Mr. Alfred F. Smith

Alfred Smith was traveling aboard Lusitania with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Helen, son Hubert, sister Cecelia Owens, and nephews Ronald and Reginald Owens. Alfred, Elizabeth, Cecelia, and Hubert had been below decks when the torpedo struck, while Helen and the boys were playing on deck. The parents did not find their daughter and were lost in the Lusitania disaster.

Moving to the United States

Alfred F. Smith and Elizabeth A. Jones were from Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom.  In October 1908, their daughter Helen was born. Alfred, Elizabeth, and Helen moved to the United States in September 1909, moving in with Alfred’s brother Arthur Smith on Oliver Street in Yonkers, New York.  From there, the Smith family west to Ellwood City, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Ellwood City, Alfred found a job as an electrician.  In late 1914 in Elwood City, Helen gained a little brother named Hubert, named after her uncle, Hubert Owens.  Also settling in Ellwood City with the Smiths were Alfred’s sister Cecelia and her husband Hubert Owens, and their children, Ronald and Reginald Owens. By 1915, Elizabeth had become disillusioned with life in America, and Alfred and Elizabeth had decided to move the family back to Swansea.  The whole family would sail aboard Lusitania to return Wales. Cecelia, Ronald, and Reginald would also go to Swansea with the Smiths and then return to the United States, where Hubert Owens had stayed in Ellwood City.


In a letter sent from Lusitania right after her maiden voyage in September 1907, now in the scrapbook of the Arthur Smith family, the officer who wrote the letter invited Arthur to tour Lusitania.  The Smith family had a personal relationship with the Cunard Line, which may have played a part in the Smiths’ choice of sailing aboard Lusitania on what proved to be her fatal last crossing. Just after lunch on Friday, 7 May, the Smith family had returned to their cabin, and Elizabeth insisted that Helen change into traveling clothes. While Alfred and Elizabeth proceeded to pack, Helen left their cabin with Ronald and Reginald to play out on deck.  Baby Hubert was entrusted to Cecelia's care in her cabin. Cecelia allowed Ronald and Reginald to play until two, so at 2 p.m., the two brothers left Helen by herself on deck to report to their mother. The torpedo struck soon afterward at 2:10 p.m. Alfred and Elizabeth met up with Cecelia, who gave Hubert back to them, and proceeded to look for Helen, Ronald, and Reginald. Cecelia recalled seeing Elizabeth running around frantically, with her hair falling loose around her shoulders. The Smiths and Cecelia then parted ways to look for the missing children. At this time, Toronto newspaperman Ernest Cowper had seen Helen on deck by herself and took her to safety in lifeboat 13. But the Smiths would not have known that. Alfred, Elizabeth, and baby Hubert were lost in the Lusitania disaster. Their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.

Links of interest

Encyclopedia Titanica:  Lest We Forget – Part 1  
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Carol Keeler Peter Kelly, Ireland Mike Poirier, USA Judith Tavares References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster, pages 115, 178, 194, 227, 274.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1982. Hoehling, A.A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <> Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down ET Research. <> Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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