Dubai: In the remembrance of first-class cricketer John Thayer who died shortly before his 50th birthday in the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.
Titanic sunk 100 years, 1514 people lost their lives & John Thayer was one of them
Early Life and Cricket Career:
John Borland Thayer, Jr. was born on April 21, 1862 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – USA. He was member of a prominent American cricketing family (three of his brothers also played). Thayer attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the baseball team in 1879. He played his first match for the Merion Cricket Club as a 14 year old. Thayer was a part of the Philadelphian side that visited England in 1884. During that tour he scored 817 runs with an average of 28, and took 22 wickets for 21 runs each.
In 1884, Lillywhite said of him: ” Bats in finished style, and, with more patience, would be the best in the team in that department. Can hit hard, and is a dangerous man when once well in. Bowls medium round-arm with good command of the ball and a break both ways. Is a splendid mid-off, and shows fine fielding whenever he is placed either at the boundary or close to the wicket.”
In his cricketing career, Thayer appeared in seven matches now recognised as first-class. Three of these were played for the Philadelphians and four were played for an “American Born” side. All were played at the Germantown Cricket Club in Pennsylvania. In his first-class career, he scored 138 runs at 11.50 and took six wickets at 26.83. His highest score (24) and best bowling (3 for 17) both came for Philadelphia against the United States in October 1883.
On November 9, 1893, in Philadelphia, he married Marian Longstreth Morris (1872–1944), the daughter of Frederick Wistar Morris and Elizabeth Flower Paul. Both her parents were descendants of old-moneyed Philadelphia families. They had four children:
>>> John “Jack” Borland Thayer III (1894–1945)*
>>> Frederick Morris Thayer (1896–1956)
>>> Margaret Thayer (1898–1960) (Mrs. Harold Elstner Talbott, Jr.)
>>> Pauline Thayer (1901–1981) (Mrs. Henry Hoffman Dolan)
*Of the four children, only Jack accompanied his parents on the Titanic.
Following his cricket career, Thayer entered the business world. He was a vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Thayer and his family (wife – Marian Longstreth Thayer , son – Jack Borland Thayer , maid – Margaret Fleming) had been in Europe as guests of the American Consul General in Berlin, Germany.
On April 10, 1912 the family boarded the Titanic as first-class passengers from Cherbourg, France. The family had been preparing for bed on April 14, 1912 when the collision with the iceberg occurred. As the ship sank, Thayer made sure that his wife and maid boarded lifeboats, after being told by the Titanic’s designer, Thomas Andrews, that the stricken ship did not have “much over an hour to live”.
His wife Marian Longstreth Thayer and maid Margaret Fleming both managed to board lifeboat No. 4. His son, Jack, dove from the sinking ship and was able to swim to an overturned collapsible boat (B), and was then transferred to lifeboat No. 12 where he also survived. However, Thayer Sr. made it clear that he had no intention of boarding a boat and remained on the Titanic as it went down.
When all of the lifeboats were gone, one eyewitness reportedly saw Thayer looking “pale and determined by the midship rail aft of lifeboat 7.” A short while later, he had gone, so it is likely that he moved to the stern like many other passengers and crew. Thayer’s body, if recovered, was never identified.