Miss Alberta Crompton

Alberta Crompton (1903 - 1915), 12, was one of the daughters of Paul and Gladys Crompton. The family was returning home to England after living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Crompton party consisted of Paul and Gladys, their children Stephen, Alberta, Catherine, Paul (called Romilly), John, and Peter, and the children's nurse Dorothy Allen. The entire family and their nurse was lost in the Lusitania disaster on 7 May 1915.


Alberta Crompton was born in South America in 1903. Her father traveled much for his job with the Booth Group, explaining her birth so far from the family's native England. Her older brother, Stephen, had been born in Vladivostok, Russia, in 1901. A sister, Catherine was born in London, England around 1905. The three youngest brothers were born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Paul Romilly Crompton was born in 1904; John David Crompton was born in 1909; Peter Romilly Crompton was born in Philadelphia in 1914.


Paul Crompton was shipping sheepskin accouterments for the British Army aboard Lusitania's final voyage. The Crompton's ticket for the voyage was 46081. Paul and Gladys stayed in cabin D-56. Stephen, Alberta, and John stayed in D-58. Catherine, Romilly, and Peter stayed in D-60 with their nanny, Dorothy Allen. The Crompton family had been so loud that their neighbor, Theodate Pope in D-54, requested to be moved to another cabin. Alberta and Catherine, with Dorothy Allen, may have been the girls who accosted Able Seaman Leslie Morton while Morton was painting the lifeboats gray with “crab fat.” The girls asked Leslie what he was doing and then asked if they could help. “I hardly think this is a job for girls.” Leslie answered. Even so, the older girl took the rag Morton was using and slopped paint all over the lifeboat he was painting and her white dress. Morton was aghast at what she had just done. He then heard Boatswain John Davies approach. The older girl dropped the swab and ran off with her sister. Morton, not wanting to be yelled at by either the boatswain or the girls’ furious nanny, slid over the side and down one deck. Hickey and Smith (1981) attributes this episode to Anna and Gwen Allan, but Alberta and Catherine, not yet teenagers, may have been more liable to pull pranks. The entire Crompton family was lost in the Lusitania disaster when the German submarine U-20 torpedoed the ship on 7 May 1915. Dorothy Allen and two or three of the children may have been the nanny and children who Wallace Phillips saw rushing into the B deck foyer, shouting, "Torpedo!" as the torpedo was about to hit the ship. Samuel Knox saw the Cromptons during the disaster, relating later:
I saw Paul Crompton, of Chestnut Hill, with four of his little children. He was tying to fasten a belt around the smallest, a mere baby. One of his two older daughters, a girl of about 12, was having trouble with the belt she was trying to put on by herself. 'Please will you show me how to fix this?' she asked unconcernedly. I adjusted it, and she thanked me.
Alberta Crompton may have been the girl who Knox assisted. The bodies of Stephen, John, and Peter were recovered. All 6 children, their parents and nurse died. Per the list of interments, Master John Crompton was body #192, age 6 years, grave #482; Master Peter Crompton was body #214, age 9 months, grave #482; Mr. Stephen Crompton was body #134, age 17 years, grave #482. A picture of Mrs. Crompton and the children appeared in The New York Times, Sunday, 9 May 1915, page 6.

Links of interest

Paul Crompton at Biographies of Interesting People Encyclopedia Titanica:  Lest We Forget – Part 1
Contributors J.J. Heath-Caldwell Jim Kalafus Michael Poirier Mike Redwood Judith Tavares References Heath-Caldwell, J.J.  "Paul Crompton." Biographies of Interesting People.  Web. 4 August 2011. <http://www.jjhc.info/cromptonpaul1915.htm>. Hickey, Des and Gus Smith. Seven Days to Disaster. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget.html> "Lucy Henrietta Romilly."  ThePeerage.com.  Web. 4 August 2011.  <http://thepeerage.com/p20415.htm#i204145>. Redwood, Mike.  "The Booth Group."  Mike Redwood.  Web.  4 August 2011.  <http://www.mikeredwood.com/booth_group>.

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