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Mrs. Albert E. Adams (Gertrude Pollet)

Gertrude Adams, born Pollett, about 25 years of age, was the wife of Albert E. Adams, and together they had a daughter, Joan.  They were British by nationality and lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Gertude survived the Lusitania sinking, Joan did not. At the time of the Lusitania's last voyage, Albert had joined the Canadian army and was already serving in France.  He was a stretcher bearer with the 4th Battalion Central Ontario Regiment. Gertrude and Joan were returning to the UK to live with Gertrude's family in Bath (near Bristol in Gloucestershire), so that her husband could see her when he was on leave. According to Gertrude, when Lusitania was sinking, she saw Basil Wickings-Smith go below deck to find lifejackets and return, giving her his lifebelt.  Gertrude then jumped into the water clutching Joan in her arms.  In later accounts she stated remembering sinking to great depth and losing Joan.  When she came to the surface Joan was nowhere to be seen. Accounts closer to the time of the disaster indicate that mother and daughter surfaced together. Gertrude swam to a piece of wreckage and placed Joan on it; however, Joan soon succumbed to exposure, with Gertrude watching and powerless to do anything to help her daughter. She recounted, "my baby had passed away then and I felt I must kiss her goodbye.” Gertrude, First Senior Third Engineer Robert Henry Duncan, and several other people clung to a tank floating in the cold water for hours. One of the men capsized the tank and threw everybody into the water once more. Gertrude recounted that she jumped into the water at 2:25 p.m. and was not rescued by a boat until 5:50 p.m. By the time she was safely on board a trawler, she recalled that she was delirious and found herself in a bunk of a trawler. From Queenstown, Gertrude continued to her mother’s home in Bristol. Her husband Albert joined her there. She was one of the survivors who corresponded with the mother of victim Richard Preston Prichard telling of how she, Gertrude, had the knowledge of her child’s fate, unlike many other parents of Lusitania victims who would never know. Albert survived the war and, with Gertrude, moved to Australia with Gertrude's brother.  Her brother had left Bath in the early 1900s to work on the land in Australia.  As the manager of a cattle property on the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the Australian Army and served in a Cavalry Regiment but was very badly wounded.  He was too badly injured to return to farming, so he was compelled to work in an office, even though his heart always remained in the country with his horses. Gertrude and Albert went on to have another four children. Albert, Gertrude, and her brother have passed on in the years since, but they are remembered by their family as "wonderful people - very determined but gentle and fair - always ready for a joke or a smile. They were part of a great generation and I feel privileged and proud to have known them."

Links of interest

Encyclopedia Titanica: Lest We Forget - Part 1
Contributor: Hugh Thomson (grandnephew of Gertrude Adams) Jim Kalafus Michael Poirier References: Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <>

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