A Lusitania Memorial Appeal

Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Back in July of 2002 I posted the story of a visit to Barbara Anderson McDermott. Thanks to people both here and in England, a great deal has been learned about the circumstances of her life and family, the whereabouts of her mother's and baby brother's grave - and many other little details which have filled in the blanks for her family here in America. Special thanks to Cliff Barry who has worked hard to bring the hope of a permanent memorial stone to reality. The very latest update on this project is that the city of Darlington requires that the graves themselves be purchased before we can place a headstone with the names and dates of mother and baby. It does seem heartless, but they are unmoved by our entreaties. What this means is that about $2000 dollars must be raised to buy the graves and place a stone on it. Already some kind offers have come in, and about one-quarter has been pledged for the effort. I think it would be a great thing for many people to participate with a small amount, rather than a few giving large donations. I believe we can get this done by May 7th and I post it here knowing well that there are many out there who would like to be a part of this effort to honor what is truly another victim of Lusitania and the tragic loss of a mother and baby. Barbara stayed on in England with her Grandmother until after the war. then returned home to her father aboard Mauretania in 1918, arriving on Christmas Day. Until just recently, she never knew where her mother was. If you would like to send a dollar to this very worthy endeavor, please send it to P.O. Box 86, North Stonington, CT 06359. Please put Lusitania Memorial on the envelope in care of my name. I am arranging a similar coordinator in the UK to manage the pence and pounds. It is a good thing to do for a great lady- and I believe we should do it now while she is alive to know and appreciate it. Below is a photo of Barbara as she sailed on Lusitania, and the sweet face of her mother, Emily Mary Pybus. There is no Lusitania Society to undertake this- so we must-and can.
Emily Mary Pybus Anderson joined her husband in America in 1911, Barbara was born in 1912. Expecting her second child, Emily longed to go back home to see her family before the baby arrived. She and Barbara were dining in the second class upper tier of the diningroom when the torpedo hit. Barbara still had her dessert spoon in hand as she peered through the railings at the frantic crowd below rushing for the boatdeck. She and her mother went immediately to the boatdeck, becoming somewhat separated at the rail. Purser Harkness swept Barbara up and rolled over the rail into a lifeboat. Her mother was not as fortunate and went into the cold water. She was eventually lifted into the boat, but according to her family, suffered from the trauma of the event. Her baby, Frank Roland, was born Sept. 30, 1915, possibly premature, and sickly. He died at the home of the grandmother, Margaret Pybus in March of 1916. Emily had developed acute inflammation of the lungs, which evolved into what is commonly called "wasting disease", and with the sad loss of her baby, died about a year later, also at home, in March 1917. As soon as the war was over, Barbara returned home on Mauretania, Captain Rostron was Master- and asked Barbara to sit at his table. She arrived Christmas Day 1918 to find her father and new stepmother on the dock in New York. I am sure you will agree there is seldom seen a sweeter face than this of 28 year old Emily.
Photos courtesy of Barbara McDermott
Thanks Shell,

You're right. Emily Anderson was a beautiful woman. What eyes! You can tell she was a very loving person.

The story of the cemetery situation regarding her grave and that of her infant son is a shame. I want to give as much as I'm able toward the effort to buy their plot and headstone. And I know there are others who will also want to help give Mrs. Anderson and her baby the dignity in death which they deserve after suffering so much.


PS) And there NEEDS to be a Lusitania Society!
Thanks Michael, but this group seems more of an exclusive club than a membership society.
Shelley - Would you please provide details of your UK co-ordinator in this regard. Thanks.

Thanks for the info on the Lusy society- I never heard of it! Paul, I will have the details ironed out on the UK side in about a day so stay tuned. We are trying to keep this as simple as possible. A leather book has been purchase to record all names of every donor to give to the family. I think it will mean a great deal to see the names of many- the amount per person is not important- the thought and gesture is everything. I have been also speaking to Cunard.
Just a little caveat Shelley, Randy is likely right about the nature of this particular beast. These people exist, but I didn't see anything in the way of membership information. Still might be worth chatting them up though.
The UK coordinator for this project, I am very happy to announce- is, quite fittingly, Cliff Barry. Cliff has done all of the detective work on that side of the Great Pond, from discovering the graves, to researching the costs. Please send money orders, pence and pounds or personal checks drawn on UK banks (banques?!) to Cliff. The checks may be made out to Cliff to be deposited, Please make sure to put "Lusitania Memorial" on the memo line , and include somewhere in the mailing how you would like the acknowledgement to be written in the book which is going to Barbara and the family. Send to:
Cliff Barry
139b Rotherhithe Street
London, UK SE16SQT
I will keep in touch weekly to see how the donations are growing. As the graves and stones will eventually be paid in pounds, not dollars- I may either convert dollars in an International money order to send to Cliff from Americans and Canadians- or if the stone monument company will allow me to use my VISA card to charge the work and supplies for pouring the footing and erecting the finished stone, I can charge it and reimburse myself from the account I have set up to receive donations. If any of you bankers or financial types out there have another idea- we are all ears. Trying to keep this as simple as possible. Barbara and her family are aware that many people would like to help remember her mother and brother and the tragic event of the loss of Lusitania. I would soon love to be able to tell her that so many all over the world have made it possible. A weekly update on the amount raised will be posted at this thread. Thanks everybody for helping to make this happen- we can do it.
An update on donations- in one week we are at about the halfway mark in the drive to purchase the gravesites from the town of Darlington. Thanks for getting us off to such a good start one and all- I would so love to be able to get this done for May 7th of this year. Addresses in America and the UK are posted above.
Many thanx to the following people who have kindly donated money for the appeal fund over hear in the UK:

Geoff & Alma Whitfield in Liverpool
Mr & Mrs Paul Rogers in East Grinstead

so far we have raised approx $400.00

Great news Cliff, and we are hard at fundraising here across the Pond too. There will be a special Lusitania Auction at the Gilded Age TIS Convention in Newport next month- with some beautiful items including books and autographed prints, postcards, and other items. I know there are many Lusitania scholars and historians out there from whom we have not heard yet and feel certain the amount needed will be achieved by June if not in time for May 7th. I should like to acknowledge the generous donations of Dr. Douglas Willingham, Eric Sauder, Michael Herbold, and Michael Findlay. I think this is an opportunity to do a very good thing here-for Barbara, but also to honor those lost on Lusitania- a tragedy so often overshadowed by the charisma of Titanic. The amount does not matter- it is the gesture that counts.
More contributions for the Lusitania stone came in this weekend at The Gilded Age Convention in Newport. The auction raised $250 and private donations brought the total up to $621. Heartfelt thanks to Stephen Chuck, Trent Pfiefer, James Metzger, Dr. Hefele, Jim Kalafus and Eric Sauder for their donations. Along with the British donations of $400, we have raised nearly enough to buy the gravesites so a stone will be able to be placed. Another $1100 needs to be collected to finish the project. Mrs. McDermott is overwhelmed by the interest in her mother and brother, and the effort to remember them in this way. More photographs of her and this past weekend's event will be posted shortly. If you would like to make a contribution either in America or in the UK, the addresses can be found posted above on this thread.
Another $100 was just received-now there is enough to purchase the graves. All contributions now will be to purchase the stone. The carver in Darlington has been contacted and at present the wording is being thoughtfully planned to mention both mother and baby, their dates, and for historical purposes for future generations, some mention at the bottom of the Lusitania.