Lucy Noel Martha Dyer-Edwards, known as Noëlle, was the Countess of Rothes, a noted philanthropist and social leader of her time, and a survivor of the Titanic.
She married the 19th Earl of Rothes in 1900, at the age of 22. She produced two sons and shared many interests with her husband. They lived in London until 1904, when the earl inherited a 10,000 acre estate in Scotland and the family began to spend the greater part of the year there.
The couple was socially active, attending and hosting many functions. In addition, Noëlle did prolific charitable work in both Scotland and England, including fundraising for The Royal Caledonian Schools, the National Milk Hostels, and the Red Cross. She was also politically active, supporting the women’s suffragette cause as a member of the Women’s Unionist Association.
In April 1912, she boarded the Titanic to join her husband in America where they intended to live in California, owning and overseeing an orange grove. On the night of April 12th, the Countess, her cousin-in-law, and her maid (who were traveling with her) were escorted into Lifeboat No. 8 and lowered along with 35 other women from first class and three stewards and one sailor.
When the stewards proved inept at rowing, the sailor at the tiller, Tom Jones, moved to man the oars. He later reported that the Countess “had a lot to say, so I put her to steering the boat.” The Countess’s husband owned a yacht and she had learned how to steer using a tiller.
During that long night, the Countess not only helped steer the boat and row, she also comforted the women around her and kept up morale by singing “Lead Kindly Light,” her favorite hymn. The next morning her lifeboat was rescued by the Carpathia.
In gratitude for saving her life, the Countess gifted Tom Jones with a silver watch. He reciprocated by giving her the brass plate with “No. 8” from the lifeboat. The two never met again, but they exchanged letters every year until her death.
After her husband died in 1927, Noelle married Colonel Claud Macfie. They remained together until her death in 1956.