Details of my trip in search of the mysterious Arab survivor of Titanic

Details of my trip in search of the mysterious Arab survivor of Titanic

I spent 3 years looking for a spectrum I was not even sure of the authenticity of his name, I did not imagine that I will be unique details of his story and his picture and a rare letter in his handwriting”

talking about the victims of the Titanic, on the centenary of the sinking of the ship in April 1912, and was surprised by Lebanese families mourning their loved ones who died in the shipwreck disaster. Many stories told by the relatives of the victims of the ship, some of which were contradictory, but all ended with a certain fact, that they had died on the Titanic.

I was shocked when I learned that Titanic was carrying Arabs on board. I was intrigued to enter the official site of the Encyclopaedia Titanica to look for them. I have read many stories. Among the many nationalities I have been looking for, I expect the result to be negative, but I was surprised by the appearance of Hamad Hamad in the database as the only Egyptian on board, but without further details. I tried to get more information about the mysterious Egyptian aboard the famous ship, but I did not succeed in getting any information, as I seemed to apply a practical example of the famous “needle and hay pile.” At this moment I decided to look for this person, although the site that contains the ship’s database has announced his failure to obtain any information about him, or even to make sure that Hamad is his real name or not.

The search for a person who was on board a ship that sank 100 years ago (of course dead), amid the population of a country of 80 million people, was a trail of imagination, but I finally managed to convince a newspaper The Egyptian search for “Hamad” in its favor. I began to list the places where I would begin to search, headed by the Archives and the Egyptian Documentation House, to investigate any birth certificate, death, or any contract written in the name of Hamad al-Hasbal. To be born during it, according to the information available on the site of Encyclopaedia Titanica, but I did not find anything.

I went to the bookstore to search for all the news that was published about Titanic in the newspapers that were in this period. I saw a small microfilm every day of the Al-Ahram newspaper, a month before the newspaper sailed and a month later, I found only a description of the ship, And that the company owner of the ship announced the absence of any Arab passenger on board, and it seems that the pyramids were confident of the company’s data, did not ask again, and at the same time did not announce the family, “Hamad,” his disappearance in any media. I checked Dar Al-Bared for any telegraph sent by a person named Hamad Hamad during the ship’s sinking period and beyond. I did not find anything. One of the employees noticed that the name Hamad Hamad may have been incorrectly transferred through the foreign site. This is more realistic and logical, and my research may not have yielded a result so far because I am looking for someone who does not exist at all.

I had many fears that I was really looking for the wrong person, but I did not want the characters to be anything, so I decided to look for the name as I found it, until I had evidence to change the plan. Mena House, Thomas Cook Tourism Company in Egypt and its branch in America, as well as the Harper Publishing House, owner of Henry Harper, a friend of Hamad, was the one who invited him to the first and last Titanic trip. The result was one of everyone, We have no archives, and we do not know who Hamad is. During this trip, I did not have enough money to spend on the costs of the investigation that began to devour my limited balance. I remember that I had to walk a long distance in search of a thread that seemed to drive me to my destination. I then discovered that I had no more than three pounds. My foot and I was hit by a blow of the sun.


I was disappointed, and closed in my face all the doors, so I decided to publish the achievement of a lengthy journey searches were unsuccessful in one of Egypt ‘s new daily newspaper in 2015, and developed during the investigation all possible hypotheses for the fate of the Egyptian passenger mysterious, and was met with the investigation large Baanvae, and spread On a large scale, but it was not enough for me, so I just realized I would not rest until I found Hamad’s family and revealed the mystery surrounding his story.

My only hope was to see Hamad’s family investigate and communicate with me, and it was not as fast as I had hoped. For weeks after that, the sunken ship was still in my dreams, reading and seeing everything I could reach in my vigilance, looking for a thread that could help me I was surprised by the comment from one of the Hamad family’s acquaintances on the published investigation. I quickly contacted her in the hope that she would be serious, not one of those people who had always ridiculed me for the idea of an Egyptian on board the Titanic.

When I decided to communicate with the commentator, who said she knew “Hamad,” I did not work in any area, and I did not know where I was going to publish the story, I was in my worst condition and exhausting because of the length of my three-year research trip. Contrary to my expectation, the commentator did not make fun of me and arranged for my first meeting with the family of that spectrum that I was looking for.

The big surprise 

the family was skeptical about my meeting at first. I thought that I was working for a foreign body that wanted to get information for reasons other than journalism. It was a dominant obsession for many Egyptians, but I reassured them and finally agreed to my request. The mysterious one I have sought for years has not only been the only Egyptian on the most famous ship in history but was the only Egyptian and Arab survivor. Yes, Hamad did not drown with those who drowned but was among the few survivors of the disaster.

