Wirral Titanic survivor is given fitting memorial 77 years after she passed away

Stonemason Allan Roberts, right, with Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery chairman Mark Joynson

Stonemason Allan Roberts, right, with Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery chairman Mark Joynson

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A WIRRAL survivor of the sinking of the Titanic has finally received a fitting commemoration in Wallasey’s Rake Lane Cemetery.

Sarah Agnes Stap, daughter of Wallasey master mariner Captain Henry Stap, was born at sea in 1865 and at the age of 47, become a first class stewardess on the ill-fated liner

Ms Stap lived in Bidston Avenue, Birkenhead, when she signed on to Titanic and was one of 23 female stewardesses onboard.

More than 1,500 people lost their lives when the vessel ran into an iceberg in the North Atlantic  during her maiden voyage in April, 1912.

Her survival has been documented as being down to that of a young cabin boy, who picked her up and put her in a lifeboat after she said he should take her place.

When she died in Birkenhead on March 27, 1937 at the age of 73, she was buried in Rake Lane Cemetery, known for its links to sea disasters.

But Ms Stap’s grave was never fully commemorated until this year, when Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery and stonemason Allen Roberts, of E F Mackie, produced a headstone bearing the inscription: Sarah Agnes Stap 1st Class Stewardess and Titanic Survivor

“Although there are eight members of the family buried in two adjoining graves, there was only a small memorial on one of the graves that simply said ‘Stap’,” said Diane Robinson, of the Friends.

“But recently, Allen Roberts has made and installed a special memorial to commemorate Sarah and her father.”

The Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery was formed seven years ago after a spate of vandalism saw memorials smashed and damaged beyond repair.

Since then, the group has raised substantial funds to improve security of the cemetery and has launched several guided walks and talks – including the Stap family grave.

Mrs Robinson added: “Initially, it seemed as if there wouldn’t be much interest in the cemetery but Wallasey is closely linked to Liverpool’s vast maritime history, including the three major sea disasters of the early 20th century – the Titanic, Empress of Island and Lusitania.”

Comments (3)

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12:24pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Scythe says...

You got her age wrong, you only have to look at the gravestone to fact check that one!
You got her age wrong, you only have to look at the gravestone to fact check that one! Scythe
  • Score: 0

7:05am Wed 12 Feb 14

piermaster says...

What a very kind gesture from those involved! may she continue to rest in peace.

As a Wirral resident you have my heartfelt thanks gentlemen.
What a very kind gesture from those involved! may she continue to rest in peace. As a Wirral resident you have my heartfelt thanks gentlemen. piermaster
  • Score: 1

1:58am Sun 16 Feb 14

Steven Stap says...

As a member of the Stap family, mostly now in Canada, I would like to thank Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery and Allen Roberts for your time and work to make this new headstone.
We are descendants of her brother Henry Stap, both of whom were children of Captain Henry Stap. This article has been linked to us from some family in France, and the response in Facebook is tremendous! It's a great feeling to see her memory living on and being honoured by others.
With hopes that we can come over to the Rake Lane Cemetery and see it first-hand some day!
As a member of the Stap family, mostly now in Canada, I would like to thank Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery and Allen Roberts for your time and work to make this new headstone. We are descendants of her brother Henry Stap, both of whom were children of Captain Henry Stap. This article has been linked to us from some family in France, and the response in Facebook is tremendous! It's a great feeling to see her memory living on and being honoured by others. With hopes that we can come over to the Rake Lane Cemetery and see it first-hand some day! Steven Stap
  • Score: 0

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