Nobody believed Berthe Mayne when she told them she was aboard the ill-fated Titanic, but they should have.
The Belgian cabaret singer used the stage name of Bella Vielly and was described by the Belgian newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws as “being well known in Brussels in circles of pleasure and was often seen in the company of people who like to wine and dine and enjoy life.”
In the winter of 1911, Mayne met and fell in love with a young Canadian hockey player, Quigg Baxter.
Baxter convinced Mayne to accompany him to Montreal aboard the “Ship of Dreams,” the RMS Titanic.
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As impropriety was not to be ignored in 1912, Baxter got Mayne her own first-class stateroom and reserved it under the name of “Mrs. de Villiers,” therefore, the name Mayne was not on the passenger list.
The night of the tragedy, Baxter found Mayne and steered her directly to lifeboat six, where Baxter’s mother and sister, also traveling with them, waited.
After the sinking, she stayed with the Baxter family in Montreal for several months, then returned to Europe and resumed her singing career.
Mayne told her story many times.
But people were not buying it. Her own family didn’t believe it. This became an issue for Mayne later in life as no one would accept that she was the mysterious Mrs. de Villiers.
It wasn’t until after Mayne’s death in October 1962, when her family was going through her possessions, that they found the truth in old newspaper clippings, letters, and photos.
Berthe Mayne had indeed been aboard the star-crossed Titanic.