Mr. John Moore

John Moore, 24, was traveling aboard Lusitania with his sister Jeanette Mitchell, her husband Walter Dawson Mitchell, and the Mitchells' son, also named Walter Dawson.  John and Jeanette were saved, but both Walter and the baby were lost in the sinking. John was from Ballylesson, County Down, Ireland and was one of six children.  Two of his brothers, Bobby and Archie, had enlisted to fight in the war as of 1915.  John had been apprenticed at Messrs McGowan and Ingram in Belfast before moving to Manchester Green, Connecticut, United States, in 1911.  He was returning to Ireland to also enlist to fight and joined his sister and her husband, who were returning to Ireland because they had been “discouraged by conditions caused here [in the United States] by the war.” Walter, Jeanette, their ten-month-old son, and John sailed on Lusitania on 1 May 1915.  Jeanette recalled that when the ship passed by where Titanic sank in 1912, some passengers threw wreaths into the sea.  On 7 May, Jeanette, Walter Sr., and John had just finished lunch.  John went to play cards, and Jeanette went to the cabin to see the baby when they felt "a great crash, which shook the ship."  With Walter, Jr., they followed the rest of the passengers to the upper decks to find out what had happened.  John took the score sheet from the game and stuck it in his pocket.  As the ship was listing to starboard, only the starboard side boats were being lowered properly and lifebelts were being handed out.  He looked around and saw passengers reacting hysterically.  John did not take a lifebelt, but he managed to get into a lifeboat, but it overturned while lowering. As the lifeboat fell, John grabbed onto a rope that was hanging over the ship's side and held on.  As he did so, many passengers jumping from the side of the ship struck him, bruising his body.  He climbed up the rope back onto the boat deck and grabbed a lifejacket and put it on.  Lusitania sank suddenly, and he found himself in the water. John was swimming without direction when he came across a young boy shouting, "Save me!"  John placed the child's arms around his neck and swam towards an overturned lifeboat. They clung to the keel as people faded and slipped back into the water.  Moore's accounts never mentioned the name the boy or say if he survived.  John was rescued by the minesweeper Indian Empire.  He had lost sight of his sister and her husband and son and despaired that he would never see them again until he saw them brought out of the water.  Some accounts say this happened aboard the Indian Empire, others say that he saw them again in Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland. Attempts were made to resuscitate the Walter and Jeanette on ship and on shore.  The baby was lost, and Walter did not revive. John saw Jeanette and Walter lying among the corpses on the harbor steps of Queenstown.  He thought he saw Jeanette's eyelids move and realized she was alive.  He managed to resuscitate her.  The Lisburn Standard reported that it was "chiefly due to his [John's] presence of mind that his sister did not share the same fate as her husband." On Saturday, John took Jeanette to buy some clothes when she overheard a group of sailors talking about the sinking.  One sailor had described a "beautiful baby" that he had taken out of the water and Jeanette rushed over to him, insisting that the child was hers.  She begged him to tell her what he had done with the child's body, to which the sailor answered, "Listen, love, where your baby is now, there is nothing more you can do for him." Per the list of interments at Queenstown, Master Walter Dawson Mitchell was body #122, male, age 6 months [sic, actually 10 months], second-cabin passenger, Common grave C. On Saturday evening, Reverend Mitchell received a wire stating that Jeanette and John were safe, but his son and grandchild had been lost.  Another telegram stated that Jeanette and John would arrive in Lisburn by the midnight train from Dublin, with a casket containing Walter's remains.  Reverend Mitchell and Mr. Moore (Jeanette and John's father) received them at the Lisburn train station.  They were still in shock and grief-stricken and were unable to give any account of what had happened to them. Moore remained in Ireland with his family for a few months more before returning to Connecticut aboard the Carpathia, upon which Joseph Thompson was also aboard.  On Sunday, 18 July, they were off the coast of Ireland when a periscope was sighted.  The British patrol fired at the U-boat, and John recalled that the patrol "sank the submarine with six shots."  Carpathia continued on a zig-zag course until after dark.  Carpathia's Captain Prothero had thought the patrol were at target practice and not firing at a submarine. John worked as a meter tester after his return to the United States, and he married in 1924.  He owned his own home and led a contented life.  He had kept the Cunard Daily Bulletin issued aboard Lusitaniafrom 6 May 1915, headlined "British Success in the Dardanelles," and would show it to anyone who was interested. John Moore passed away on 27 May 1946 at age 54, 31 years after the sinking of Lusitania.

Links of Interest

Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Senan Molony, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA Judith Tavares References: "Ulster Victims Lisburn Man and Child."  Irish Post and Telegraph, 15 May 1915, page 11. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005).  Lest We Forget Part 2:  As the Lusitania Went Down ET Research.  <> Molony, Senan.  Lusitania:  An Irish Tragedy.  Mercier Press, 2004, pages 61-62, 64. “Finds Friend is Survivor:  Woman Gets Letter from Mrs. W. D. Mitchell of the Lusitania.”  New York Times, Tuesday, 25 May 1915, page 4.

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