8th March 1876 – 20th August 1969
Florence Agnes Hughes started working life as an asylum nurse at Hatton Hospital, married William Angle, a Minton tile fixer from Staffordshire, at Warwick in the autumn of 1906, and emigrated with him to America, in search of a new life. They must have made a striking couple. Ellis Island Passenger Arrivals data reveal that they were both tall, William 6′ , brown haired and blue eyed, and Florence 5’10”, with brown hair grey eyes and a fair complexion. A note describes them as educated: both could read and write.
William was no stranger to the Atlantic crossing, – he had made the journey from Liverpool to New York at least twice before, and Florence already had a sister living in New York, where they could stay. At some point, William and Florence came back to Warwickshire, staying with Florence’s parents in Mill Street, Warwick. By the spring of 1912, they were ready to return to America, and the Angles paid the second class fare of £26 (Contract ticket no 226875) to embark at Southampton on 10th April 1912, on the ill-fated RMS Titanic.
After the disaster, the Leamington Spa Courier on 19th April 1912 wrongly reported that both Mr & Mrs Angle, “two Americans who for some time past have been staying in Mill Street, Warwick” had both survived.
As can be seen above, William was one of the 1600 passengers who perished, but Florence was recorded first in Lifeboat 11, then on the liner Carpathia, bound for New York. She is listed as “Angle, Mrs Florence “Mary” Agnes”, with the interesting additional middle name in inverted commas. (This was not unusual for young women travelling as servants). She went on to her sister’s at W 24th Street, New York.
Mrs Angle never remarried. She eventually returned to Leamington, to 33 Arlington Avenue, living alone in the house for about 20 years, from 1947/8 until 1968, when she moved into a care home in South Leamington and died at Warwick in August 1969.
Elderly neighbours who had known Mrs Angle were under the impression that the Angles were on their honeymoon voyage, leaving to start a new life in America, but records show that by 1912, Florence Agnes Hughes and William Angle had been married for five years – so were not honeymooners after all. Another neighbour was able to confirm that Florence herself had told her that the only reason that she and William were able to travel second class was because she had begun working as a children’s nurse, and her employers ensured a good passage. No doubt that is also the reason that she made it into Lifeboat number 11.
Margaret Rushton, 2010