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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Muriel Thompson - The Sinking of the Lusitania

All Saints Cemetery
Maidenhead Berkshire
UK


"Also of Muriel, dearly-loved youngest daughter of the above (Nathan Curtis Thompson).  Drowned by the sinking of The Lusitania.  May 7th 1915.  - Is All Well With The Child? - It Is Well."
 
 
 
Muriel was born in Maidenhead Berkshire in 1884, the youngest daughter of Nathan Curtis Thompson, a master grocer and his wife, Charlotte Disney.
 
In her teenage years Muriel attended Wallasey Grange Boarding School for Girls in Westgate-on-Sea in Kent, living at Eyrie House in Roxburgh Road.  By the 1911 Census Muriel had returned to the family home in Fifeld, near Holyport, Maidenhead Berkshire.

In the winter of 1913 Muriel travelled to Miami, Florida to spend time with friends where she remained for eighteen months before booking her return journey on the C Deck of the Lusitania.  It was on the 1st May 1915 at New York, Pier 54 that she alighted the Lusitania for the journey home to England. On 22nd April 1915 the Germany Embassy had issued a warning to all those who intended to travel on the Lusitania.

NOTICE! Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Imperial German Embassy”


Lusitania pictured in 1907


On Friday May 7th 1915, The Lusitania passed in front of the German U-boat U'20 eight miles off the coast of Kinsale, Ireland. She was torpedoed and sank in just 18 minutes at 2:30pm. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard only 761 survived. Muriel was among those missing after the tragedy.  Her loss was reported both in England and America.

On Wednesday 12th May 1915 The Palm Beach Post reported:

"Miss Thompson Lost Life In Sinking Of Lusitania

Name Is Not Included In Published List Of Survivors - Spent Winter With Friends Here.

Miss Muriel Thompson, who was returning home to England on the Lusitania after a winter spent in Miami with friends here, was among those lost when the great vessel sank beneath the waves off Kingsdale [sic] last Friday afternoon, shattered by German torpedoes.  Published lists of those saved have not contained her name, while lists in New York papers give her name among those who drowned.

Miss Thompson made many friends here during the winter which she spent at the home of Mrs. J. B. Patterson at 234 Thirteenth Street."


It seems the confusion over those named on the lists gave Muriel's family false hope.  On Saturday 15th May 1915 the Reading Mercury reported:

"Miss Muriel Thompson Missing.

Among the missing victims of the Lusitania is Miss Muriel Thompson, youngest daughter of Mrs. N. C. Thompson of Firfield, [sic] Bray, near Maidenhead, and sister of Messers. P. and S. Thompson.  Miss Thompson had been in America about eighteen months, and was on here way home in the ill-fated vessel.  Members of the family have visited Ireland, but have failed to find any trace of Miss Thompson and they fear that she went down with the vessel and was drowned."


Of the 1,198 people killed during the sinking of the Lusitania, only 289 bodies were ever recovered.  Muriel was not one of them.  Eventually Mrs Thompson was to give up the search for her daughter.  On Saturday 29th May 1915 the Reading Mercury carried the following announcement:

"Deaths -

Thompson - On the 7th inst., by the sinking of the Lusitania, Muriel, dearly loved youngest daughter of the late Mr. N. C. Thompson and Mrs. N. C Thompson Firfield, [sic] Holyport, Berkshire."



 

 


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