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A token of respect to Hopkins, the hero

The man who saved more than 15 people on ill-fated RMS Titanic, to get honored after 75 years of his death

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: May 14 2016 1:38PM | Updated Date: May 14 2016 2:09PM

A token of respect to Hopkins, the hero

After 104 years of the Titanic tragedy of 1912, the brave man Hopkins, who saved many people aboard, is now honored even after 75 years of his death.


In this tragedy more than 1500 people lost their lives due to lack of sufficient life boats.


A seaman whose quick actions aboard a lifeboat are credited with saving passengers during the Titanic's sinking will finally receive a headstone on his grave, nearly 75 years after his death.


Hopkins died in 1943 and his body rested in an unnamed grave. People did forget his gallant act of that night and he was left discredited for his act of heroism.


The story of this man is that he was asleep in his bunk when Titanic hit an iceberg. He was assigned to help load and launch lifeboats, which could only handle 1,178 people. First Officer William Murdoch, who was on the wheelhouse when the collision occurred, ordered Hopkins to board Lifeboat 13, which was carrying many third-class passengers. Hopkins' boat was lowered below Lifeboat 15, which was descending. It looked as though Lifeboat 15 would land on top of Hopkins' boat. He and another crew member went to work with a pen knife to cut the ropes. If Hopkins had not done what he did, 13 and potentially 15 would have been lost.


The story does not end here. After the rescue, Hopkins also became a longshoreman in Hoboken, across the Hudson River from the pier in lower Manhattan, where Titanic was supposed to dock.


Titanic enthusiasts from around the world are expected to join members of Robert Hopkins' family at Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Saturday as a black granite headstone bearing his name is unveiled and blessed.


When the society decided to hold this year's annual convention in Newark, it made arrangements to visit Holy Name Cemetery, where Hopkins and four other survivors including two who were aboard Lifeboat 13 are buried.