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How four young Portuguese perished in Titanic tragedy Four young Portuguese men succumbed to freezing waters as the

ill-fated Titanic sank to its final resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, exactly 100 years ago this weekend. Three of the four men were from the island of Madeira; friends who had set sail for the USA with aspirations of wealth and fortune.

Domingos Fernandes Coelho (20), Jos Neto Jardim (21) and Manuel Gonalves Estanislau (38), were born on the Island of Madeira in the late 1800s. Recent research suggests the three men, all agricultural labourers, were friends who had boarded the liners maiden voyage to New York with ambitions of forging a better life for themselves and their families. Portuguese researchers discovered that the youngest of the three, Fernandes Coelho, was born in Torreo, Ponta do Sol (Madeira Island) and was one of eight siblings. He was single at the time the Civil Government of Funchal granted him passport number 518, unlike his companions, Neto Jardim and Estanislau, who were both married and had children. Manuel Gonalves Estanislau, the eldest of the Madeiran trio, had made the decision to relocate to the US to send money home to his wife and five children. Mrs Estanislau reportedly received the news of her husbands death by telegram. History indicates that she did not remarry, raised the children alone and died in the 1950s. All of the couples five children are now deceased though the Estanislau name is carried on by extended family members who live in Madeira and Brazil. Young father-of-one Jos Neto Jardim, from Lombo das Laranjeiras (Calheta, Madeira), embarked the Titanic to start a new chapter of his life in New York, where he was to join his older brother and aunt. The plan was that he would emigrate first and his wife and daughter would join him later. Before he left Jos had asked his wife to take a photograph with their daughter to send to him in New York. Immediately after his departure, she granted his wish and went to the Madeiran capital, Funchal, with their daughter Maria, to a photographer.

The photo was apparently never sent and is still in the familys possession today. As the story goes, sometime in late April, 1912, Mrs Jardim was embroidering with friends under a fig tree, when she suddenly found a live limpet stuck to her needle. This was taken as a bad omen. Four hours later she received a telegram, stating that her husband had perished in the sinking of the Titanic. She had already heard news of the sinking, but had never imagined her husband could be one of the victims. Mrs Jardim later remarried a man named Francisco Freitas Amaral, had five more children, moved to Brazil and died there of old age. Joss daughter, Maria Neto Jardim, stayed on the island of Madeira where she married and had children. In 1994, her daughter, Jos Jardims granddaughter, showed her a newspaper article on the father she had never met. Her family is still living in Madeira. It is unlikely that any of the three Madeirans bodies were recovered in the rescue operations; if they were, they were never identified. In compensation, Domingos Coelhos parents received 60 from the Titanic Relief Fund (the equivalent of less than 5,000 in todays money), while Neto Jardims wife and daughter received 400 Portuguese escudos (200 each). As third class passengers they would have paid 7 and one shilling for their ticket on the doomed liner. The fourth Portuguese national to perish in the disaster was second-class passenger Jos Joaquim de Brito, who paid 13 for his passage en-route to So Paulo, Brazil. The contact address that Brito provided was that of a Fred Duarte, Mulgrave Street, Liverpool, while his last known place of residence was London. His body, if it was recovered, was also never identified. For a number of reasons figures vary as to how many people, passengers and crew, were travelling on the Titanic when it collided with the iceberg. These range between 2203 and 2228. Records show that at least five of the passengers all in third class would have been celebrating their birthdays onboard the vessel the night it sank. When she set sail, Titanic was carrying only enough lifeboats for half of her occupants. Like the Madeirans most third class, or steerage, passengers were immigrants looking to start afresh in the USA and Canada. They made up more than half of all passengers travelling on the vessel. A large number of them were mothers and children sailing across the Atlantic to join their husbands who had already made the move to the USA and had saved up enough money to send for their families. Of the 462 third-class male passengers, only 75 survived. One child travelling first class died in the icy sea; none of the 24 second class children perished, but 52 of the 79 children travelling third class lost their lives in the early hours of 15 April 1912. The last remaining Titanic survivor Millvina Dean, who along with her sibling was orphaned in the disaster, aged just two-months, died in 2010 aged 97. Carrie-Marie Bratley