Leon Thresher amongst recovered Lusitania victims


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Richard Coplen

Guest
Hey all,
was just browsing through the list of bodies recovered following the Lusitania disaster (www.rmslusitania.info/pages/victims/index.html) and it states that body 248 was Mr. Leon Thresher "American aboard the Falaba". I realise that the liner Falaba was torpedoed and sunk on 28th March 1915 - does this mean that Mr Thresher's body wasn't initially recovered and ended up being recovered with the Lusitania victims in May??? Why is he listed among Lusitania's victims and buried with them in Co. Cork??? Also where exactly is "Doolin and Arran" where some of the bodies from Lusitania were recovered? I know where Queenstown, Kinsale and Barry are...i'm assuming "Barry" refers to the Welsh port?
Appreciate any insights anyone can offer me.
Best wishes,
Richie.
 

John Flood

Member
Mar 1, 2004
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Hi Richard,

I don't know of any areas around Cork called Doolin or Arran.There is a village called Doolin on the coast of County Clare. The Aran Islands are about 10 miles to the north of it. This area is on the west coast of Ireland and would be quite a distance from the Cork coastline where the Lusitania sank.

All the Best,
John.
 

Ben Holme

Member
Feb 11, 2001
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Hi Richard,

"...does this mean that Mr Thresher's body wasn't initially recovered and ended up being recovered with the Lusitania victims in May???"

The body of Leon Thresher was recovered on July 11th, at which time the recovery operations were drawing to a close.

When the body was found, it revealed clear and harrowing signs of the effects of exposure to the elements for two months, and necessitated a hasty burial. He was interred in Co. Kerry the following day.

Hope this helps,
Ben
 

Peter Kelly

Member
Nov 19, 2003
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Hi Richard, John, & Ben,

Living in Ireland, and having visited Leon Thresher's grave, I might be able to help you with regard to the questions posed in what you have posted here.

First of all, it can be assumed that Leon's body was in a very advanced state of decomposition when recovered, and as many bodies from the Lusitania were being washed up along the coast at that time, it was assumed that he was one of the victims, and thus given the reference number 248. Following his hasty burial in Stradbally graveyard in County Kerry, his details and personal belongings would have been forwarded to the authorities in Queenstown in an effort to have him positively identified. It was subsequently discovered that he was Leon Thresher, lost on the Falaba, and therefore was not a victim of the Lusitania. His grave is in very good condition to this day, and at some point in the next few weeks I will try to get a photo of it.

In relation to Doolin and the Arran Islands, as pointed out by John, Doolin is a small village and the Arran Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland. The reason they are grouped together with regard to the Lusitania is that they were lifeboat and coastguard centres, and would have had their names combined for administrative reasons. The most northerly place in Ireland an identified body of a Lusitania victim was recovered and buried is in Belmullet, Co. Mayo. This is a considerable distance from the Old Head of Kinsale. For the record Thomas Brownlie is victim buried in Belmullet Protestant cemetery.

Finally, Barry is in Wales.

I hope this clears everything up to everyones satisfaction.

Regards,

Peter
 
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Richard Coplen

Guest
Thank you all very much for all that fascinating info - I actually live in Ireland and suspected Doolin and Arran to be the places in question - just didn't think the Lusitania bodies would drift so far west and then swing north. Must have taken ages to travel so far. I dread to imagine the state the bodies of Leon Thresher and Thomas Brownlie were in by the time they were recovered. I must make the trip to visit these men's graves and pay my respects. Thank you all again.
Best wishes,
Richie.
 

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