On 27th April 1912, the ‘Carluke Gazette’ reported the sad news that 19-year-old housepainter James Kelly, the son of William Kelly and his wife Robina Reid from Kirk Street in the town, was one of the estimated 1,496 people who lost their lives when the ‘RMS Titanic’ struck an iceberg on 15th April 1912.
Intending to travel to a new life in Canada and having paid £8.1s for his ticket, James had boarded the ship at Southampton as a 3rd class passenger on 10th April 1912. The day after the ship left Southampton it reached Queenstown in Ireland and from here, according to the ‘Carluke Gazette’, James sent letters home to friends telling of the many wonders to be seen on the ship.
On hearing of the disaster, James’s parents contacted the White Star Line offices for information but it took more than a week for them to learn that their son was one of Titanic’s victims. The ‘Carluke Gazette’ reported that James’s name had appeared on a list of bodies recovered on the scene of the disaster by the vessel ‘Mackay-Bennett’. Sadly, his final resting place remains unknown.