News from 1921: Passenger Jumps Overboard at New York

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Mark Baber

The New York Times, 1 September 1921

Olympic Passenger Leaps Overboard After Bidding His Fiancee Farewell
Family troubles in England and the fear of being detained and sent to
Eills Island were believed to be the cause of Thomas Brassington of
Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, jumping overboard from the second class
deck of the White Star liner Olympic on Tuesday night when she was at
anchor in quarantine, leaving his fiancée, Miss Anne Louise Thompson of
Alameda, Cal., lying unconscious on the deck.

According to the ship's officers, Brassington was a well-to-do man 39
years old, on his way to a bakery business he owned in Abbotsford,
Vancouver Island, B. C. Miss Thompson had become engaged to Brassington
on the Pacific Coast, and had gone to England six weeks ago to marry him
in his home town in Staffordshire. There was some trouble with his
relatives and the two sailed on the Olympic with the idea of getting
married in Alameda before proceeding to Abbotsford.

On Tuesday evening Brassington appeared despondent after dinner. He was
worried also because the Olympic had been delayed by fog and would have
to remain at anchor all night off the Quarantine Station. He was uneasy
about his health and had a morbid fear that the doctors would not pass
him and that would be sent to Ellis Island.

Just after it became dark he went to his cabin and placed his money,
watch and rings in the berth with a note found after he had jumped
overboard. Miss Thompson saw that he was uneasy and went with him to
the C deck, enclosed with large plate-glass windows, which can be closed
in wet or stormy weather

When she asked Brassington what was troubling him he told her that he
would not be taken to Ellis Island next morning, and that he intended to
jump overboard. Before she could prevent him he cried good-bye and
sprang onto the settee which runs along the side of the bulwarks. Miss
Thompson fainted and fell on the deck. When a steward revived her she
begged that he search for Brassington. After the news was brought that
he could not be found she became hysterical and was taken to the ship's
hospital, where she still lies.

Brassington's farewell note read: "Trouble at home---fear being detained
at Ellis Island---too much to bear. Do not think too harshly of me for
doing this. T. Brassington."

The Olympic was searched to see if Brassington had stowed away, owing to
his disordered state, but no trace of him was found. The splash when he
struck the water was not heard because there were two tugs on the port
side making a noise and the ship's dynamos were going.

Dr. J. H. C. Beaumont, senior surgeon, signed a report for the
immigration authorities that the passenger was missing, but declined to
make one that Brassington was dead, as he had no proof.

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