The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. William Samuel Pye (Charlotte Lillian)

Mrs. William Samuel Pye (Charlotte Lillian)

Charlotte Pye Second Cabin Passenger Saved
[No Picture Provided]
Born c. 1887
Died 18 January 1971 (age 84) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Age on Lusitania 28
Traveling with Marjorie Pye (daughter)
Lifeboat overturned boat
Rescued by Flying Fish
Citizenship British (Canada)
Residence Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Other names - Charlotte Bergen - Charlotte Kelly
Spouse(s) - William Pye (? - ?) - ? Bergen (? - ?) - ? Kelly (? - ?) Please provide names and dates
Charlotte Pye, 28, was a British citizen and mother traveling aboard Lusitania with her 18-month old daughter, Marjorie.  They were from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Charlotte survived the sinking.  Marjorie did not.  Three men pulled Charlotte aboard an overturned boat.  She was saved by the Flying Fish. In the spring of 1915, Charlotte Pye was on her way to the United Kingdom for an extended visit to her parents’.  Her husband, William, stayed behind in Edmonton to run the family tailoring business, the Pan-Co-Vesta Pantorium. Charlotte Pye had been, along with Phoebe Amory, one of the volunteers selling programs for the Seamen’s Charities Benefit concert in the saloon (first class) lounge and music room on Thursday night, 6 May. On the day of the Lusitania disaster, 7 May 1915, Charlotte and Marjorie were at lunch when the torpedo struck.  A few minutes prior, Charlotte had been telling the woman sitting across from her how Charlotte intended to stay on deck all night until they reached Liverpool, for fear that something might happen.  Her table companion remarked, “They [the Germans] daren’t do any such thing” and the torpedo struck. Everyone in the dining room stood up.  Her friend shouted, “she’s going down!” Charlotte picked up Marjorie and made her way to the boat deck.  The ship’s list to starboard was so severe that she was having difficulty walking.  She banged her head several times trying to navigate the large ship but managed to hold on to her baby.  All around her she saw “poor women” running about the deck. Charlotte did not have a lifebelt and was fortunate to meet a gentleman who took off his and strapped it around Charlotte and Marjorie.  When time came for Charlotte and Marjorie to board a lifeboat, Marjorie was taken and handed into the lifeboat first.  Charlotte followed.  She felt that she had hardly gotten into the boat when she saw the Lusitania leaning over and threatening to fall on top of them, with people on deck jumping onto the lifeboat for their lives.  The lifeboat upset as a result and everyone was thrown into the water. Marjorie screamed and Charlotte and the baby were sucked under the water together.  The force of the suction ripped Marjorie out of Charlotte’s arms.  Charlotte recalled, “I shall never forget the agony of it: while I was under the water I felt my end had come.” Charlotte surfaced but was dragged under again and lost consciousness.  When she came to, she was floating amongst flotsam and jetsam of where the ship once was.  She clung onto wreckage until three men pulled her on top of an overturned boat.  On one side, Charlotte saw a woman who was lying dead.  All around, she saw bodies in the water of people “who only a few hours before had been bright and happy.” Charlotte was rescued by the Flying Fish, which took her and other fellow survivors to Queenstown before she continued on to England. Searchers in Queenstown eventually found Marjorie’s body, #239.  Marjorie was buried in Private Grave #545, row 17.  Sharing Marjorie’s coffin is an unidentified female baby, body #240, 12 to 18 months old. Devastated by the loss of Marjorie, Charlotte coped by dedicating herself to the War Effort.  She appeared as a speaker and a symbol at many recruitment rallies.  A film in which she appears has survived. In 1926, Charlotte was awarded the sum of $3,265.00 in the Canadian courts for her injuries and losses from the Lusitania sinking.  At that time, she was known as Charlotte Bergen. Late in her life, she granted an extended audio interview where she related her experiences from the Lusitania disaster.  At that time, she was known as Charlotte Kelly.  Charlotte Kelly died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on 18 January 1971, aged 84.

Links of Interest

Encyclopedia Titanica:  Lest We Forget - Part 1
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Michael Poirier, USA Judith Tavares References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.  Pages 161, 187, 215, 244, 286. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <> Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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