Victim #105 - Branko Dakic?


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Phil Fazzini

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Body # 105 "B.D." Mr. Branko Dakic ?

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted in an unrelated topic, has been moved to the one which is discussing unidentified victims. JDT]
 

Bob Godfrey

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Prolonged immersion in the sea can 'age' a body, but No 105 (judged to be 30) hadn't been there long and Dakic was only 19 - not the sort of age at which moustaches were common, either. It's also unlikely perhaps that an Eastern European labourer travelling to find work would be wearing a suit on deck.

There was one other man in 3rd Class with the same initials. Bertram Dean was 25 and looked older. As a small business owner traveling with his family he would almost certainly have been wearing a suit on board. And he definitely had dark hair and a moustache.

2nd Class passengers could have been dressed in very similar style, but there were no 2nd Class male victims with the right initials.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Something else to ponder, is that outside of first class circles, clothing seems to have led a longer and more traveled life during the Victorian and Edwardian eras....it was worn and mended until it was suitable only for re-use as rags or patches, and often went through several owners during its active life. The Lusitania was awash in unidentified victims bearing monograms that did not correspond to anyone on the ship and, although it has been years since I've looked at the Titanic papers, I suspect the same was true on that ship. IF B.D. were the initials of he who died wearing those clothes, then Mr. Dean seems to be the best choice. But, it must be kept in mind that monograms are a so-so means of identification for various reasons, and B.D. could well be the original owner of the suit and not the man who died wearing it.
 

Bob Godfrey

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"The Lusitania was awash in unidentified victims bearing monograms that did not correspond to anyone on the ship and, although it has been years since I've looked at the Titanic papers, I suspect the same was true on that ship". Indeed it was, Jim. I made the same point recently in response to another of Phil's suggestions. It's worth remembering too that a name or initials on an item of clothing might be those of nobody who ever wore it, but rather of somebody who made it, retailed it or even cleaned it.

This is a problem also of course with jewelry and watches, which were often pawned as a matter of routine towards the end of the month and sooner or later were not reclaimed. A name or set of initials is a useful starting point for other inquiries, but rarely a clincher in itself.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>It's worth remembering too that a name or initials on an item of clothing might be those of nobody who ever wore it, but rather of somebody who made it, retailed it or even cleaned it.

Yup. Intriguingly, VERY late in the game a armless cadaver washed ashore miles from the Lusitania site, wearing the remnants of what seem to be first class clothing, which was laundry marked with "V" prefixes.

This was in late July and the remains were quickly buried.

Now, the V is intriguing. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, of course, lived in the Hotel Vanderbilt and as such was probably one of the few millionaires compelled to use a commercial laundry service...in that case the one provided by the hotel. The only other V first class victim it COULD have been was Martin Van Straaten.

BUT, the V could also have just been part of the laundry service code, or a Roman 5. So, it makes a good "What if?" tale but the initial, if in fact it is an initial, proves nothing....

#19. Male body, recovered at Quilty, Co, Clare, July 23rd. Unrecognizable. Skull
and bones of face were bare. Forearms from elbows were missing. 4 teeth in
upper jaw gold cased, and 4 gold filled. 4 teeth in lower jaw were gold cased
and 4 gold filled. Part of pair laced shoes and part of socks covered by
them on feet,. Part of underpants, part of inside undervest, the neckband
and a fragment of the shirt were adhering to the body. Neckband and part of
the shirt were of linen with blue stripes, having the following laundry mark in
black indelible ink on inside of band (V)X 176. Band was 15 size. Band
was closed in front with dark brown stud, set in plain metal, all of which may
have been gold washed when new. Stud at back similar to one in front (set in
white ivory). Undervest of pale white color bore laundry mark (V) X. the
underpants were similar in texture and color to the undervest, and bore the
maker’s name “American Silk Reis, underwear, Pat.V.finish.”
Buried Leitrim Cemetery, Doonbeg, July 23rd.
 
May 27, 2007
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I wonder if the Vanderbilts ever heard about the discovery of this body. Of course the body might of also been Vanderbilt's Valet, Ronald Denyer. A lot of times servant got their employer's hand me downs and Mr. Denyer's laundry would have had to been washed as well at the Hotel Vanderbilt. Some more conjecture.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Hey, George: Ronald Denyer was recovered elsewhere. Aside from some seagull gnawing (they eat the lips and eyes of the dead, then begin with the soft tissue of the face) he was intact, identifiable, and eventually buried in England.

About the gold teeth.... very few of the unidentified Lusitania victims had dental work that extended beyond extracted teeth and dentures. Which is what is interesting about this one. Whoever he was, he could afford gold teeth. He did not have a home laundress. Would Vanderbilt have worn gold-plate studs rather than gold?

V victims:

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1)
Martin Van Straaten (1)

John Vance (2)
Harold Venn(2)

So, if the V indicated surname and not laundry code, it likely represents the initial of one of these four men, since it appeared on two separate items of clothing recovered with the body.

