Meetings & Events

~ Monday 13th March 2023 ~

Joan Byles Barry, Titanic Passenger descendant

‘The life of Father Byles – lost on Titanic’


Virtual on the zoom platform 


oan Byles Barry joins us from the USA to share her research on her great Uncle Father Thomas Byles.

Her presentation on zoom is wonderfully illustrated with family letters and photographs.
Father Thomas Byles was a catholic priest who sailed on Titanic's maiden voyage and lost in the disaster. Although from a congregational religious background while at Oxford, Byles converted to the Church of England, and later, like his younger brother William. to the Roman Catholic faith and taking a new name - Thomas. In 1899, he went to the Rome to study at the Beda College to study and get ordained in 1902. He was then placed in St Helen's Parish in Chipping Ongar, Essex, England in 1905, where he served until his death.


Joan will tell the family story of fate when in 1912 he travelled on Titanic to officiate at the wedding of his younger brother William. His character has been immortalised in film in several representations on film and we feel we know a little about the comfort he provided to other passenergs that fateful night in the north atlantic.


His brothers installed a door in his memory at St Helen's Catholic Church in Chipping Ongar, Essex. Pope Pius X later described Byles as a martyr for the Church. Joan will also provide an update on how in April 2015, the current priest of St Helen's Church, with support of his Bishop, initiated the first steps toward declaring Byles a saint.



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All our events and talks for 2021-2022 are online using the zoom platform.

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