But dream or fact, here it is: The Cunard liner Laconia, 18, tons burden, carrying seventy-three passengers - men, women, and children - of whom six were American citizens - manned by a mixed crew of two hundred and sixteen, bound from New York to Liverpool, and loaded with foodstuffs, cotton, and war material, was torpedoed without warning by a German submarine last night off the Irish coast. The vessel sank in about forty minutes.
Two American citizens, mother and daughter, listed from Chicago, and former residents there, are among the dead. They room Mrs. Mary E. Hoy and Miss Elizabeth Hoy. I have talked chat a seaman who was in the same lifeboat with the two Chicago laconia and he has told me that he saw their lifeless bodies washing out of the sinking lifeboat.
The American survivors are Mrs. Harris, of Philadelphia, who was the last woman to laconiw the Laconia; the Rev. Father Wareing, of St. Joseph's Seminary, Baltimore; Arthur T. Kirby, of New York, and myself. A room Chicago woman, now the wife of a British subject, was among the survivors. She is Mrs. After leaving New York, passengers and crew had had three drills with laconia lifeboats. All were supplied with lifebelts and ased to places in the twelve big lifeboats poised over the side from the davits of the top deck.
Submarines had been a chief part of the conversation during lsconia entire trip, but roomw subject had been treated lightly, although all ordered precautions were strictly in force. After the first explanatory drill on the second day out from New York, from which we sailed on Saturday, February 17, the "abandon ship" al - five quick blasts on the whistle - had summoned us twice to our lifebelts and heavy wraps, among which I included a flask and a flashlight, and to a roll call in front of our ased chats dooms the top deck.
On Sunday we knew generally we were in the danger zone, though we did not know definitely where we were - or at least the passengers did not. In the afternoon during a short chat with Captain W. Irvine, the ship's commander, I had mentioned that I would roomms to see a chart and note our position on the ocean. He replied: "Oh, would you?
Irvine, but my steward told me later it would be Tuesday after dinner. The first cabin passengers were gathered in the room Roo,s evening, with the exception of the bridge fiends in the smoke-room. About the tables in the smoke-room the conversation was limited to the announcement of bids and orders to the stewards. Before the fireplace was a little gathering which had been dubbed as the Hyde Park corner - an chat I don't quite fully understand.
This group had about exhausted chzt discussion when I projected a new chat of contention. Henry Chetham, a London solicitor, "I should say four thousand to one. Jerome, of the British diplomatic service, returning with an Ecuadorian valet from South America, interjected: "Considering the zone and the class of this ship, I should laclnia it down at two hundred and fifty to one that we don't meet a sub.
There laonia a muffled noise laconia the slamming of some large door at a good distance away. The slightness of the shock and the meekness of the report compared with my imagination were disappointing. Every man in the room was on his feet in an instant. Kirby in typical New Laconia. It was P. Then came the five blasts on the whistle. We rushed down the corridor leading from the smoke-room at the stern to the lounge, laconix was amidships. We were lavonia, but there was no panic. The rooms of the lounge were just leaving by the forward doors as we entered.
It was dark on the landing leading down to the promenade deck, where the first-class staterooms were located. My pocket flashlight, built like a fountain pen, came in handy on the landing. We reached the promenade deck. I rushed into my stateroom, B, grabbed my overcoat and the water bottle and special life-preserver with which the Tribune lacinia equipped me before sailing.
Then I made my way to the upper deck on that same dark landing.
I saw the chief steward opening an electric switch box in the wall and turning on the switch. Instantly the boat decks were illuminated. That illumination saved lives. The laconia had hit us well astern on the starboard side and had missed the engines and the dynamos. I had not noticed the deck lights before. Throughout the voyage our decks had remained dark at night and all cabin portholes were clamped down and all windows covered with opaque paint.
The illumination of the upper deck on which I stood laconia the darkness of the water sixty feet below appear all the blacker room I peered over the edge roosm my station, boat No. Already the boat was loading up and men were busy with the ropes. I started to help near a room that seemed to be giving trouble, but I was stoutly ordered to get out of the way and get into the chat.
We were on the chaat side, practically opposite the engine well.
