People's Stories

Everyone on the Lusitania's last voyage, including passengers and crew.

Friedrich Limberg

Friedrich Limberg

About Friedrich

Friedrich C., known as 'Frederick', Limburg was born in Delft, Holland, in 1882, the son of Hendrik Johannes Petrus and Mrs. Limburg.  He married Christina Michael Higham (née Holding) in Liverpool in 1912, and they lived at 68, Harrowby Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, Lancashire.  Christina was a widow with two children.

He engaged as Confectioner in the Stewards' Department on board the Lusitania on 12th April 1915 for the vessel’s scheduled voyage to New York and back, at a monthly rate of pay of £10-0s-0d., and joined her at Liverpool Pier head on the morning of 17th April, before she made her final exit from the River Mersey.  He had served in the same capacity on the vessel before.

Three weeks later, on the afternoon of 1st May 1915 the Lusitania left New York for the start of her return voyage to Liverpool.  Then, six days out of that port, on the afternoon of 7th May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, off The Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland and only 12 to 14 hours steaming time away from her home port.

Frederick, Limburg lost his life as a result of this enemy action. He was aged 33 years.

As it was necessary to bury all the recovered bodies as soon as was practicable, for reasons of hygiene, they were all photographed in the temporary mortuaries in Queenstown before being buried.  Anxious relatives of those missing were then invited to identify their loved ones through these photographs.  This was difficult in certain cases because of injuries they had received as a consequence of the sinking or because they had been in the water for a long time.  The photographs of the bodies were displayed not long after the sinking in St. George’s Hall, Liverpool and Christina Limburg must have seen them there as afterwards she wrote to Cunard for more details of corpse number 84, whom she thought might have been that of her husband.

Cunard wrote back to her with the following: -

40 years old, Height 6’ 2” Eyes large blue, Cheek bones high, Deep mark across nose.  Third finger of left hand has the first joint off.

From this, Mrs. Limburg realised that it was not her husband’s body after all and it subsequently turned out to be that of saloon passenger Anton Jacobæus.  As Frederick Limburg’s body was never recovered and identified, his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.

Administration of his estate was granted to his widow Christina on 6th July 1915, at Liverpool, and his effects amounted to £134-2s-6d, (£134.12½p).  The following month, Christina Limburg was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service on the Lusitania’s last voyage, which was reckoned to be from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had foundered!  The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted her an annual pension to compensate her for the loss of her husband.  This amounted to £47-1s-3d. (£47.06p.) which was payable at the rate of £3-18s-6d. (£3.92½p.) per month.

Unfortunately, Christina Limburg only outlived her second husband by three years, dying in Liverpool in 1918.

A list of crew members compiled by The Cunard Steamship Company in March 1916 shows him as Freid Lemburg which was probably a diminution of Friedrich, although the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission state his forename to be Ferdinand and those of the Probate Office show it as Frederick - the English version of Friedrich.

Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Denise Deighton, Probate Records, UNiLivD92/1/6-2, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.

Friedrich Limberg



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