The son of a Congregational minister from Leeds, Rousell David Byles was influenced by High Church ideas at school and then at Oxford. He began training for Anglican ministry during which time he converted to Catholicism and was subsequently ordained a Catholic priest at the Beda College, Rome. He spent some years ministering in Essex before taking a holiday in America to be present at the marriage of his brother. By a chance of providence the ship on which he was due to sail was changed at the last minute and he found himself on the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage. Eye witness accounts relate how he led prayers and hymns, heard confessions, and led steerage passengers to safety on the lifeboats, twice refusing a place in the lifeboats for himself. Pope St Pius X declared that he died ‘a true martyr for charity’. In this moving talk, Fr Stephen Hoyle outlines the life and death of this hero of the faith with detail and compassion.
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