Dr. Daniel Virgil Moore

Dr. Daniel Moore, 36, of Yankton, South Dakota, United States, was a surgeon by profession.  He was one of a party of American surgeons who had volunteered their services to the British War Office.  Moore recalled Lusitania zigzagging some time before the ship was torpedoed.  The lifeboat he entered, #14, as Lusitania was sinking was lowered safely but soon filled with water and capsized. He clung onto a keg in the water with Matthew Freeman and was rescued by Brock, aboard which he splinted the leg of Frank Hook.

Moore was a graduate of the Medical College of Crieghton University, Omaha, Nebraska, and also of Columbus Hospital, New York City.  Prior to 1915 he had for a number of years actively practiced his profession at Yankton, South Dakota.  Moore had a nephew named A. P. Miacek of Chicago.  His brother named E. E. Moore was general yardmaster for the Chicago Belt Railway.

The following is his account as printed in The Daily Missoulian on Tuesday, 11 May 1915:

SUBMARINES SEEN SPEEDING TWO MILES AWAY
American, With Glasses, Tells Story With Interesting Details of Sinking

Cork, May 10 — “Land had been in sight for three hours and was distinctly visible 12 miles away when we noticed about 1 p.m., that the steamer was steering in a zig-zag course towards the shore,” said Dr. Daniel Moore, of Yankton, S. D., in telling of his experiences on the Lusitania.

“Looking through glasses I could see on the port side, between us and the land, what appeared to be a black oblong object with four dome-like projections.  It seemed about two miles away.  This object came along swiftly at times, slowing down, disappearing and reappearing.

“The Lusitania was zig-zagging along at a speed of about 19 knots.  She had done 23 knots during some periods of the voyage.  Later she kept a more even course and we generally agreed that it was a friendly submarine we had seen.  No other vessel except one or two fishing boats were visible.

“At 1:40 o’clock, we sat down to luncheon in the second saloon.  Of course we talked about the curious object we had seen, but nobody seemed alarmed.  About 20 minutes later there was a muffled drum-like noise in the forward part of the boat.  The ship shivered, trembled, and almost immediately began to list to the starboard.  She had been struck on the starboard side.

More Than One.

“Unless the first submarine seen was speedy enough to run rings around the Lusitania, the torpedo must have come from a second submarine, which had been lying to starboard.  We heard no second explosion.

“There was great excitement among the passengers, of course, but the women soon were quiet, when assured there was no danger and the steamer had merely struck a small mine.  Many passengers left the saloon in an orderly fashion.  As soon as I reached the deck I had difficulty in walking, owing to the list of the vessel.

“I ran to the promenade decks, which was crowded.  I looked over the side, but could see no evidence of damage. I started to return to my cabin, but the list of the boat was so marked I abandoned the idea and remained on deck.

“Looking over the starboard rail I saw that water was now only 12 feet from the rail at one point.

“While searching for a lifebelt, I came upon a stewardess straggling with a pile of them in a rack and helped her put one on, afterward obtaining one myself.

Boatswain Old.

“The Lusitania now was on her side and sinking by the bow.  I saw a woman clinging to the rail near where a boat was being lowere[d].   I pushed her over the rail into the boat, afterward jumping down myself.  I[t] was a 12-foot drop.  The boat fell bodily into the sea but kept afloat although so heavily loaded [that] water was lapping in.  We bailed with our hats, but could not keep pace with the water and I realized we must soon sink.

“Seeing a keg, I threw it overboard and sprang after it.  A young steward named Freeman also used the keg as a support. Looking back, I saw the boat I had left swamped.  We clung to the keg for about an hour and a half and then were picked up by a raft.”

From the New York Times, Monday, 10 May 1915:

LONG BATTLE IN THE WATER
Surgeon’s Vivid Description of Death Cries of Drowning
Dr. DANIEL V. MOORE.  (Yankton, S.D.)
Special cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

QUEENSTOWN, May 8 — After the explosion quiet and order were soon accomplished by assurances from the stewards.  I proceeded to the deck promenade for oversvation and saw only that the ship was fast leaning to starboard.  I hurried toward my cabin below for a lifebelt and turned back because of the difficulty in keeping upright.  I struggled to D deck and forward to the first-class cabin, where I saw a Catholic priest.

