Reverend Herbert Linford Gwyer

Reverend Herbert Gwyer, 32, was a British citizen living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, traveling aboard Lusitania with his wife Margaret Gwyer.  They had been just married on 15 April 1915.  Both Herbert and Margaret survived the Lusitania sinking. Herbert Gwyer was born in 1883, the son of John Edward Gwyer.  Herbert was educated at Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge where he graduated in 1905.  The following year he was ordained by the Church of England to the curacy of Kirkburton. In 1911 Gwyer went to Canada as a missionary as part of the Railway mission.  On 15 April 1915 he married Margaret Cairns.  They lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. On the LusitaniaArchie Donald mentioned becoming friends with Gwyer who he said stood tall at 6'4".  Donald said that he and Gwyer used to play bridge withGeorge Bilbrough, Thornton Jackson and John Wilson most of the morning and all evening.  As a result, Herbert and Margaret did not spend much time together during the voyage.  On the last day, Herbert, Margaret, Archie, and Lorna Pavey were in the dining room when the torpedo struck Lusitania.  Herbert's own words of the sinking were were: "We were at dinner when the torpedo struck; there was remarkably little panic. The boat was listing badly to starboard. I shall never get the crash of all the crockery from the tables." Everyone in the dining room knew what had happened and got up from their seats.  Soon afterwards the lights went out.  Minor screams and people stumbling in the darkness ensued.  Reverend Gwyer put his hand on Donald's shoulder and suggested in a calm voice, "Let us quieten the people." The two men moved to the door of the dining saloon and yelled at the top of their voices that everything was going to be all right and there was no need for panic.  Donald and Gwyer didn't really believe what they were saying, but the crowd calmed down and filed out of the room quickly in an orderly fashion. The Gwyers waited until the crowd thinned out before making their way up the stairs.  They had contemplated going to their cabin to get lifebelts but were afraid of being trapped.  Herbert escorted Margaret to a boat and helped her in along with three women and a baby.  In the melée, he did not realize that as Margaret looked up, she thought the funnels were going to fall on the lifeboat and climbed back on deck.  Herbert, meanwhile, jumped into the boat and began to row away.  He claimed to have seen the German submarine after the ship sank. Herbert was rescued by the Flying Fish and was sobbing over the "loss" of his wife until she found him on the same rescue vessel, unrecognizable as she was covered in soot.  She had been sucked down one of the ship's funnels and blown back out to the surface.  Another survivor described the meeting and said that after Gwyer recognized his soot covered wife she said, "Never mind, we've lost those awful wedding presents ". To learn more about Gwyer's later career, read "Lusitania: A View from the Stern" by Michael Poirier in Voyage #41, journal of Titanic International,<> Contributor: Michael Poirier Judith Tavares Hildo Thiel References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G, P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. The New York Times.  Tuesday, 11 May 1915, page 3. Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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