The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Charles Alfred Learoyd (Mabel Kate Symonds)

Mrs. Charles Alfred Learoyd (Mabel Kate Symonds)

Mabel Learoyd (née Symonds), 41, was the wife of Charles Learoyd.  They were traveling aboard Lusitania with their maid, Margaret Hurley. The Learoyds’ cabin on the Lusitania was D-57 and their ticket was 46123. Miss Hurley traveled on a separate ticket and stayed on B deck. Mabel and Margaret survived the Lusitania sinking of 7 May 1915, Charles did not.

Prior to the Lusitania, the Learoyds and their maid Margaret had arrived in North America via the ship Niagara, which docked in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 10 April 1915.

The following is an excerpt from Mabel’s testimony, given on 16 June 1915, as she was examined by the Solicitor-General at the Mersey Inquiry:

1052
(Solicitor-General):  I think you with your husband, the late Mr. Charles Alfred Learoyd were on your way from Australia via Canada to this country and were passengers upon the Lusitania?
(Mabel Learoyd):  That is so

1053
(Solicitor-General):  Do you remember the day, Friday the 7th of May, when the ship was struck?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes

1054
(Solicitor-General):  I think in fact, that you were in your cabin lying down after lunch?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes

1055
(Solicitor-General):  Now will you tell my Lord and the court what observations you made after that — what happened next?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Do you mean what happened to me personally, or what I heard or saw?

1056
(Solicitor-General):  What happened to you personally.
(Mabel Learoyd):  Not being fully dressed I gathered a few things together which took two or three minutes and then went up with my husband on deck, and when we reached the top deck (our cabin was on D deck) we realized that we had come without our lifebelts and returned for them, and our return to the deck, the staircase was very difficult to ascend as the list was becoming very marked.  I do not know whether this is the sort of thing you want.

1057
(Solicitor-General):  I want you to tell us just what happened to you then.  What did you hear that first showed you that something unusual was happening?
(Mabel Learoyd):  I was lying down and I heard a crash, and there was no doubt in my mind, or my husband’s mind what had happened.

1058
(Solicitor-General):  You had heard talk of submarines and you were sure this was a submarine?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes.

1059
(Solicitor-General):  Then you described how you went up the staircase on to the deck. Had you any assistance from anyone?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes. On the second occassion when we went up on deck it was so difficult to mount the staircase, that we thought as we took three steps we might fall four back, and a steward certainly helped us by pushing us up on to the top deck, and I should like to say that their behaviour was most excellent and self-sacrificing.

. . .

1062
(Solicitor-General):  After you went back will you tell all that you saw then.  First of all, did you notice anything  about the port holes?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes. Our cabin being on the same deck as the dining room, on passing out on the second occasion, I saw water streaming into the dining-room. I thought to myself that it was through the portholes, as it was in a sort of jet of water coming down, not in any large quantity, but as if it was pouring through a hole.

. . .

1065
(Solicitor-General):  Then what did you do next?
(Mabel Learoyd):  We then went on deck, and the list was so marked by that time that we had to hold on by a brass ring and decide what we should do, what boat we should go to, whether we should wait, and we decided to wait for a few minutes. We felt quite calm about it.

. . .

1073
(Solicitor-General):  Then I want you to come to your own boat, which I think was the third. Can you describe where abouts it was. It was on the starboard side, was it not?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes; it was on the starboard side, somewhere about amidships; more than that I cannot say.

1074
(Solicitor-General):  What happened to you. You got into the boat?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes; but the list was so strong that we could not walk down.  We had to sort of rush down, clinging to the railing, which at that time was nearly under water, I should say, and sort of tumble into the boat, assisted by passengers and seamen.  We no sooner got into the boat than it was lowered with another boat on top of us [note:  most likely 7 and 9, or 3 and a collapsible], and a funnel fell on us.

1075
(Solicitor-General):  Do you mean it really actually fell on to you?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Well, directly, we got into the boat we were aware of another ship’s boat being lowered on to us, and a broken funnel may have on to that boat or was falling at the same time.

1076
(Solicitor-General):  You did get away at any rate?
(Mabel Learoyd):  No, we did not get clear; we had just got into the boat as this happened.

1077
(Solicitor-General):  The  boat that was being lowered on top of you was not lowered so far as to actually fall upon your boat?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes, it was the cause of our boat going down.

1078
(Solicitor-General):  It actually struck your boat?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Yes it actually struck our boat, and turned our boat over, and we went down under the water.

1079
(Solicitor-General):  And do you remember what happened to you after that?
(Mabel Learoyd):  Well, I was in the water.  I had a lifebelt on and I was underneath for a few seconds and then I came to the surface again, and I thought I was in the water about a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, but when I was picked up by some stewards who where on an upturned boat, I asked them to look around to see if they could possibly see my husband in the water.  I said I had only been a few minutes in the water.  One of them said, “oh, I think you have been longer than that as it is now by my watch after 3 o’clock and the ship went down about a quarter past two.”

1080
(Solicitor-General):  And I think you never saw your husband again?
(Mabel Learoyd):  I never saw him again.

Elisabeth Lassetter, a friend from Sydney, said that she thought she had seen Mr. Learoyd lying on a piece of wreckage, but as he didn’t respond, she concluded he was dead.

Contributors:
Jim Kalafus
Michael Poirier

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