THE LUSITANIA DISASTER
TORPEDOED WITHOUT WARNING - AYRSHIRE PEOPLE LOST
From The Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald May 1915
A submarine had been waiting, then 26 miles from Queenstown, the Lusitania was torpedoed without warning at 2.15pm, 8 miles from the Head of Kinsale. Less than 1hr the boat was sunk, SOS messages had been sent, lifeboats lowered and fishing and other craft were quickly on the scene while larger boats from Queenstown were later in arriving, in the intervening time passengers drowned. Officials show 1906 passengers, 746 rescued, 1142 went down. Among those drowned were prominent Americans which provoked resentment in America. The Germans claimed she was armed and warned. The Lusitania was never acqustioned and totally unarmed.
Four Saltcoats Victims
Mrs Mary Lambie (nee Docherty), whose parents reside in Arthur St, Saltcoats was the wife of Daniel Lambie, who, prior to emigration to Ronald, Washington. She was a young woman, and had been abroad for about 5 yrs. Lately she had been in indifferent health and decided to return home. Along with her and her two daughters, aged 9 & 6 yrs, she embarked on the Lusitania for Liverpool. None of them ever reached port. The husband is still in Ronald, Washington, he is a slater to trade, and served his apprenticeship with Judge Christie, Saltcoats. By some means or another Mr Docherty, a brother of the deceased had information that Mrs Lambie was confined in an hospital in Southhampton, and he proceeded there via London on Sunday. He learned on arrival that such was not the case and no further news has been received.
Mrs Catherine Gill (nee Harris) was the wife of Mr James Gill, who was killed in a mining accident in Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois in July of last year. She was returning home to Saltcoats. Mrs Gill was a native of Stevenston and was well known in the district. She was buried at Queenstown on Monday.
Stevenston Lives Saved
The dastardly crime found anxious hearts in Stevenston, as on the liner five Stevenstonians had booked berths. Great excitement prevailed but `Dame Fortune` allayed and it somewhat, as first reports indicated no lives were lost. Alas! hopes were not been fully realised, as only two of the unfortunate natives escaped with their lives, were Mrs Catherine Harris or Gill, Miss Annie Dick, daughter of Alex Dick, Thistle and Rose Hotel, and James McKechan the six yr old child of Mrs M`Kechnie. Mr Dick waited in vain at Liverpool, but he was doomed to be disappointed.
Mrs Robert McKechan is a daughter of Mr Campbell Ballantyne, Boglemart St, Stevenston, and had her children, James and Campbell with her. Miss Dicks name did not appear on the passenger list or the survivors, but apparently all uncertainty has been removed, as her late employers wired she was on board. Mrs M`Kechan was able to identify Mrs Gill, who had apparently been injured when the torpedo struck, and she lies in the Queenstown Cemetery. Mrs M`Kechan lost her boy James, 6 yrs old, who was with Mrs Gill. The sympathies of all are with the bereaved friends and with those passengers who passed through such a severe ordeal, an experience they will have no desire to go through again.