The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Henry “Harry” Beauchamp Lassetter (Elisabeth Anne Antill)

Mrs. Henry “Harry” Beauchamp Lassetter (Elisabeth Anne Antill)

Elisabeth Lassetter Saloon Passenger Saved
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Born Elisabeth Anne Antill 30 July 1871 Jarvisfield, Picton, New South Wales, Australia
Died 29 March 1927 (age 55) Jarvisfield, Picton, New South Wales, Australia
Age on Lusitania 43
Ticket number 46107
Cabin number A 4
Traveling with - Frederic Lassetter (son) - Harold Boulton (friend)
Lifeboat None, used wreckage (box)
Rescued by Westborough (Katrina)
Occupation Housewife
Citizenship British (Australia)
Residence Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Spouse(s) Henry "Harry" Beauchamp Lassetter (1891 - 1926, his death)
Elisabeth Lassetter (1871 - 1927), 43, was the wife of Colonel and later Major General and Brigadier-General Harry Beauchamp Lassetter of the Second Australian Light Horse Brigade. She was traveling with her son Frederic Lassetter aboard Lusitania after visiting family in Los Angeles, California, United States. Fred's Oxford classmate Harold Boulton was also on board. Elisabeth was at lunch when the Lusitania was torpedoed. Her son found her, and they, with Harold Boulton, were on the port side, where passengers were told to get out of the lifeboats. Fred, Elisabeth, and Harold all jumped into the sea instead and used flotsam for flotation. All three of them survived and were rescued by the Westborough (Katrina).

Early life


Elisabeth Anne Antill was born 30 July 1871 in Jarvisfield, Picton, New South Wales, Australia, to John Macquarie Antill (31 May 1822 - June 1900) and Jesse Hassal Campbell (28 March 1834 - 7 February 1917). John and Jessie had 11 children, of which Elisabeth was second youngest. Her brother John Macquarie Antill (26 January 1866 – 1 March 1937) would later become a senior Australian Army officer in World War I, where he led a charge on the Turkish lines in the Gallipoli Campaign. On 19 August 1891 Elisabeth married Colonel, and later Major General, Henry "Harry" Beauchamp Lassetter (19 March 1860 - 17 February 1926). Before the First World War began, her husband was a Colonel in command of the Second Australian Light Horse Brigade. Their only son, Frederic, was born the next year on Elisabeth's birthday, 30 July 1892. At the time they were in Woollahra, a suburb of Sydney. The Lassetters continued to live in Australia. The Lassetters sent their son Fred to school at Oxford, where he met friend Harold Boulton. World War I broke out in August 1914, and being of military background, Frederic became an officer in a Scottish regiment, in the King's Own Light Infantry.  He was wounded in September 1914 in Flanders and took a three-month leave to recover. During Fred's leave, Elisabeth and Fred went to go visit relatives in Los Angeles, California, United States. Mother and son were traveling from opposite ends of the world. Fred would be leaving from Europe. Elisabeth and Harry would be leaving from Australia aboard the ship Marama, which arrived in San Francisco, California, on 21 April 1915. Mother and son would be returning to England via Lusitania on 1 May 1915. Harry would not be accompanying them, but Fred's Oxford classmate Harold Boulton was also on board, as was their friend, Commander J. Foster Stackhouse.

Lusitania


Elisabeth was very protective of her jewels. After reading the warning the German Embassy issued the morning Lusitania left New York, she was determined to save them and carried them with her everywhere all through the voyage. When the German submarine U-20 torpedoed Lusitania on 7 May 1915, Elisabeth was at lunch and thought it was a "dull, far off knock." At that moment, and for the first time during the whole voyage, she forgot about her jewels and left the dining room. Margaret, Lady Mackworth, hearing of Elisabeth's story remarked in her autobiography This Was My World, "I suppose they[, the jewels,] are on that luncheon table still." Frederic found her and after finding lifebelts, they went up on deck.  There they saw Commander Stackhouse give his lifebelt to a little girl and assist with loading the lifeboats.  He was explaining to those he helped that he could not join them because "There are others who must go first." Harold Boulton met up with the Lassetters on deck.  Boulton and the young Lieutenant helped Elisabeth into a port side lifeboat.  The following is Elisabeth Lassetter's testimony at the Mersey Inquiry:
1940 (Q):  Did you hear any order given after you were in the boat? (A):  Quite distinctly I heard the order. We were in the first boat on the portside next to the Captain's bridge; I do not know what the number of the boat was.  [Note:  according to the deck plan, this would have been lifeboat #2]1941 (Q):  What order did you hear given? (A):  I heard him first give the order (he was on the bridge at the time); "All women and children into boats," and it was because of that order that we got into the boat, and directly I got into the boat I heard the order:  "All women and children out of the boats." 1942 (Q):  What happened then? (A):  My son got me out of the boat. 1943 (Q):  And all the others as well? (A):  All the others got out of the boat. 1944 (Q):  What happened to you then? (A):  I then asked my son what he thought was the best thing to do, and I also spoke to Commander Stackhouse who was standing by us, and he did not answer.  My son saw she was sinking very quickly and I think we were the last to leave the ship, and he and Mr. Bolton and I clasped hands, jumped into the water.
Boulton instructed a nervous Elisabeth to remove her skirt.  Harold, Elisabeth, and Frederic, in that order, held hands and jumped about 90 feet into the ocean.  Frederick and Elisabeth bobbed up next to each other in the swirling water and held onto some flotsam.  They next saw Harold Boulton not far away, floating on "a square box about 4 feet 6 inches."  This box may have been a box used to store lifebelts on deck, but it was later sensationally reported to be "the saloon grand piano of the Lusitania".  Lassetter and Boulton managed to get Elisabeth onto the box even though she was knocked over by the waves a number of times.  The men put Elisabeth in the center and linked arms to hold her up. Elisabeth thought she had seen Charles Learoyd lying on a piece of wreckage, but as he didn't respond, she concluded he was dead. The three rode the waves on their box for three hours before being picked up by the "Greek" Katrina, actually the SS Westborough in disguise.

Recovery


Major General Lassetter went to Ireland to collect Frederick and Elisabeth upon hearing news of the Lusitania's demise. Elisabeth and Frederic, with Major General Lassetter, when to London to recover. There, Elisabeth ran into fellow saloon passenger and survivor Dorothy Conner at Bradley’s store. Dorothy noticed that Elisabeth looked ten years older than when Dorothy had seen her last aboard Lusitania.

Later life


Harry and Elisabeth lived out the rest of their lives around Sydney, Australia. Brigadier-General Harry Lassetter predeceased Elisabeth on 17 February 1926 in Sydney at age 66. After Harry's death, Elisabeth moved back to her hometown of Picton, where she passed a year later on 29 March 1927, a Tuesday, at age 55. Her funeral was in Jarvisfield, Picton, at 2 p.m. 31 March 1927 and she was interred in the family vault at Jarvisfield. The Antill family home of Jarvisfield still exists today as the clubhouse of the Antill Park Country golf club in Picton. Her son Fred and his wife Nancy moved to England and still have living descendants today.

Links of interest


Antill Park Country Golf Club
Contributors: Jim Kalafus Paul Latimer Michael Poirier Judith Tavares Hildo Thiel References: "Chapter 11." Hassall Family Website: Hassall of Australia. Web. 19 July 2011. <http://www.hassall.org/book/Chap11.html>. Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. The New York Times, Tuesday, 11 May 1915, page 2 'Lassetter, Elizabeth Ann (1871–1927)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, <http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/lassetter-elizabeth-ann-13548/text24267>, accessed 19 July 2011. Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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