I could find no belts and returned again toward E deck and saw a stewardess struggling to dislodge a belt.  I helped her with hers and secured one for myself.  I then rushed to D deck and noticed one woman perched on the gunwale, watching a lowering lifeboat ten feet away.  I pushed her down and into the boat, then jumped in.  The stern of the lifeboat continued to lower, but the bow stuck fast.  A stoker cut the bow ropes with a hatchet, and we dropped in a vertical position.

Rescues Girl Singer.

A girl whom we had heard sing at a concert was struggling and I caught her by the ankle and pulled her in.  A man I grasped by the shoulders and I landed him safe.  He was the barber of the first-class cabin, and more manly man I never met.  He showed his courage and will later on.

We pushed away hard to avoid the suck, but our boat was fast filling and we bailed fast with one bucket and the women’s hats.  The man with the bucket became exhausted and I relieved him. In a few mintues she was filled level full.  Then a keg floated up and I pitched it about ten feet away and followed it.  After reaching it I turned to see the fate of our boat.  She had capsized and covered many.  Now, a young steward, Freeman, by name, had approached me, clinging to a deck chair.  I urged him to grab the other side of the keg several times.  He grew faint, but harsh speaking roused him.  Once he said:  “I am going to go,” but I ridiculed this and it gave him strength.  By stroking with our legs we succeeded in reaching a raft.

Splints a Boy’s Leg.

We were in the water for about an hour and a half.  At this time I suffered from violent vomiting.  Then followed by appalling chills, but by beating myself I restored my energy and was soon handling an oar.  Freeman collapsed, but recovered after reaching the patrol boat Brock.  There were about twenty-three persons on the raft.  They worked nobly in picking five of us up after what seemed an eternity.

The good boat Brock and her splended officers and men took us aboard.  I went to the engine room and stripped to the skin.  Here and in the room above I cared for men and women as they were rescued.  Little ten-year-old Frank Hook had his left thigh bone fractured.  This I reduced and splinted, and in a short while Frank asked, “Is there a funny paper on the boat?”

Sardonic Smile of Death

At the scene of the catastrophe on the surface of the water seemed dotted with bodies.  Only a few of the lifeboats seemed to be doing any good.  The cries of “My God!” “Save us!” and “Help!” gradually grew weaker from all sides and finally a low weeping, wailing, inarticulate sound, mingled with coughing and gurgling made me heartsick.  I saw many men die.  Some appeared to be sleepy and worn out just before they went down, others grew gradually blue and an air of hunger gave their features a sardonic smile.

There was no suction when the ship settled.  She went down steadily and at the best possible angle.  The lifeboats were not in order and they were not manned.  Most of the people reushed to the upper decks.  I did not hear a second explosion.  There is no more horrible or pitiable sight possible than the sight of the faces of mothers and babies and girls here in the morgue.

Saved by Miracle.

Weighing all the facts soberly convinces me that it was only through the mercy of God that any one was saved.  I sailed from America that I might offer my services as a surgeon.  I have visited the Valley of Death and am heartsick.  My concern now is for my dear mother at Yankton.  The cable seems overburdened.  I could rest if I knew she knew I was safe.  After this escape it seems proper that I should return.  Is there any bounds to this modern vandalism?  Must the entire world be outraged before it raises a hand to rebuke and punish the most despicable trait observed in mankind?

Moore returned to the United States in June aboard the American Liner St. Paul. From his exposure in the water, Dr. Moore suffered a sinus infection, cardiac distress, and neuroses.  He was unable to practice medicine for eighteen months.

Moore filed a lawsuit against Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission and was awarded the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) with interest thereon at the rate of five per cent per annum from November 1, 1923, and the further sum of one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($1,250.00) with interest thereon at the rate of five per cent per annum from May 7, 1915.

Dr. Moore moved to Sioux City, Iowa, later in his life.

Related pages


Daniel V. Moore at the Mixed Claims Commission


Contributors:
Jim Kalafus
Michael Poirier
Judith Tavares

References:
Bailey, Thomas A. and Paul B. Ryan.  The Lusitania Disaster:  An Episode in Modern Warfare and Diplomacy.  The Free Press, 1975, page 322.

“Submarines Seen Speeding Two Miles Away.”  The Daily Missoulian, Tuesday, 11 May 1915.

Mixed Claims Commission, Docket No. 265, page 393.

“Long Battle in the Water.”  New York Times, Monday, 10 May 1915, page 3.

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