Annabella McCrae Anderson, known as “Annie”, was born in the Whiteinch area of Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on the 11th June 1882, the daughter of Donald “Daniel” and Isabella Anderson (née Ferguson). Her father was a joiner, and on completion of her education, Annie became a dressmaker.
In 1911, she married Hugh Bryce, who was also from Glasgow, and had just left the British Army. On the 23rd December 1911, Hugh had travelled to the United States of America in search of work, and had settled in Auburn, New York, where he had relatives. Once he had found work, and a place to live, he sent for Annie, who joined him on the 29th April 1912, when she disembarked from the
Caledonia in New York harbour. Sometime later, the couple re-located to Syracuse, New York.
In the spring of 1915, perhaps because of the Great War, or perhaps because Annie was expecting her first child, the couple decided to return to Scotland, and as a consequence, booked second cabin passage on the
Lusitania leaving New York for Liverpool on 1st May 1915. On board, Annie shared a cabin with Miss Mary Buchanan and Mrs. Mary and Miss Nina Tierney, all of whom were natives of Scotland.
When the liner was torpedoed and sunk, just six days later, Annie and her husband were lucky enough to survive, and after being rescued from the sea and landed at Queenstown, both eventually made it back to Scotland, to the home of Annie’s parents at 1134, Dumbarton Road, Whiteinch, Glasgow, Lanarkshire.
Mary Buchanan and the Tierney’s perished as a result of the sinking.
In the summer of 1915, the Bryce’s applied for financial assistance to The Lusitania Relief Fund, which had been set up after the disaster by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other worthy dignitaries, to help those survivors and relatives of the dead, who found themselves in difficulties as a result of the sinking. The committee administering the fund awarded them £5-0s-0d, and pledged to give their case further consideration. The committee noted that by this time Hugh Bryce was in employment and it is not known whether any further payments were made to them.
In September 1915, Annie gave birth to a son, named William Anderson Bryce, and she gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Isobel McCrae Bryce in October 1916.
On the 13th June 1919, the Bryce family embarked on the S.S. Canada at Liverpool, bound for New York via Quebec, Canada. Their passage, like the passage of most of most of those on board, was paid for by the British government as part of a relocation scheme operating at that time to assist those emigrating from Great Britain. On arrival on the 22nd June, the family returned to their former home in Syracuse, New York.
Annie Bryce lived the remainder of her life in Syracuse. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Isobel Seeland, Van Antwerp Drive, Cicero, New York, on the 16th October 1963, aged 81 years. She was buried alongside her husband, Hugh, who had died in 1954, at White Chapel Memory Gardens, Syracuse, New York.
The official list of passengers on the final voyage of the Lusitania, published in March 1916 by the Cunard Steamship Company Limited, lists Annabella Bryce as Arabella Bryce, but this was clearly an error.
1891 Census of Scotland, 1901 Census of Scotland, 1920 U.S. federal Census, 1930 U.S. Federal Census, 1940 U.S. Federal Census, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Liverpool Record Office, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/182, Graham Maddocks, Lawrence Evans, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.