Everyone knows the tale of the Titanic. Unsinkable, the biggest ship of the time, hit an iceberg and sunk and spawned story after story along with movies.
Of the 2224 on board, 710 survived.
But there is one rarely told story about the New Zealander who wasn’t on it.
There were only a few links to New Zealanders on the big ship. One was Charles Eugene Williams who was travelling second class whose mother and sister lived in Wellington. He was initially listed as missing but survived.
And Donald Campbell who was married to a New Zealand woman and did not survive.
But the famous New Zealander was James Arthur Frostick - who wasn’t on the ship at all. But he was meant to be.
A Christchurch business man, he had booked for the Titanic’s maiden voyage while on an extended business trip abroad but in the end business engagements meant he cancelled at the last minute.
Who knows if someone else took his place?
Frostick didn’t tell his relatives or friends who all thought he was on board.
It was a day later he sent a telegram to tell them he had “missed the tragedy.”
Frostick was a well known businessman - one of the owners of Skelton, Frostick & Co boot manufacturers.
The factory was in Hereford Street and employed over 250 workers.
He had been born in Norfolk 1857 and educated at a private school then went on to study boot making and manufacturing.
At 23, he was appointed manager of English Factory, a large company in Norwich.
However he decided to try his luck in New Zealand and in 1884 came to Wellington with his second wife and family before heading to Christchurch to take over management of Lightband, Allan and Co.
After five years he founded the firm Skelton, Frostick and Co creating one of the biggest companies of its type.
He was an ex president of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, Employers Federation, Industrial Association, was a member of the Lyttelton Harbour Board and National Efficiency Board.
He had been the chairman of the entertainment committee for the 1906-1907 Christchurch Exhibition.
HIs first marriage in 1879 to Sarah Cubitt ended with her death within a year and he remarried to Leanora Favyer in 1880. He married a third time in 1929 after Leanora death, this time to Emma Clarke.
A keen organ player, he was also president of the Royal Christchurch Musical Society.
Frostick died on March 7, 1931 aged 74, and is buried in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch.
Pic by Zlataky.
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