Barbara McDermott Last Lusitania Survivor


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Aug 29, 2000
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P.J. stands for Paul Jr.- her greatgrandson who always accompanies her on outings- he is 13. Here is Barbara with a torpedo, in the case on her left(right side of photo)- her first view of the real thing.
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After coming down the gangplank of Nautilus, Barbara received from one happy sailor, her gold submariner pin- twin dolphins, which she wore with pride all weekend, her half-brother Richard was a Navy man
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After the Nautilus, Barbara visited Bob Ballard's Institute for Undersea Exploration-she is a great admirer of his. This is on the fantail of the Knorr mock-up.
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At the Friday night lecture we learned of her experiences during the war while waiting to return to America. She showed us her Lusitania medal (German propaganda pressing) and other documents from her collection. Here she is holding a photo of her rescuer, Purser Harkness. This photo is on her nightstand, and was found last year by Cliff Barry
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Veteran Lusitania and Andrea Doria diver, Gary Gentile was excited to meet Barbara. She attended both lectures and was naturally, very interested to see Lusitania slides and photos. No artifacts from Lusitania were recovered during Gary's dives.
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Feb 24, 2004
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Does anyone know where I can find a copy of a photo of Barbara as a young girl (I guess from about the time she was on the Lusitania)- Ive seen one on her wall I think (in pics showing her at home)- I didn't know if any books showed any or not.
Thanks!
Draren
 
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Trent Pheifer

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Thanks for posting the pictures Shelley, it is great to see Barbara doing so good!

-Trent
 
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These are the photos on the wall in her home, they are enlarged on canvas, made from smaller ones she had in her album and given in appreciation to her at the Newport TIS convention. A doll was also re-created from the photo. The beautiful lady is Barbara's mother, Emily Pybus Anderson,-their story is at http://www.revdma2.com/Barbara.html The newspaper photo is Barbara right after being saved by Purser Harkness who is also in the photo.
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Matt Endacott

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hello,
Does anyone know if Mrs McDermott have any memories of the Lusitania?
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Matt:

"...Does anyone know if Mrs McDermott have any memories of the Lusitania?..."

See Ms. Dziedzic's post above. Mrs. McDermott has few memories of the event - apart from the impact of the torpedo. And of course, she recalls being in the lifeboat.

I have not been in touch with Mrs. McDermott in a while so it's really nice to see these images and be reminded of how incredibly youthful she is in looks and spirit. Mrs. McD is a kind and thoughtful lady, very warm and gracious, who truly appreciates the efforts that so many researchers have made to help her learn more about her past. She also says she is touched that they have made the extra effort to include her in their lives. She keeps their letters and remembers each one by name. She has a remarkable capacity for friendship and sharing.

Randy
 
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Matt, most of your questions can be answered on that link above, but if you cannot access that link, she recalls being in the diningroom finishing dessert, on the upper tier of that area. She still had her spoon in her hand when the sound of the impact was heard. She recalls looking down through the railing at people rushing on the level below. She then recalls being lifted up and dropped into a lifeboat,she had become separated from her mother at the railing- and eventually she said her mother was plucked from the water and put into the same boat. After that, the next thing she remembers was a long yellow tunnel with her grandparents waiting on the platform. She remained in England until the war was over, and recalls seeing her mother in a hospital and her outstretched arms asking for a final embrace . Emily never quite recovered after the disaster trauma, and died in 1917 after giving birth in autumn of 1915 to the baby she was expecting on Lusitania (which was sickly and lived only 6 months)-the baby was a boy named Frank. Cliff Barry located the family graves in Darlington, and money was raised recently to buy the lots for Barbara's family and place a stone there. Barbara tells wonderful stories of life in England during the war, the German prisoners of war that worked on her grandfather's property, and returning home after the war, on the Mauretania. She was very seasick, but after she recovered, the Captain invited her to his table- it was Carpathia's Capt. Rostron. The ship docked on Dec. 26th and she was met by her father who had stayed behind, and her new step-mother. That union would produce the half-brother mentioned above. This Friday at noon, on station WPEP, Taunton, Massachusetts, Barbara will give an interview -hope some ET folks can tune in.
 
Jul 14, 2002
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Hi Shelley,

I just found this posting on Barbara. I was most suprised to hear about her interview she gave to WPEP. I live in Taunton and didn't even realize she was to speak, as I was at school out of state. I'm so upset I missed it. Were you able to tune in? Also, do you know why she spoke to WPEP, and her connection to Taunton?

Thanks so much!

-Eric-

P.S. (Is Barbara the last survivor...my Lusitania knowledge is rather lacking)
 
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Hi Eric- it was Donna Montalbano's morning show, and yes I actually went up to Taunton to do the show and we fixed up a phone link to Barbara.She has no personal connection to Taunton that I know of. She also gave a great interview in May to several Connecticut newspapers. It was great to hear the local response and call-ins. Barbara had a nasty fall back in May and broke a bone when she misjudged a curb at church, but after a few weeks of therapy and rest in a local clinic, she is home and feeling almost recovered, under the tender care of her great grandson.We hope to visit her next month, for the annual cookout, which she prepares herself-every bit of it for friends and family. Audrey Pearl is still alive, and there may be one more survivor possibly.
 
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Thanks so much Shelley and Jim,

The interview sounded like a great time! It's so nice that Barbara was willing to participate in something like this, and certainly that the community was very receptive. I don't want to be a pest to you...but was Barbara traveling with her family, and if so, were any members lost in the disaster? I remember watching a documentary on the Lusitania several years ago, and remember a few survivors (at that time) being interviewed...perhaps Barbara was one of them.

In any case, I thank you and Jim for your responses very much.

Best Wishes,
Eric
 
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