George Andrew Brereton - Titanic First Class Passenger
Mr George Andrew Brereton, sailing on Titanic using the name George Brayton, was a 37 year old first class passenger. He was a professional gambler, and perhaps the reason why he was aboard Titanic, is said to have used his skills while aboard the ship. He joined Titanic in Southampton on 10th April 1912.
George Brereton, the son of Daniel and Mary Brereton, was born on 11th November 1874 in Madelia, Minnesota, United States.
It is said that at the time Titanic struck the iceberg he was ‘at work’ in the first class smoking room. He did survive the disaster, most probably finding a place in a lifeboat on the starboard side of the ship. It has been suggested that it was lifeboat 9 in which he escaped from the ship in. In his pocket as he escaped the ship was a copy of Titanic’s first class passenger list.
After being rescued by the Carpathia, on the way to New York, George Brereton became involved in a conversation with fellow Titanic survivor Charles Stengel. He told Charles Stengel that he had lost all his money and would be unable to continue his journey onwards to Los Angeles. Charles Stengel then advised him to seek the fare for the remainder of his travels from the White Star Line, and if that failed he would advance the money to him.
Around two days after Carpathia had arrived in New York, Charles Stengel received a telephone call at home from George Brereton to thank him and to inform him that the White Star Line had given him what he needed, and to tell him that he would be leaving soon. Charles Stengel then invited him over to his house for dinner. During his time at Charles Stengel’s house he mentioned a big real estate deal in New York. Saying that the deal would close about the time his brother in law arrived back from Mexico.
Over a month later George Brereton again telephoned Charles Stengel, this time saying that his brother-in-law had returned and was in a position to make money. He then met up with Charles Stengel, and ended up in a hotel room, where, he and a person introduced as his brother-in-law told Charles Stengel about a scheme they expected to make at least $100,000, and that he could join them if he contributed $1,000. The problem with the alleged scheme was that it was not legal; the person introduced as his brother-in-law claimed that through his job he could delay the announcement of the results of horse races for at least eight minutes – allowing bets to be placed on the winner. Charles Stengel was not impressed and started a fight. George Brereton and the other man then escaped.
At 7.40am, on 16th July 1942, George Brereton, aged 67, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. He was at his home at the time, which he shared with his sister, Emily Lathrop, in Los Angeles. He was buried on 18th July1942 at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery, North Hollywood, California. His death certificate notes that his occupation was a salesman in the Autos industry.
Still surviving, the first class passenger list that was rescued from Titanic with him was sold at auction in 1998.