Master Stuart Duncan Day Pearl

Stuart Pearl (1910 - 1964), 5, was traveling aboard Lusitania with his parents, Warren and Amy Pearl, sisters Amy "Bunny", Susan, and Audrey, and nurses Alice Lines and Greta Lorenson. In the confusion following the torpedoing of the Lusitania, Stuart, Audrey, and Alice were separated from the rest of the family and saved by lifeboat 13 and the government patrol boat Stormcock. Stuart's parents were also saved, but sisters Amy and Susan and nurse Greta were lost. Stuart Duncan Day Pearl was born to Warren and Amy Pearl on 30 January 1910 in New York City. The family lived at 123 East 36th Street, New York City, New York, United States. He was soon joined by a younger sister, Amy, nicknamed Bunny, in 1912. In the spring of 1914, the Pearl family was vacationing through Europe, when another daughter, Susan, was born in London, England on 26 February 1914. There, they recruited Nurse Alice Lines. When war broke out in August, the Pearls were in Stockholm, Sweden and Warren secured passports for Petrograd, Russia (formerly St. Petersburg and later Leningrad) in hopes of applying his military experience there. Their plans had to change in Helsingfors, Denmark under threats of bombardment. As Stuart was getting to be the age where he was to start school, Warren left for England hoping to enroll Stuart at Eton. Pearl was returning to Denmark via Belgium when two German officers arrested him in Lübeck under suspicion for being an English spy. Amy demanded to see the American Consul and had Warren freed. Warren Pearl was released and ordered to leave for Copenhagen by steamer. In the absences of both Warren and Amy, Alice Lines had hired Danish girl Greta Lorenson to help look after the children. Amy was expecting another child and wanted it born in the United States. Another sister was born on 6 February 1915 in New York and christened Audrey Warren. In the spring of 1915, Warren was instructed to report to the American Embassy in London, England. Thus, the Pearl family booked passage on the Lusitania with their nurses. At the time, Amy was pregnant with a fifth child, a son that would be later named Vivian. The night before sailing they had a farewell dinner party in a private room at the Plaza Hotel. On the Lusitania, the Pearls’ staterooms were E 51, 59, and 67. Throughout the voyage Warren had drilled his wife and nurses with what to do in case of an emergency. On Friday, 7 May, Alice and Greta took Stuart, young Amy, and Susan to lunch in the nursery while Audrey stayed sleeping in Alice’s room. Just before 2 p.m., Alice returned downstairs to feed Audrey and took Stuart with her so that he could take a nap. Stuart was lying down and Alice was feeding Audrey when the torpedo hit. According to Hickey and Smith’s Seven Days to Disaster, Alice wrapped Audrey in a shawl and took Stuart by the hand, saying, “Come along, we won’t wait for anything.” In an interview with Malcolm Brown, Alice recalled that when the torpedo hit, Stuart cried out, “I don’t want to be drowned, I don’t want to be drowned”. Alice crossed over to him, saying, “Hang on to me what ever happens”, and he did. Alice, Greta, and the Pearls met up, put on their lifejackets, and went up top to the Boat Deck. According to the Malcolm Brown interview, they had climbed up one flight of stairs when they felt a second torpedo impact. At that point, Greta, who was ahead of Alice, called back, “What shall I do?” Alice answered, “You look after Bunny”. The ensuing crowd rushing out of the ship separated them. Alice had Stuart and Audrey with her and instructed Stuart to stay with her “no matter what happens”. In the Malcolm interview, Alice stated that she never saw Greta, Susan, and baby Amy again, but according to Hickey and Smith, Alice saw Greta once more with Susan, but young Amy was missing. Alice, alarmed, cried out, “What have you done with my baby?” “A stewardess took her to a lifeboat.” A visibly frightened Greta explained. “Oh, what are we to do?” “Don’t bother with anybody else.” Alice answered. “Just watch the children.” In Alice's testimony at the Mersey Inquiry, Alice stated that she, Stuart, and Audrey entered a lifeboat, most likely #13, without incident. Alice’s later recollections, however, were somewhat different. Alice claimed that she was blocked entry into a lifeboat, but a sailor forcibly snatched Stuart from her and placed her into the boat. Alice tried to follow, but she was held back. The boat started to lower, and with Audrey still tied to her, Alice made her way through and jumped for the boat – and missed. Screaming, she and Audrey landed in the water, but are later pulled into the boat by Alice’s long hair. Alice would later credit her hair for saving her life. According to Ballard and Dunmore, a Frenchman then made room for her to sit down and proposed to her. Admittedly, the latter account makes a better story, but in light of the previous testimony, it seems more likely that this story was a later embellishment. In Queenstown, Alice, Audrey, and Stuart were reunited Warren and his wife Amy, but not a trace of Greta, young Amy, or Susan could be found. Warren, Amy, and Alice attended the open sessions of the ensuing Mersey Inquiry. Afterwards, Alice and the surviving Pearl family recuperated in Suffolk. The Pearl family made London their permanent residence. As Stuart grew up, he continued to travel between England and the United States. He moved to the southwest United States, where the warmer and drier climate was better for his health. He eventually settled down in Phoenix, Arizona. Stuart Pearl died on 13 March 1964 in Litchfield Park, Arizona, at the age of 54. Contributors: Paul Latimer Michael Poirier Eric Sauder References: Minutes of Evidence as given at the Mersey Inquiry. Ballard, Dr. Robert D. with Spencer Dunmore. Exploring the Lusitania. Warner Books, Inc., 1995. Brown, Malcolm. The Imperial War Museum Book of The First World War: A Great Conflict Recalled in Previously Unpublished Letters, Diaries and Memoirs. Sidgwick and Jackson, 1991. Hickey, Des and Gus Smith. Seven Days to Disaster. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981.

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