Isobel Roddrigues Abas was born at 12. Waterloo Place, Brighton, England, on the 21st May 1909, the eldest child of Phillippe and Beatrice Eleanor Abas. The family home was in Brighton, East Sussex, England. Phillippe Abas was a professional musician, being an expert on the cello, and he often played abroad. His family accompanied him on many of his tours.
Little Isobel’s second forename – Roddrigues – came from her paternal grandmother, Rachel Roddrigues de Alizanda Abas, who was of Spanish descent, although her father’s family came from Amsterdam, in Holland.
In April 1915, Phillippe Abas was performing in New York, and as Mrs. Abas was pregnant with a third child and also because of the war situation, it was decided that she should return to England for the birth, with Beatrice and Isobel. Consequently, the three booked as second cabin passengers on the Lusitania, which was scheduled to leave New York from her berth at Pier 54 in New York, on the morning of 1st May 1915.
In the event, her sailing was delayed until just after noon, as she had to embark cargo, crew and passengers from the Anchor Liner
Cameronia which the British Admiralty took up from trade to use as a troop ship at the end of April. Six days later the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the U-20, off the coast of southern Ireland and only about 250 miles from her Liverpool destination.
Tragically, all three members of the Abas family perished in the sinking and as none of their bodies was ever recovered and identified afterwards, none has a known grave.
Isobel Abas was only six years of age.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York Passenger Lists 1820 - 1957, Cunard Records, Brighton Herald, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/356, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly