People's Stories

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

William Smith

William Smith

About William

William Smith served as a first class waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the Lusitania.

According to an article printed in the American journal The Evening Post, on 24th May 1915, a survivor named James Smith, who was reportedly steward to Staff Captain Anderson, escaped from the sinking ship in one of the lifeboats and after being landed in southern Ireland immediately engaged as a steward, on the United States Lines ship New York, bound for New York, with another Lusitania survivor, Kitchen Porter Edward Skay.

As there was no crew survivor named James Smith, it seems fairly certain that the steward mentioned was in fact William Smith.

Another account, printed in The Western Mail of South Wales, on 10th May 1915 also alludes to William Smith of Walton, steward to Staff-captain Anderson.  It states :-

William Smith ... said he felt the shock about 2.15.  he was coming out of the saloon at the time.  He rushed on deck and believing they had been torpedoed, went below to the “glory-hole” for a lifebelt.

“I put it on and came back on deck and helped to get out a boat.  A number of women seemd afraid to get in.  The boat, with about 60 in all, - women, children and a few men - was being lowered away at one end by the quartermaster and an engineer at the other end when I made a jump and got in safely.  When we reached the water we picked up a young lady and and two gentlemen who were about to sink.

We pulled out from the side of the liner fearing that the suction would draw us.  She looked like a huge beast in agony.  It was a terrifying sight never to be forgotten.  Heavens! when I think of the struggling mass of humanity in the water fighting for life it makes me shudder.”

The boat into which Smith jumped was probably Lifeboat No 13.

Cunard Records, The Evening Post, The Lusitania Case, The Western Mail.

William Smith



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