“Mrs. Robert Matthews” (Annie)

Annie, whose true identity remains unknown, was the mistress of Lieutenant Robert Matthews, not his wife.  The real Mrs. Matthews, Martha Ellen, was in Canada with her and Robert's two daughters and did not sail on Lusitania.  Both Annie and Robert were lost in the Lusitania sinking. In 1914, Lieutenant Robert Matthews left his wife, two daughters, his labor bureau, and his commission as the militia lieutenant of the 60th Rifles of Canada to spend that winter on a farm with Annie in northern Manitoba. Not much is known about Annie, whose real last name and background has been lost to history.  Annie and Robert may have been sailing to England aboardLusitania either to enlist or to seek a new life in Robert’s home country.  Robert and Annie were registered on the passenger list as being from Winnipeg, Manitoba, perhaps considering the city to be a "better address" than Robert’s hometown of Moose Jaw (Bailey/Ryan, 112).  Annie was registered as his wife, which she was still not, as the actual Mrs. Matthews was at home with the kids Robert had left. Beginning with Colin Simpson, many researchers have made the mistake of naming Robert and Annie as Cameronia transfers.  Simpson says that Matthews and the Palmer family were transfers from the Queen Margaret.  The Queen Margaret was a cargo ship and not a passenger liner, and the transfer from the Queen Margaret never happened.  Knowing this error, subsequent researchers have made the mistake of naming the Matthewses and the Palmers as Cameronia transfers, which was requisitioned the morning Lusitania sailed.  Robert and Annie had always intended to be Lusitania passengers. Aboard Lusitania, Annie won the second place prize for the potato race on the afternoon of 4 May.  She was awarded a badge which she then gave to Robert. Both Robert and Annie died in the sinking of the Lusitania.  Robert's body was recovered by the Heron, and was body #1 recovered by Kinsale.  Inside his pocket was Annie's badge.  His body was then requested by the military and buried in Cork on 10 May. In Simpson, Robert Matthews is erroneously listed as part of a contingent of Canadian troops transferred from the Cameronia, but a look at the Cameronia transfer list shows mostly couples and families, not organized troops.  Furthermore, Simpson makes the claim that the badge found on Robert’s body was a military badge, which it was not, as it was Annie’s prize badge for the potato race. Contributors: Philip Fazzini Paul Latimer Judith Tavares Hildo Thiel References: Bailey, Thomas A. and Paul B. Ryan.  The Lusitania Disaster:  An Episode in Modern Warfare and Diplomacy.  The Free Press, 1975. Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002. Simpson, Colin.  The Lusitania.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1972.

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