplish this. The outcome was the dedication of an inscribed slate plaque which was unveiled along Barmouth Harbour. The design included Lowe’s photograph and a colour image of the Titanic. Ioan Gruffudd, the Welsh actor who portrayed Lowe in James Cameron’s movie, Titanic, was not able to attend, but a letter he wrote to the city council was read at the event. Harold’s grandson, Captain John Lowe, was once again in attendance. It was unveiled by Captain John Lowe at the Harbour Master's office at 2pm on the 15th of April 2012.

The second plaque unveiled in Barmouth. (BBC)

The second plaque unveiled in Barmouth. ("We want recognition for Harold Lowe in Barmouth!" Facebook group)

A BBC article on the unveiling reported:

At the ceremony, Captain Lowe said: "The heroic deeds of my grandfather are well documented and I won't go into that. "It is fitting that the memorial plaque is situated here on the quay from where you can see Penrallt, where my grandfather lived and the Mawddach estuary where he learnt his sailing skills." (BBC, 15 April 2012)

Artifacts and Auctions

In 2004, a menu of the first meal ever served aboard Titanic, which Lowe had sent to his fiancée when the ship was docked in Ireland, sold for £51,000, breaking the record for auctioned Titanic memorabilia at the time.

More recently, on the 20th of June 2020, a large number of Lowe's belongings were sold at an auction at Henry Aldridge & Son, including his whistle, telescope, artwork and bicorn hat. Auctioneers Henry Alridge & Son stated: "The following archive is sold by direct descent and has never been auctioned or offered for sale remaining in the Lowe family since 1912."

White Star Line gilt officer's buttons from the uniform of Harold Lowe, the largest of which was mounted in enamel and converted by Mr Lowe into a hat pin. (Henry Aldridge & Son - Titanic, White Star, Ocean Liner & Transport Memorabilia Auction, 20th June 2020). (Click image to enlarge)

"Titanic" by Filson Young 1912 first edition stamped on front inside leaf 1 Marine Crescent, Deganwy, North Wales, the Lowe family home.(Henry Aldridge & Son - Titanic, White Star, Ocean Liner & Transport Memorabilia Auction, 20th June 2020). (Click image to enlarge)