One wishes....uhhh....that this was one of those occasions common in Victorian times, in which the skull was removed, boiled, and forwarded to Queenstown for further examination. Chances are excellent that at least Vanderbilt and Van Straaten left detailed dental records.

As it is, this initial/non initial establishes ONLY that indelible ink ca. 1915 did its job as promised. Like the B.D., it could mean everything or nothing. Intriguing but at the same time maddeningly vague...
 

Jim Kalafus

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Yes, I know. The entire point of that tangent was to illustrate the pitfalls of attempting to establish latter-day identifications from monograms and markings found with the unidentified dead.

Try these:

#226. Female. 35 to 36 years. Appeared to be pregnant. Full round face. Small
short nose. Large forehead. Dark brown hair. Blue eyes. Large mouth.
Stout build. Height about 5’; 3”. Wore blue skirt, woolen singlet, white
corset, grey woolen cardigan jacket with 5 grey buttons at the front,
black stockings, black laced boots.
Property.-1 22 carat plain gold ring with letters S.H. engraved. These
letters are sunk into ring and may be maker’s initials. Ring cut, apparently
when being taken off finger; 1 small brooch with brown sparkling stone; 1
rubber teat; 1 safety pin.
Grave B. 6th row upper tier.

and

#186. Female. 32 years. Pregnant. Stout strong build. Fair complexion. Round
Face. Good looking. Long light brown wavy hair. Height 5’9”. Wore blue
serge dress with red jersey underneath jacket, blue check bodice, black
button boots, cashmere hose.
Property.- Gold wedding ring and keeper rings.
Grave B. 5th row, lower tier.

In either case, there is one specific detail that SHOULD have allowed someone to make the connection, but no one ever did.
 
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Phil Fazzini

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Lusitania # 226: a 2nd class passenger Mrs. Smauel E. Hume was lost in sinking-although possibly expect her ring initials to be "M.H" {Her first name was MAry! likewise age not given} Of three others -2 were too old and and one was described as a "Miss"
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Jim, Bob
Sorry I missed both of your replies. Been busy this morning.
A valet's wages wouldn't pay for that mouthful of gold, George.
Perhaps somebody else paid? Inhertiance money. But seeing how Denyers remains was recovered else where.

Hey, George: Ronald Denyer was recovered elsewhere. Aside from some seagull gnawing (they eat the lips and eyes of the dead, then begin with the soft tissue of the face) he was intact, identifiable, and eventually buried in England.
Well so much for that theory. At least we know the body wasn't Denyer. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Lusitania # 226: a 2nd class passenger Mrs. Samuel E. Hume was lost in sinking-although possibly expect her ring initials to be "M.H" {Her first name was MAry!)

Mary Agnes Hume can be eliminated because A) I know what she looked like, and she did not match the description and, B) this woman must have been traveling with an infant~ the rubber teat is a strong clue to that.

SO, a pregnant woman traveling with an infant should have been easy to pin down and identify, simply because there were not too many of them. But, for whatever reason, no one who would have known ever came forward.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hmm, well maybe she wasn't pregnant or maybe she was but with no baby with her.

#226. Female. 35 to 36 years. Appeared to be pregnant. Full round face. Small short nose. Large forehead. Dark brown hair. Blue eyes. Large mouth.
Stout build. Height about 5’; 3”. Wore blue skirt, woolen singlet, white
corset, grey woolen cardigan jacket with 5 grey buttons at the front,
black stockings, black laced boots.
Property.-1 22 carat plain gold ring with letters S.H. engraved. These
letters are sunk into ring and may be maker’s initials. Ring cut, apparently
when being taken off finger; 1 small brooch with brown sparkling stone; 1
rubber teat; 1 safety pin.
Grave B. 6th row upper tier.

SO, a pregnant woman traveling with an infant should have been easy to pin down and identify, simply because there were not too many of them. But, for whatever reason, no one who would have known ever came forward.

1#
Maybe her Infant was a new born or just a couple of months old and she wasn't pregnant but bloated after being in the water for a while or she had not quite got rid of the baby weight. A full round face with a short nose could also be bloating of the face due to being in the water and or baby weight. She was also reported to have a stout build. Which could of been to her just having a baby and not getting rid of the baby weight or she was bloated. so she might not of been pregnant.

2#
Or she might of had the the rubber nipple with her because she was very pregnant and didn't have a baby yet. She could of been afraid that she might go into labor or was planing on having her child in England and so wasn't traveling with the baby. She might also have started collecting her baby things against the child coming and only took the things from her cabin that she could carry easily. She might of had a bag of baby clothes and her own that got lost in the sinking? Just some theories.
 

Bob Godfrey

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A 'keeper' was a tight-fitting ring which served to prevent another, more valuable ring (usually a wedding ring) from slipping off the finger.
 

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