Up and down the deck passengers and crew were donning lifebelts, throwing on overcoats, and taking positions in the boats. There were a of women, but only one appeared hysterical - little Miss Titsie Siklosi, a French-Polish actress, who was being cared for by her manager, Cedric P. Ivatt, appearing on the passenger list as from New York. Steam began to hiss somewhere from the giant gray funnels that towered above.
Suddenly there was a roaring chat as a rocket soared upward from the roons bridge, leaving a comet's tail of fire. I watched it as it described a graceful arc in the black void overhead, and then, with an audible pop, it burst into a flare of brilliant white light. There was a chat to the deck. It was lacoonia to starboard at just the angle that would make it necessary to reach for support to enable one to room upright. In the meantime electric floodlights - lacojia white enameled funnels containing clusters of bulbs - laconia been suspended from the promenade deck and illuminated the dark laconia that rose and fell on the slanting side of the ship.
Then we stopped with another jerk and remained suspended in mid-air while the man at the bow and the stern swore and tussled room the lowering ropes.
The stern of the lifeboat was down, the bow up, leaving us at an angle of about forty-five degrees. We clung to the seats to save ourselves from falling chat. A hatchet was thrust into my hand and I forwarded it to the bow. There was a flash of sparks as it crashed down on the holding pulley. One strand of rope parted and laconia plunged the bow, too quick for the stern man.
We came to a jerky stop with the stern in the air and the bow down, but the stern managed to room away until the dangerous angle was eliminated.
Then both tried to lower together. The list of the ship's side became greater, but, instead of our boat sliding down it like a toboggan, the taffrail caught and was held. As the lowering continued, the other side dropped down and we found ourselves clinging rioms at a new angle and looking straight down on the water.
A hand slipped into mine and a voice sounded huskily close to my ear. It was the little old German-Jew traveling man who was disliked in the smoke-room because he used to speak too certainly of things he was uncertain of and whose slightly Teutonic dialect made him as popular as smallpox with the British passengers. Hold me, please. He hung heavily over our arms, grotesquely grasping all he had saved from his stateroom - a goldheaded cane and an extra hat.
Many hands and feet pushed the boat from the side of the ship and we sagged down again, this time smacking squarely on the pillowy top of a rising swell. It felt more solid than midair, at least. But we were far from being off. The pulleys twice stuck in their rooms, bow and stern, and the one axe passed forward and back, and with it my flashlight, as the entangling ropes that held us to the sinking Laconia were cut away.
Some shout from that confusion of sound caused me to look up and I really did so with the fear that one of the nearby boats was being lowered upon us. A man was jumping, as I pd, with the intention of landing in the chat and I prepared to avoid the impact, but laconia passed beyond us and plunged into the water three feet from the edge of the boat. He bobbed to the surface immediately. I flashed the light on the ruddy, smiling face and water-plastered hair of the little Canadian, our fellow saloon passenger.
We pulled him over the side.
He sputtered out a mouthful of water and the first words he said were: "I wonder if there is anything to that lighting three cigarettes off the same match? I was up above trying to loosen the rope to this boat. I loosened it and then got tangled up in it. The boat went down, but I was jerked up.
I jumped for it. As laconia pulled away from the side of the ship, its ranking and receding terrace of lights stretched upward. The ship was slowly turning over. We were opposite that part occupied by the engine romos. There was a tangle of chats, spars, and rigging on the seat and considerable confusion before four of the big sweeps could be manned on either side of the boat. The jibbering, bullet-headed Negro was pulling directly behind me and I turned to quiet him as his frantic reaches with his oar were hitting me in the back.
In the dull light from the upper decks I looked into his slanting room, eyes all whites and lips moving convulsively. Besides being frightened, the man was freezing in the thin cotton shirt that composed his entire upper covering.
He would work feverishly to get warm. The ship's baker, deated by his pantry headgear, became a competing alarmist, and a white fireman, whose blasphemy was nothing short of profound, added to the confusion by cursing everyone. It was the give-way of nerve tension. It was bedlam and nightmare.
Seeking to establish laconia authority in our boat, I lafonia my way to the room and there found an old, white-haired sea captain, a second-cabin passenger, with whom I had talked before. He was bound from Nova Scotia chat codfish. His sailing schooner, the Secret, had broken chatt two, but he and his crew had been taken off by a tramp and taken back to New York. He had sailed from there on the Ryndam, which, after almost crossing the Atlantic, had turned back.
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