Miss Kate “Kitty” McDonnell

Kate McDonnell, 25, of Cork, Ireland, was traveling with friend May Barrett, with whom she had moved to New York City.  In May 1915, the ladies were returning to Ireland on holiday and traveling aboard Lusitania.  Both Kate and May survived the Lusitania sinking. Kate was the daughter of Eugene McDonnell of 25 Prosperity Square, Cork City, Ireland.  Kate had blue eyes and was 5' 4" tall.  In April 1911, she and a friend May Barrett emigrated to the United States on the White Star Liner Majestic.  Their address in New York City was 263 9th Avenue.  In the spring of 1915 they took a holiday together to go back to Ireland and booked passage on the Lusitania. On Friday, 7 May, Kate and May had just finished lunch and were sitting in the second cabin dining saloon when they heard two crashing sounds.  Kate and May made for the stairs, but the crowd got in their way.  The ship then stopped moving and Kate and May got up to the boat deck where the sailors were working at the falls.  There was no panic at the time.  May went to get lifebelts for Kate and herself, but a man told them, "If you go into the cabin again, you will never get up again." The man went down and came back with lifebelts for the two women who put them on.  At this time the list to starboard was so strong that they lost their footing.  Kate and May scrambled to the side of the ship, mumbled a prayer, and jumped.  Kate and May were separated in the water. When the ship sank, Kate floated, dazed, in the water for some time.  Some reports said nearly an hour, others three and a half.  A boat then passed her and she heard someone say, "Oh, the poor girl is dead."  As the boat began to pull away, she mustered nough strength to raise her hand.  That caught the attention of those on the boat and they came back and pulled her out of the water.  It was almost midnight by the time her rescue vessel got into Queenstown. Kate's friend May had also survived and Kate was reunited with her father, very much relieved that her "poor dead girl" had come back to life.  Two weeks later, the All-for-Ireland Club passed a "sincere vote of congratulation" to both May and Kate. In some newspapers Kate's last name was misprinted as "McDonald."  Hers and May Barrett's rescue was described in the New York Times, Monday,10 May 1915, page 2. Contributors: Senan Molony References: Cork Free Press, 10 May 1915, p. 5. New York Times, 10 May 1915, page 2. "All-for-Ireland Club Vote of Condolence to Lusitania Survivor," Cork Free Press, 21 May 1915, p. 5. Molony, Senan.  Lusitania:  An Irish Tragedy.  Mercier Press, 2004.

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