Re: Edward Pomeroy Colley- TITANIC passenger
Edward Pomeroy Colley was an uncle of my grandmother Noreen Colley. I believe he was born and raised at Corkagh PArk, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, Ireland. I would suggest you look up the Harberton family in Debretts Peerage if you want to know more of his ancestry. My great-aunt Veronica Colley was born on April 15th 1913 - the anniversary of the Titanic sinking and aslo bizarrely enough, teh birthday of both Edward Pomeroy Colley and my grandmother Noreen. Edward wrote the following letter to Noreen and Veronica's mother Edie Colley while on board the Titanic. It was posted in Queenstown (Cobh).
My dear Edie,
Your nice long letter came yesterday and had only one piece of synicism (I was going to say sarcasm) in it. I’m glad you liked the photos. The one of me obviously was unexposed. Whoever of you took it was in doubt at the time if they pressed the shutter. My wild letter to George on the subject of shirts was solely the mean of giving you and he a lot of bother, I’m afraid. And I forgot to send back the cellular [collar?] and shirt of George’s. I have  I’ll bring it back next time I come, or if practical I’ll send it ashore at Queenstown. It’s my fault for not having them marked [with my –- bad name].
This is a huge ship. Unless lots of people get on at Cherbourg and Queenstown they’ll never half fill it. The dining room is low ceilinged but full of little tables for two, three and more in secluded corners. How I wish someone I liked was on board but then nice people don’t sit at tables for two unless they’re engaged or married. I wonder my blue blood didn’t tell me that?
They also have a restaurant where you can pay for meals if you get bored with the ordinary grub. Our most distinguished passengers seem to be WT Stead, W. Astor, [---] Chas. Hays and ---- Golby. Oh and the Countess of Something, but her blood is only blue black. (Give me good red corpuscles, I seem to know more about them). We nearly had a collision to start with coming out of Southampton. We passed close to a ship that was tied up alongside the Oceanic and the suction of our ship drew her out into the stream and snapped the ropes that held her and round she swung across our bows! She had no steam up so had to be pulled back by tugs and we had to reverse. The name of her was the New York in case you see it in the papers. It proves conclusively the case of the Hawk and Olympic.
Why is a person unfit for you to know if she is cursed (or blessed) with dimples in her cheeks or does she ipso facto become unfit at the moment I (and no one else) call her a nickname. Perhaps only as a distinguishing mark from her sister who didn’t catch a Viscount; I didn’t say I called her that; and I know several quite respectable people who have dimples. Why, your husband has one in his chin! Don’t you think that it is I who am common and second rate, and not my friends.That sounds more probable in spite of the azure strain. You see I always prefer my funny friend s to your Miss. Shaw’s and other pretty people. And the blue people find me dull and the red ones don’t.
I think my best plan is to make love unplatonically to a – who owns the books. She has manners that would go down anywhere, dresses like an English girl and knows all the better people in Victoria (did you know there were some?!). She is not beautiful but very nice and in fact she would do charmingly but wouldn’t please my relations for two reasons. First she earns her living by playing the typewriter in a government office, Papa having died broke. Second, her great-grandpapa was neither blue nor red but was what is known as Red River meaning that his ancestors and he were the original owners of the Red River Country in Manitoba. I’m not a snob and you would be the first to call me one if I did more than draw attention to the fact. You have been so good to me and George too, that I am a pig to write such a nasty letter.
But Edie you have never met any of my supposedly dreadful friends, and I have lost all confidence in my power of choosing anyone for fear of family disapproval that I can’t face it. You can’t make laws for the whole of the world the same as for England. Remember you agreed with me that Chaperones do not chaperone. So why have them or why give them up by degrees as you English are doing what you -----. Evolution in emancipation [sic?] of the young maiden is really the arrival on the scene of England is usually 10 years as they adopted electric light and electric trains without any improvements, 8 to 11 years late. Not --- that awful America only but France, Germany and other European countries. Same thing with the aeroplane, motor cars (in 1896). And so it will be with the evolution of the _________.
You can have this letter printed if you like and circulated and ------------ ---------- given to the society for old and infirm chaperones.
I took Mary Bowen to see Man and Superman on Monday and I also saw Fanny’s First Play last Wednesday, both Bernard Shaw and rather improper in places. The pain disappeared, thank you. It was not in the heart but in that part of me that if it was a lamb or beef would be grilled on toast and devilled. I hope to meet Mrs. and Miss. Kane and her sister and child in New York. She will be well chaperoned at any rate.
Goodbye Edie, you’re a darling and wish you had a sister to hypnotise her into thinking I wasn’t common by inclination!
Love from Eddie
The Encyclopaedia Titanica had the following to say:
Mr Edward Pomery Colley was born into a well-to-do family in County Kildare, Ireland, 15 April 1875.
He was a civil engineer who shared a mansion in Dublin with his older brother, George, who was a magistrate. During the Klondike Gold Rush he opened a mining brokerage firm in Vancouver, and successfully speculated in mining stocks;. Mr Colley had business interests on both sides of the Atlanic and frequently travelled between Dublin and a home on Vancouver Island in Victoria's affluent English Bay neighbourhood. He had been in Ireland for Christmas, 1911, and was returning to Canada aboard the Titanic. He was about to go to work as a consultant to the prominent British Columbia industrialist James Dunsmuir.
He prepaid £19 11s 9d for a first class ticket No: 17387, and then had to pay a final of £6 for his contract ticket number 5727. Presumably, because of season-changing (1). He boarded the Titanic at Southampton and occupied cabin E-58.
On board he and four other men attached themselves to American socialite Mrs. Churchill Candee and the group became known as her "coterie." Little is known about Colley, but one passenger recalls he was "a roly poly Irishman who laughed a lot but said little." On the night of the sinking he attended a concert in the first class reception area on D-Deck, and retired to his cabin just after 11 p.m.
He died in the wreck on the morning of his 37th birthday. A month later, on May 25, 1912, the Tipperary Star reported that Colley's brother "is about to proceed to British Columbia to look after the estates of Major Edward Pomery Colley who was one of the heroes who sacrificed his life for others in the terrible Titanic disaster...when the sad news that he had paid the penalty of his heroism with the foundering of the monster liner was made known, all creeds and classes in Tipperary and the surrounding district tendered their sympathetic condolences to a popular gentleman in a most trying time." His body was never recovered .
There is a memorial to him at Hythe Church in Kent.