Lady Hugh Montagu Allan (Marguerite Ethel MacKenzie)

Marguerite, Lady Allan
Saloon Passenger
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Marguerite, Lady Allan
Image:  Daily Mirror, May 1915. Courtesy Jim Kalafus.
Born Marguerite Ethel MacKenzie
c. 1873
Died 6 or 9 September 1957 (age 84 ?)
Age on Lusitania 42
Ticket number 12933
Cabin number B 47, 49 (regal suite and bath)
Traveling with - Anna Allan (daughter)
- Gwendolyn Allan (daughter)
- Emily Davis (maid)
- Annie Walker (maid)
Lifeboat 22 A?
Rescued by Westborough (Katrina)
Citizenship British (Canada)
Residence Montréal, Québec, Canada
Other name(s) None
Spouse(s) Sir Hugh Montagu Allan (1893 – 1951, his death)

Marguerite, Lady Allan (1873 ? – 1957), 42, was from Montréal, Québec, Canada. She was traveling on board Lusitania with her daughters Anna and Gwendolyn and her maids Emily Davis and Annie Walker. The Allans were in the lounge when the torpedo struck Lusitania. They stayed together on the port side boat deck when the ship sank from beneath them. Marguerite and the maids survived, but Anna and Gwendolyn were lost. Gwen’s body was recovered, but Anna’s was not.

Life


Lady Allan was born as Marguerite Ethel Mackenzie and married Sir Hugh Montagu Allan (13 October 1860 – 26 September 1951), one of the managing directors of the Allan Line of steamships, on 18 Oct 1893.  Their first-born was a daughter, Marguerite Martha, born in 1895.  Their only son, Hugh, named after his father and grandfather before him, followed quickly thereafter.  Anna Marjory was born to the Allans on 8 November 1898.  Another daughter, Gwendolyn Evelyn, was born on 20 April 1900.

Lusitania


Prominent in Montréal society, Marguerite was sailing on the Lusitania with Anna, 16, and Gwen, 15, to be reunited with family.  Also traveling with them were maids Emily Davis and Annie Walker, 30.  During the voyage, Lady Allan was seen playing cards in the smoking room with Sir Hugh Lane and Dr. Fred Pearson.

Aboard the Lusitania‘s last voyage, the Allans traveled on the same ticket, 12933. Lady Allan and her daughters stayed in regal suite B-47, 49. B-47 was Lady Allan’s own room. Annie Walker and Emily Davis stayed in a separate cabin, B-79.

For their meals, Lady Allan and her daughters shared a table in the dining room with Frederick Orr-Lewis, Frances Stephens, Dorothy Braithwaite, and William Robert Grattan Holt. Frederick Orr-Lewis’ valet, George Slingsby, often entertained the Allan girls.

On the day of the disaster, 7 May 1915, the group had finished lunch and was in the lounge drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes when the torpedo struck the ship. According to Orr-Lewis, they “rushed out on deck at once”. Orr-Lewis made sure the group stayed together and had lifebelts on. George Slingsby met up with them, as did Lady Allan’s maids, one of them bringing two lifebelts. Slingsby gave Lady Allan his lifebelt, even though he did not know how to swim. They did not know what to do as the port side lifeboats were not lowered successfully, so they waited on the port side of the boat deck, until the ship suddenly plunged and sank from beneath them.

Marguerite jumped into the water with her daughters and Sir Frederick after “saying that they would die together” (Hoehling/Hoehling, 210). When the water enveloped them, Orr-Lewis was holding Gwen’s hand, Lady Allan was holding Anna’s, Lady Allan’s maids Annie Walker and Emily Davis were with them, and Frances Stephens was holding onto her grandson John. Dorothy Braithwaite was last seen around lifeboat #14 and somehow separated from them.

Lady Allan’s collarbone was broken and her back was injured in the disaster. It was previously suggested that a falling mast had broken her collarbone, but this is unlikely presuming that Lady Allan was on the portside of the ship, whereas the mast fell to starboard. Preston mentions, however, that the force of the second explosion had thrown Lady Allan against a rail and that might have caused the fracture.

Lady Allan was picked up by the Katrina (the SS Westborough in disguise). Fireman John O’Connell helped her aboard the rescue vessel. She said to him, “I like you. What for, I don’t know.”

While on board Katrina, she was given restoratives by Dr. Silvio de Vescovi.

She was later taken to a hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Lady Allan and her maids survived, but both of her daughters died. Initially she had receive erroneous information that her daughters had survived, as reported in The New York Times on 10 May 1915:

“I am much too upset to talk,” she said. “It is a most terrible thing to look back on those scenes. How we escaped at all in the short time we had is amazing. I don’t know yet how I happened to find myself in a boat. After being pulled from the water my first thought was of my daughters, who were picked up by other boats. I was nearly distracted until I found them at Queenstown all safe.

“The Germans must have intended to drown us all.”

Unfortunately for Lady Allan, news that her daughters were safe was wrong. Gwen’s body, #218, was recovered by May 16 and sent back to Canada and buried in Montréal’s Mount Royal Cemetery. Anna’s body was never found.

Later life


Sir and Lady Allan later lost their son Hugh in 1917 when he was flying over German lines. Their only surviving daughter, Marguerite Martha, died in 1942.

Lady Allan introduced fellow survivor Rita Jolivet to her husband’s cousin, Captain James Bryce-Allan. Rita and James were married on 26 April 1928 at the Church of Scotland in Paris, France.

Sir Montagu Allan passed away on 26 September 1951. Lady Marguerite Allan passed away on 9 or 6 September 1957. They both outlived all four of their children.

Editor’s note: While Lady Allan is sometimes referred to as “Lady Marguerite Allan” (see Preston, 2002) the proper stylization of the name and title should be “Marguerite, Lady Allan” or “Lady Marguerite” but not combined as “Lady Marguerite Allan.” The title -> first name -> last name combination only follows for men, as in “Sir Hugh Montagu Allan.” Likewise, Margaret Mackworth would be properly addressed as “Margaret, Lady Mackworth” or “Lady Margaret,” but not “Lady Margaret Mackworth.”

Contributors:
Randy Bryan Bigham
Jim Kalafus, USA
Michael Poirier, USA
Judith Tavares
Hildo Thiel, The Netherlands

References:
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.

“Attack Liner’s Handling: Passengers Ask Why She Didn’t Change Course and Run at Top Speed.” New York Times. Monday, 10 May 1915. Web. 6 August 2011. <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A05E1D9123FE233A25753C1A9639C946496D6CF>.

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

2 Responses

  1. Le torpillage du Lusitania (7 mai 1915) | Patrimoine, Histoire et multimédia

    [...] mère, Lady Hugh Montagu Allan (Marguerite Ethel MacKenzie) a survécue. Emilie Davis et Annie Walker, leurs bonnes, ont aussi [...]

  2. JOHN Bravo
    JOHN Bravo 23 January 2012 at 00:32 · Reply

    Was there ever any belief that she or her husband were spiritualists?

    Was she related to longtime Canadian Prime William Mackenzie?

    webmaster@pocono.net

    thanks

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