He saved his family with hot flask of milk

Ninety-seven years after the sinking of the Titanic an archive has revealed an unsung hero of the tragedy. Shop assistant Arthur West, 36, helped his wife Ada and daughters Constance, 5, and 10-month-old Barbara into a lifeboat as their chance of a new life in America slipped beneath the icy waters of the Atlantic.

He then dashed back to their second class cabin to grab a flask of hot milk for the youngsters. When he returned he saw the lifeboat being lowered into the sea so he shinned down one of the falls and handed over the flask, said goodbye, and clambered back aboard the doomed ship.

Arthur, from Truro, became one of the 1,517 victims of the sinking. His family survived and Ada’s letters recalled how two male passengers – one Turkish, the other Japanese – hid beneath the women’s skirts and had to be told not to light cigarettes in case the tresses caught fire.

Her letter also revealed how the occupants of the lifeboats sang to drown out the screaming of those in the water.