Mr. Paul Crompton

Paul Crompton, 44, was an Englishman returning home to England. He was the Vice President of Surpass Leather Company at St. Martin’s and Hartwell Lanes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Crompton was also a partner in the firm of Alfred Booth and Company, as the Surpass Leather Company was part of the Booth Group. Paul Crompton was traveling aboard Lusitania with his wife Gladys, 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.

Family and background

Paul Crompton was born 20 August 1871, the son of barrister-at-law Henry Crompton and Lucy Romilly. Paul had a younger brother, David, born in 1873. Henry Crompton was the son of Justice Sir Charles Crompton, and Lucy Romilly was the daughter of Sir John, First Lord Romilly. Sir Charles Crompton was first cousin of Alfred and Charles Booth of the Booth Group, a trading conglomerate that started with the Booth Steamship Company. Lucy's brother the Honourable Henry Romilly, joined as partner of the Booth Group in 1870. Paul married Gladys Mary Salis-Schwabe (born 3 February 1878) on 27 October 1900 in Chelsea, London, England, United Kingdom. In 1902, Paul Crompton worked for the Booth Group in China working on raw materials. Paul and Gladys traveled frequently, and their children were born in different places around the world. Stephen Hugh Crompton was born in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East in 1901. Alberta Crompton was born in South America in 1903. Catherine was born in London, England around 1905. Paul Romilly Crompton, who went by Romilly, was born in 1904 in Philadelphia. John David Crompton was born in Philadelphia in 1909. The youngest, Peter Romilly Crompton was born in Philadelphia in 1914.


In January 1906, George Booth returned to the United Kingdom and turned over the American management of the Booth Group to Paul Crompton, Clement W. Jones and Franklyn B. Kirkbride. Booth had appointed Kirkbride as manager of American interests in August 1905, but he was succeeded by Crompton and Jones. In 1907, the Booth Group bought out Philadephia tanner J.P. Mathieus' share in Surpass Leather Goods. Start on 1 January, Paul Crompton took over from Mathieu as vice-president and general manager of Surpass.


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 while the children were split up between cabins D-58 and D-60. The children's nanny, Dorothy Allen, stayed in cabin B-60. The Crompton family had been so loud that their neighbor, Theodate Pope in D-54, requested to be moved to another cabin. 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 [Alberta], 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.
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. Paul's brother David took over Paul's Booth Group interests in the United States after Paul's death.

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. <>. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <> "Lucy Henrietta Romilly."  Web. 4 August 2011.  <>. Redwood, Mike.  "The Booth Group."  Mike Redwood.  Web.  4 August 2011.  <>.

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