Coming from a Roman Catholic family, he was the youngest of four children born to Daniel Ryan b. His three siblings were: He appears on the census with his family living at house 3 in Ballynaveen when he is described as a year-old scholar.
The home address would be house 9 in Ballynaveen by the time of the census but Edward was not present here and was listed elsewhere as a boarder at 18 Hume Street in Mansion House, Dublin where he was described as an unmarried motor engineer. Although on the passenger list he had been listed as a general labourer, when he arrived in New York he gave his occupation as chauffeur.
On the night of the sinking Edward managed to board lifeboat 14 wearing a towel over his head, a fact which he freely conceded to his parents in a letter dated 6 May She had gone down about forty feet by now.
The last boat was about being rowed away when I thought in a second if I could only pass out [i. I had a towel round my neck. I just threw this over my head and left it hang in the back. I wore my waterproof overcoat. I then walked very stiff past the officers, who had declared they'd shoot the first man that dare pass out.
They didn't notice me. They thought I was a woman. I grasped a girl who was standing by in despair, and jumped with her thirty feet into the boat. In an interview many years later Ryan recalled that he bunked with two other men who at the time of the collision were fast asleep. He was still awake and trying to clean his smoking pipe, hunting for a piece of wire to unclog the piece but being unable to find anything when the ship struck the iceberg.
He immediately woke his cabin mates and informed them that something had happened; apparently they took no notice and went back to sleep. Ryan reported that he never saw them again. Reaching the upper decks he reported that he slid down the falls of an aft lifeboat. Once safe he discovered that he still had his pipe with him and made a search for tobacco in his trouser pockets, managing to pull together a few scraps that he was able to light, much to the chagrin of a first class lady in the boat who asked him to stop smoking, she perhaps thinking that he was acting too unconcernedly.
Ryan freely admitted that he was "scared stiff" at the time. He was married in to Gertrude Annie Glave b. During the s and with the renewed hype around the Titanic disaster Edward got the chance to become reacquainted with several other survivors and he was a special guest at a screening of A Night to Remember in Ryan was widowed when his wife Gertrude died in and he also suffered the loss of his youngest child Kathleen in