This Real-Life Titanic Story Is More Heartbreaking Than Jack and Rose’s

James Cameron’s epic Titanic is 20 years old this year and we just need a moment to process just how fast time flies.

Despite the two decades that have passed since Jack screamed, “I’m King of the World!”, the cast and crew are still bombarded with questions and criticisms regarding its controversial ending (not-so-spoiler alert: Jack dies, Rose lives, viewers stand by the fact that they both could have fit on the makeshift raft).

Image via Paramount Pictures

And while we could argue the logistics involved in keeping two people afloat on a broken door for another 20 years, it would only detract from time that could be spent crying over this real-life couple who shared a similar fate.

In remembrance of the disaster on its 105th anniversary, an exhibit in Las Vegas has gathered a collection of artefacts from the wreckage, discovered two and a half miles below the North Atlantic ocean’s surface.

Among the discoveries was an 18-carat gold locket, found in 1994, belonging to a first-class passenger named Virginia Estelle McDowell Clark, who managed to survive the disaster.

Sadly, her husband, Walter Miller Clark, was not so lucky.

Sound familiar?

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Via Giphy

Curator and vice president of collections for Premier Exhibitions, Alexandra Klingelhofer, told Today that the couple had boarded the Titanic in order to arrive home early to Los Angeles and celebrate their 2-year-old son’s birthday. They had been vacationing in Europe on a delayed honeymoon when they booked themselves onto the ill-fated ship.

When the ship collided with the iceberg, Virginia was in her cabin while Walter was in an upstairs lounge. When they found each other, they raced to the boat deck where, just as the film depicts, the women and children were separated from the men and placed on lifeboats.

While Walter made sure his wife was safely on one of the boats, he was still trapped on the ship. As the boats were lowered, passengers on the other levels were unable to board them due to a logistics issue, stranding hundreds of potential survivors on the sinking ship.

Are your hearts ready for this?

“So the boat ended up on the ocean surface with many other seats available. Had they known earlier, Walter could have gotten on to the boat with her, but he did not. He stayed with the other first-class men and bravely went down with the ship.”

The thought of Virginia realising that her husband could very easily have had a seat on the lifeboat as she watched the ship sink into the ocean should be enough to thaw the iceberg in your heart.

In other news, the discovery is expected to reduce the amount of “Jack could have fit” remarks by half, with Jack’s name now being swapped for Walter.

Image via Paramount Pictures

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