Friday, April 13, 2012
A Withycombe priest is to tell the true story of a clergyman who was immortalised in three separate films of the ‘Titantic’ disaster.
The talk is entitled ‘Bid me come to Thee upon the waters’ by Father Stephen Hoyle of the St John in the Wilderness Church in St John’s Road.
In an illustrated talk he will tell the true story of Father Tomas RD Byles, based on Father Hoyle’s biography.
Father Byles was famously walking on the upper deck reciting his breviary when the Titanic struck the iceberg.
As the ship was sinking, he assisted many third-class passengers up to the Boat Deck to the lifeboats and reputedly twice refused a place on a lifeboat.
He even prayed, heard confessions, and gave absolution to more than a hundred passengers who remained trapped on the stern.
He was portrayed in the 1979 television movie S.O.S. Titanic, in the 1997 film, Titanic, and in the 1953 film of the same name.
Father Hoyle said: “Some years ago I wrote a biography of a priest who was on-board RMS Titanic when she sank.
“He featured in the James Cameron movie, he was instrumental in saving the lives of passengers in third class. His name was Fr Thomas Byles.
“I turned the book into an illustrated talk, and I shall be giving it on the actual 100th anniversary of the disaster, April 14 at St John in the Wilderness Church.”
The talk is free, with a retiring collection for the church, and starts at 7pm.