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    The little boys in the photograph hardly look like shipwreck survivors in their clean playclothes, one holding a stuffed cat, the other a ball. The caption above their heads hints at the rest of the story: Louis and Lola ? – Titanic survivors. The names were a guess, given by very young children who spoke only French. It soon became clear the man who had handed them into the last lifeboat was their father, and that he was one of over 1,500 victims as the Titanic sank into the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. Newspapers picked up the story of the apparent orphans, with numerous articles looking for answers and hopefully, family. At the same time, in Nice, France, a woman was searching for her two sons, spirited away by her estranged husband weeks before. When news accounts reached her about the ‘Titanic orphans,‘ she thought they might be her boys, an ocean away. She described them in detail, sent questions only they could answer, and it was confirmed. These were her sons, Michel, 4 and Edmond, 2. Their father had traveled under an assumed name with the boys, fatefully choosing the Titanic as their getaway ship. Soon, Mme. Marcelle Navratil steamed across the Atlantic to America to find her sons, and by May 1912, they were reunited. For a sad time in the world, it was that rarest of things: a happy ending.


    Louis & Lola? Titanic survivors. Photo taken before the 'orphans' of the Titanic were fully identified. The boys are French brothers Michel (age 4) and Edmond Navratil (age 2). To board the ship, their father assumed the name Louis Hoffman and used their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon. Their father died in the disaster of the RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg in April 1912 and sank.

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