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Sidney Leslie Goodwin was a 19-month-old English boy who died during the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His unidentified body was recovered after the sinking by the Mackay-Bennett, and for decades referred to as the unknown child; it was identified as his in 2008 by the Armed Forces lab. He is the only member of his family whose body has been recovered and subsequently identified.

Early lifeEdit

Goodwin was the youngest child born to Frederick Joseph Goodwin and his wife, Augusta (née Tyler). He had 5 older siblings named Lillian Amy, Charles Edward, William Frederick, Jessie Allis, and Harold Victor.[1]

On board the TitanicEdit

Sidney's uncle Thomas had already left England and was living in Niagara Falls, New York. Thomas wrote to his brother Frederick, telling him about the opening of a power station there. It has been speculated that the famed Schoellkopf Hydroelectric Power Station (station A), due to open in 1912, would have been his employer had he lived. He, a compositor, packed up his wife, Augusta, and their six children, Lillian, 16; Charles, 14; William, 11; Jessie, 10; Harold, 9 and Sidney, 19 months, to prepare for the move. They booked third class on the SS New York out of Southampton, but due to a coal strike its passage was delayed and the Goodwins were transferred aboard the Titanic.[2] They boarded the Titanic in Southampton as third class passengers.

Not much is known about the Goodwins' activities during the voyage, except that they may have been separated by sex in opposite ends of the ship, Frederick and the boys in the bow, and Augusta with Sidney and the girls in the stern. Harold also met and spent some time with Frank Goldsmith. Frank survived.

By the time the Goodwins received a warning about the iceberg collision, all the lifeboats were gone. They all perished in the sinking.

In his book, The Night Lives On, historian Walter Lord devoted a chapter ("What Happened to the Goodwins?") to the Goodwins, using the fact that they were English to challenge the White Star Line's implication that such high numbers of third class passengers perished because they did not speak English. The story is identical to the Ford family, a mother with her four children, accompanied by the Johnson family and Alice Phoebe Harknett, the 10 all died in the sinking.

The unknown childEdit

The body of a fair-haired toddler was the fourth pulled from the ocean by the recovery ship CS Mackay-Bennett, on 17 April 1912. The description read:

NO. 4 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 2 - HAIR, FAIR.
CLOTHING - Grey coat with fur on collar and cuffs; brown serge frock; petticoat; flannel garment; pink woolen singlet; brown shoes and stockings.
No marks whatever.
Probably third class.

The sailors aboard the Mackay-Bennett, who were very shocked by the discovery of the unknown boy's body, paid for a monument and was buried on 4 May 1912 with a copper pendant placed in his coffin by recovery sailors that read "Our Babe."[3] Before 2002 (when he was first, though mistakenly, identified through DNA testing) he was known simply as "The Unknown Child". The body, identified as that of a child around two years old, was initially believed to be that of either a two-year-old Swedish boy, Gösta Pålsson; or a two-year-old Irish boy, Eugene Rice, two other fair-haired toddlers who perished in the disaster.[4]

Identification and re-identificationEdit

The American PBS television series Secrets of the Dead initially identified the body as Eino Viljami Panula, a 13-month old Finnish baby, based on DNA testing of three teeth and a small, weathered bone.[5] However, with improved DNA testing available in 2007, Canadian researchers at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay tested the child's HVS1, a type of mitochondrial DNA molecule, and it did not match the Panula family.[6] DNA extracted from the exhumed remains and DNA provided by a surviving maternal relative helped positively match the remains to Goodwin, and the re-identification was announced on 30 July 2007.

Although the bodies of two other children, both older boys, were recovered, it was Goodwin who came to be a symbol of all the children lost in the disaster. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. A pair of his shoes were donated to Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in 2002 by the descendants of a Halifax police officer who guarded the bodies and clothing of Titanic victims.

ReferencesEdit

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