Mr. M. Thomas Slidell

Thomas Slidell (c. 1874 - 1946), 41, was an American national and newspaper correspondent traveling with Alfred Vanderbilt. He was from New York City, New York, United States, where he lived at the Knickerbocker Club. Slidell's ticket number for Lusitania was 46127, and on board the ship he stayed in cabin E-41. During the Lusitania sinking, Slidell saw Vanderbilt give away his life belt. Slidell had been on Vanderbilt's yacht in 1907 when Lusitania made her maiden arrival in New York City. Aboard Lusitania's last voyage, Slidell, who was traveling with Vanderbilt, was acquainted with Charles Williamson, Millie BakerGeorge Kessler, and Edgar Gorer. Slidell would remember that the ship's funnels, instead of being in Cunard's trademark red-orange, were "giant gray tubes". The following is from Slidell's account in the 10 May 1915 New York Times:
"The torpedo hit the vessel almost amidships. A majority of those at luncheon in the saloon arose at once to go to their cabins for lifebelts and other things, but I do not think many of them ever reached the deck, for while they were in the lower part of the ship the second torpedo exploded, and I believe they were killed in the apartments downstairs or were rendered unconscious. "Those who were not killed must have suffered many minutes of agony, trying to fight their way up to the decks. The companionways were all askew, and in the corridors it was only possible to get along by wlaking in the angle fo the floor and the wall. "It took me a good many precious minutes to get from my cabin to the deck, and I saw others in worse plight. "I noticed then how few saloon passengers there were on deck. Somehow it seemed that when it came to rough and tumble flight they were too slow to realize their danger and seize their opportunity. The people who were saved and saved themselves were practical people and those who were physically fit. First-class passengers were also at the disadvantage that their families were scattered all over the vessel on one deck or another, and many lost their lives looking for others instead of seeking their own safety. "The people behaved admirably. As far as possible, the starboard boats were filled, but the time was terribly short, and every second the Lusitania, like a street of mansions shaken by an earthquake, was falling further and further over on her starboard side. It was impossible to fill boats to capacity. They had to be got away quickly, for the giant funnels of the vessel and her superstructure were coming down nearer and nearer to the water every instant. "A woman who had just taken her place in a boat looked up and saw those giant gray tubes lowering, and she cried out, 'The funnels, the funnels!' The cry and her fears were not without good reason, for the funnels were surely pressing many to death, inch by inch. "The ship slipped over and the davits fouled several boats which were not clear, as the monster lay for a moment almost on her side. "I had slid down a rope into the sea and I struck out, swimming away from the vessel, calling to others near to avoid the stern for fear the aerated water, caused by the churning screws, would prove a death trap, as it did to many. "When I had got clear, I turned to look at the 'Lucy' in her last agony. I think the engines must have stopped when she was hit, but, going as she is said to have been going, at nineteen knots, water pouring in on her starboard side gave her a pull that way, with the result that she traced a circle of foam on the sea before she sank. First she settled down slightly by the bows and lost speed. Then, quite slowly, but with increasing speed, she began to list till [sic, 'til] she lay over on her side and still with her nose well down in the water. "At last, when she was flat, or nearly so, she took another move and reared almost perpendicular, with her stern in the air, as the Titanic is said to have done before she plunged to the bottom."
An episode in Hickey and Smith (1981) relates how Slidell saw Vanderbilt give away his life belt. Contributors: Cliff Barry, UK Jim Kalafus, USA References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1982. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down ET Research. <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget-2.html> “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>.

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