THIS year marks the 107th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

The story of the disaster has been played out countless times in books, documentaries and blockbuster films. But there’s one untold story with a local connection

One of the heroes of the Titanic tragedy was David Allan. He was a waiter working onboard the SS Carpathia which famously rushed to the rescue of the stricken liner after it hit an iceberg and began rapidly sinking in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

Allan, who was from Kincardineshire in Scotland was aged 27 at the time and like all crew members onboard the Carpathia, he was awarded the prestigious Lifesaving Medal for his services in helping to comfort and care for Titanic passengers who were picked up by the Carpathia in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean.

The Carpathia – which was not even the closest ship to the Titanic in the sea at the time – hurtled full pelt towards the sinking vessel and arrived at the rescue site at 4am, some one and a half-hours after the Titanic has gone down. The Carpathia crew rescued 705 passengers that night who all would have perished in the icy waters otherwise.

In a sad twist of fate, just ten years later David Allan would himself become the victim of drowning after he fell into the freezing waters of the Thames at Tilbury Docks.

This time another mammoth passenger ship was involved. It was September 1922 and Allan had been working as a steward onboard the SS Orontes which was moored up at Tilbury to prepare for a lengthy chartered tour around the world.

Inquest documents reveal that Allan was known for his “cheerful disposition” despite only having joined the crew of the Orontes four months earlier. He had been in the habit of going ashore in the evenings for a few hours recreation.

Each night when he wanted to return to his cabin on the Orontes the night watchman of the Orontes would give him a lift from the dock over to the ship in a rowing boat.

It happened so often that the watchman recognised Allan’s voice without even seeing him and he would begin rowing over as soon as he called for him.

On Sunday September 17, 1922 at around 10pm, while waiting for the boat to fetch him back across to the Orontes, Allan somehow fell into the water and was never seen alive again. His cap was found floating in the docks a short while later.

His body was recovered the next day by Port of London Authority officials and an inquest revealed Allan had sustained severe head injuries. However, death was most likely due to drowning after falling into the Thames.

After the Titanic catastrophe Allan had proved his bravery yet again. He served with the Gordon Highlanders during the Fist World War and was awarded both the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal.

Allan was just one of hundreds of crew members who were praised for saving stricken passengers of the Titanic when it went down with the loss of 1,517 lives.

The Carpathia braved dangerous ice fields and diverted all steam power to her engines in her rescue mission. If it hadn’t been for Chelmsford’s famous Marconi radio technology, however, the Carpathia may never had made it at all to the Titanic.

The SOS equipment installed on both the RMS Titanic and the Carpathia was made at the Marconi factory in Hall Street, Chelmsford. The two Marconi wireless operators onboard the Titanic, Harold Bride and Jack Phillips frantically carried on sending distress signals to other ships, even when they were knee deep in water. They ignored the captain’s order to abandon their posts and were finally able to make contact with the Carpathia at 12.11am.

Unfortunately there are no photographs of David Allan. He is honoured on a family memorial stone in Scotland and his body was interred at Tilbury.