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A Titanic discovery!
Robert Douglas Norman, a 28 year-old electrical engineer from Glasgow, wrote the letter from his half-sister’s home in London on April 9, 1912 - the eve of the famous liner’s departure from Southampton.
Addressed to his brother in Canada, the letter described how Mr Norman wanted his estate to be divided in the event of his death.
He died when the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean six days later, leaving an estate of more than £8,500 – the equivalent of more than £650,000 today – to his half sister, step niece and cousin.
Mr Norman had been travelling to Vancouver, where he had a brother and a share in some land. He was a second class passenger, paying £13 10s for his ticket. His body was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean by the cable repair ship CS Mackay-Bennett, and was buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on May 6, 1912.
The National Records of Scotland discovered the rare original letter, and the inventory of Mr Norman’s estate, as part of their work to digitise thousands of paper records for the ScotlandsPeople genealogy website.
The documents will be shown from April 16 as part of a display at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, which claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people on April 15, 1912.
Speaking ahead of a visit to Vancouver tomorrow (Tuesday April 10) as part of Scotland Week 2012, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said, “This is a rare find which has provided an incredible insight into the life of a young Scot who died in one of the biggest and most famous disasters in history. Its timely discovery highlights the fascinating work of the National Records of Scotland and the rich heritage of Scotland’s people and their lives.”