Albert Nichols was born in 1864 on remote Lord Howe Island. After a public scandal that saw him pitted against his parents, Albert fled to Sydney before working his way to London as a seaman. There he established a successful career with the White Star Line, working as a boatswain first on the company’s luxury liner Adriatic and then on the even-bigger Olympic. In April 1912 he transferred to Titanic, the greatest ship ever built and was aboard for the liner’s sea trials, for the trip from Belfast to Southampton and for the maiden voyage. His life story is told for the first time in this two-part episode — and, despite this being a true Titanic tale, you simply won’t believe the ending.

Albert “Big Neck” Nichols, Lord Howe Island native, unsung Titanic hero.

Mary Nichols – Albert’s tyrannical mother.

Thomas Nichols – Albert’s hard-drinking father.

Lord Howe Island, Albert’s birthplace, as it looks today.

Thomas Nichols was the captain of the whaling barque Aladdin, depicted left in this colonial painting, Offshore Whaling With Aladdin And Jane, by William Duke.

Albert’s home, The Pines, which is now award-winning resort Pinetrees Lodge.

George Nichols, Albert’s brother, who helped him escape Lord Howe Island.

Albert’s 1909 letter to his uncle William, written on Adriatic letterhead, now displayed at Pinetrees Lodge.