Mr. Frederic John Gauntlett

Frederic Gauntlett
Saloon Passenger
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Frederic Gauntlett
image credit:  US National Archives/Michael Poirier.
Born Frederic John Gauntlett
1 January 1870
Knightsbridge, London, England, United Kingdom
Died 1951 (age 81)
United States
Age on Lusitania 45
Ticket number 46090
Cabin number B 30
Traveling with Albert Hopkins (colleague)
Samuel Knox (colleague)
Lifeboat Collapsible
Rescued by Wanderer (Peel 12)
Flying Fish
Occupation Businessman (shipbuilder)
Citizenship United States
Residence Washington, D.C., United States
Spouse(s) Fannie Russell “Georgie” Miles (1893 – 1948, her death)

Frederic Gauntlett (1870 – 1951), 45, was a shipbuilder traveling on the Lusitania for business with Albert Hopkins and Samuel Knox.  Gauntlett worked with worked for Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock. Gauntlett was a naturalized United States citizen and native of England. Gauntlett and Knox survived the disaster, Hopkins did not.

Life


Fred Gauntlett was born in London, England, on 1 January 1870, the son of Charles Gauntlett (1832 – 1904) of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and Georgina Bailey Davis (1839 – 1922) of Devon.

Fred emigrated to the United States aboard the ship Aller, which departed Southampton, England for the United States on 14 September 1887.  He had lived in the United States since then and became a naturalized US citizen on 3 October 1893 at the Kings County courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.

On 10 June 1893, Gauntlett married Fannie Russell “Georgie” Miles (1867 – 1948) in Brooklyn, New York. They had one daughter, Dorothy Elma Gauntlett.

In 1895, Gauntlett met Albert Hopkins, and they remained friends until Hopkins’s death 20 on the Lusitania years later.  Gauntlett’s permanent residence was in Washington, D.C.  In the spring of 1915, Gauntlett was traveling to England and the Netherlands for one month for business, as he worked for Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock.  Gauntlett’s passport application was witnessed by Albert Hopkins on 20 April 1915, eleven days before they sailed aboard Lusitania.

Lusitania


Aboard Lusitania, Gauntlett’s ticket was 46090 and he stayed in cabin B-30.

The following is his account from The Daily Missoulian, Sunday, 9 May 1915:

Cork, May 8 — “From the day we sailed, we complacently spoke of the possibilities of the German menace, but no one believed it, for we scorned the idea of being torpedoed.” said F. J. Gauntlett of Washington, who was traveling with A. L. Hopkins — among the missing — and S. M. Knox of Philadelphia, who was saved.”A number of us were going over on business.  It was shortly after 2 — probably 10 minutes past — and I was lingering in the dining room saloon chatting with my friends when the first explosion occured.  We knew at once what had happened.  Shortly the ship listed perceptibly.  I shouted to the others to close the ports.  Some of us went to our berths and put on life belts.

Didn’t Think She Was Sinking

“On making our way to the decks we were informed that there was no danger and we need not be alarmed, but the ship was gradually sinking deeper into the water and efforts were made to launch the boats.

“Fifty or more people entered the first boat and as it swung from the davits it fell suddenly.  I think most of the occupants perished.  Other boats were launched with the greatest of difficulty.

“Swinging free from one of them as it descended, I struck out, swimming strongly and steadily, for a piece of wreckage, which I observed.  On reaching it I found it was one of the collapsible boats, but I had to rip the canvas with a knife before I could get it open.  Another passenger climbed into it, and between us we were able to get about 30 people out of the water.  While we were thus engaged, I noticed that the Lusitania was gradually sinking.

Engulfed On Decks

“Women and children under the protection of the men had clustered in line on the port side, and as the ship made her plunge, down a little at the head and heeling at an angle of 90 degrees, this little army slid down toward the starboard side, dashing themselves against each other as they went, until they were engulfed.”

Mr. Gauntlett said he heard only one explosion and the whole tragedy was over in 20 minutes.

Gauntlett saw Charles Lauriat and Leslie Morton climb aboard a collapsible. Gauntlett called out to Lauriat and the men helped Gauntlett aboard. They later picked up Samuel KnoxJames Brooks, and many others before being picked up by the Wanderer (Peel 12).

Gauntlett lived to be 81 when he passed away in 1951.


Contributors
Cynthia G. (great-granddaughter of Frederic Gauntlett)
Zachary Schwarz

References
“Survivors Tell Lurid Tales of Torpedoing and Escape.”  The Daily Missoulian, Sunday, 9 May 1915, page 1.

Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.

Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

About the Author