I met two grandsons of Hamad, Ammar, and Serageldin, the youngest of whom was over 70, lived before his death, and from their own stories, which had some differences, managed to gather the threads of the story, and got the only picture of the late grandfather, And its limbs eroded by time, but I consider it a great achievement. Here I see Hamad, the mysterious and long-sought mystery, but I alone have reached it. Now I hold his first picture in my hand.

Because it was the only version, I took the picture to copy it and print it at a photo printing lab close to the family home, printed more than one copy very carefully, and was surprised by the printer operator saying to me, “Like your grandfather a lot, I feel the same features of the man in the picture standing in front of me, The same spirit, Hallelujah on the resemblance “I smiled and did not correct the information, I just smiled and said,” almost like some.

The full story was published in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm as it was shared by the family with the rare picture in early August, three years after the beginning of the research journey. The biggest surprise was that the family members, who kept the details of the story throughout these years, Or one of the two senses before sleep narrated by grandparents, and those who were convinced of their occurrence did not care much for their importance, as well as that Grand Hamad did not announce the details of the story outside the family, but was silent talking about them without knowing why this desire to secrecy.

On the other hand

the details of the “story of Hamad”, which was documented according to the family, dates back to April 1912, when Hamad Hamad traveled on Titanic with his friends, Henry and Mira Harper, where he decided to travel with them on board the ship Hamad came to visit them at his home whenever they came to visit Cairo, because he was their tour guide, or as he was called at the time “Tarjuman”.

Hamad traveled to the first class as an Al Harper companion, spent days sailing with her, did not talk or get close to anyone else, and did not even respond to the pleasantries they tried to talk to, so they were called “the mysterious.” On the day of the ship’s sinking, Hamad was walking around, according to his account of his family. He accidentally heard the ship’s observer saying that the glacier had cut her belly from the middle and that they would inevitably sink. He rushed to his friends and told them the news. On this cold night, in addition to their Sundog, as a result, the three of them managed to independence boat No. 3 rescue.

Hamad was forced to carry Henry and Mira on his shoulders and throw them into the boat. Then he jumped and cut the rope that tied him to the ship so that they could survive. The passengers were terrified of them. Hamad survived and rescued his friends from drowning with the bulk of the ship’s passengers who later became aware of the incident.

The Handwritten message

the family also explained that Hamad was missing and did not return to his family with the incident. For three years, no one knew where he was. He did not want to talk about it. The family thought he had lost memory for some time, or perhaps suffered a nervous shock from the accident and therefore did not want to experience the details again. But he was sure he was aware of his rescue and his companions directly because he sent a postcard in his handwriting to the family after the ship sank three days, to reassure them of his survival. I got the card after publishing my second investigation, and I can not believe myself. I now have a picture and a handwritten postcard for someone who has failed for years to get one document that belongs to him.

Hamad sent the postcard on April 18, 1912 (Titanic sank on April 15 of the same year) from New York, where he said, reassuring the family: “By Hamad, after peace on everyone, small and large, I am fine and well, and you did not have Busy on my part, the six and the bounty, peace be upon you. ” The card bore the title of the old family’s home in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district in Cairo. The letter did not contain details of the incident because it was not as famous today as it is, or its desire not to raise the concerns of family members.

After posting the inquiry, I sent an e-mail to the official website of the Encyclopaedia Titanica in London to make a promise that I made years ago. I will answer all the questions that they could not get. I quickly explained their response and interest to know what happened to their passengers, They asked me to translate the investigation in English, with the names in Arabic, to make sure that the name on the site was correct.

The interviewer translated and sent it. The site’s administrators asked me and discussed the same story. They were eager to know the details. They told me it was amazing that I was able to get the story of an unknown Titanic passenger in the Middle East. Passengers of the Middle East, but they always failed.

Hamad and I

was published what I wrote in English on the official website of the Titanic, I also became a reference to the story of “Hamad as” continued with me also the Canadian writer of Syrian origin, “Leila Elias” the author of The dream then the nightmare, which talked about the passengers Lebanese, Who were aboard the Titanic, and I asked to include the investigation into the new version of the book, because of the new information and useful as she told me.

I did not finish my journey with Hamad at this point. I did not stop with the information that my grandchildren told me and published it in the investigation, and there are still many questions that they could not answer, so I decided to answer them in a novel that will be published soon. Only this time, but some stories of Titanic Lebanese passengers, to combine their stories together, having traveled on board carrying dreams and hopes in a dignified life, but they were the most passengers are subject to death and death by firing squad, as I learned from their stories later, Genie “everything.

The details of my story, which took me on a long journey, exhausted me for days. I spent long nights watching and reading everything about the sunken ship and its victims. I felt the images moving in front of me and the Titanic ghost was circling around me. I turned back all of this and went back to reading the pictures and papers of Hamad that I had after our names became linked – after a difficult search journey – without ever meeting and smiling.

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