It is not known where Anna Endresen was born, or who she was married to, but by 1915 she was widowed.
She was a professional in the British Mercantile Marine and had previously served on the Cunard liner
Cameronia as Anna Enderson. She held the position of Matron in the Stewards' Department during the
Lusitania's final voyage. She engaged for this voyage at Liverpool on 14 April 1915 at a monthly rate of pay of £5-0s-0d and reported for duty at 7am on 17 April, before the liner left Liverpool for the last time, bound for New York.
Having arrived at New York without mishap on 24 April the Lusitania began her return journey to Liverpool on the afternoon of 1 May after a delayed start. Six days later she was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of southern Ireland by the German submarine U-20.
Matron Endresen was killed as a result of this action. Her body was recovered from the sea and landed at Queenstown, where it was given the reference number 71 in one of the temporary mortuaries there - almost certainly the one hurriedly set up in the yard next to the Cunard office on the waterfront at Lynch‘s Quay. It was later buried on 10 May in The Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown, in Mass Grave C, 1st Row, Upper Tier, where it lies today. Matron Endresen was aged 40 years.
10 May was the day that most of the victims' bodies were buried in a communal funeral following a long procession from the town itself which began outside the Cunard office.
Despite her having a known place of burial, she is also commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London which commemorates the missing of the Mercantile Marine in the Great War, because the Commission was not initially aware that she had an identifiable burial site. However, once the author had established beyond doubt that she was buried in The Old Church Cemetery, the Commission agreed to erect a permanent memorial to her where she is buried.
This was done in November 1998 and takes the form of a monument of Irish limestone, sited at the head of Mass Grave B, the centre one of the three. The names of crew members buried in the three mass graves are incised on two black granite panels on the memorial, with a legend in between them, which reads:
"1914 - 1918
IN HONOURED MEMORY
OF THOSE NAMED WHO,
SERVING ON THE
DIED WHEN THE SHIP WAS
SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION
ON 7 MAY 1915
AND ARE BURIED NEARBY"
The name of Anna Endresen is incised on the left hand panel as Matron A Enderson.
The Commission has also stated that should it ever be necessary to renew the panel which bears her name on the Tower Hill Memorial; her name would be omitted from its replacement.
Possessions recovered from her body, which probably aided its identification, were handed over to her daughter in Liverpool on 29 October 1915 and administration of her estate was granted to Birgit Louise Welburn (wife of William Garbutt Welburn) on 24 October 1916. Her effects amounted to £160-14s-3d (£160.71).
'Gore's Directory' for 1914 shows a Mrs Hannah Henderson living at 50 Spenser Street, Bootle, so she must also have used a further Anglicisation of her name on occasions.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Gore's Directory, Robert O'Brien, Probate Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334.