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Mr. Owen Slavin, Trimmer

Owen Slavin was a trimmer who survived the Lusitania disaster. He had so seriously injured his left arm that it had to be amputated by Dr. Silvio de Vescovi aboard the rescue vessel Westborough (Katrina). Slavin was from Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Shortly after the “first torpedo” hit Lusitania, Slavin was hit by a falling object on the arm and knocked down. He found himself in the water and was picked up by a lifeboat. The Cork Free Press of 10 May 1915 tells this story of “one man” which may or may not be Slavin’s: When the ship was sinking, he was at his station trying to lower a lifeboat full of passengers. They worked at the falls for “twenty-five minutes to no avail” and the ship went under from beneath them. He recalled no explosion as the ship sank. He regained consciousness at the surface and seeing an upturned boat, he grabbed onto the keel with his right hand. In preparing his left hand to hoist himself up, he realized that his left arm was gone. He had felt no pain and had not been aware of anything happening to his missing arm. He was taken aboard the boat where his arm was bound up and fastened with a rope to stop the bleeding. Slavin’s lifeboat was picked up by the Westborough (Katrina). Dr. de Vescovi had only a penknife to amputate Slavin’s arm. At Queenstown, Slavin was taken to South Infirmary where he was housed with fellow survivor Patrick Reynolds of Liverpool, England. Contributors: Senan Molony, Ireland References: “Injured Survivors: Irishman Loses His Arm.” Cork Examiner, 12 May 1915, p. 6. Cork Free Press, 10 May 1915, p. 7. “Arm Amputated With a Penknife.” Irish Times, 10 May 1915, p. 8. Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, p. 89-90. Mercier Press, 2004.

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