The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Samuel J. Cox (Margaret Elizabeth Robinson)

Mrs. Samuel J. Cox (Margaret Elizabeth Robinson)

Margaret Cox, 27, was a British citizen and Irish national living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She was traveling with her 17-month old son Desmond to Ireland to visit a friend, Mrs. Hobcroft, in Dalkey, Dublin. Both mother and son survived the Lusitania sinking, escaping in lifeboat 15, which was later picked up by the Wanderer, also known as Peel 12.

During the voyage, Margaret and Desmond had become acquainted with Emily and Barbara Anderson.

Margaret and Desmond were at lunch when the torpedo hit. Everyone in the dining room made for the door, but a steward told her to go back as there was plenty of time. Margaret went back, but upon seeing the mass of people crowded around the staircase she asked another steward what to do, as she had to get her baby away. He told her to get up onto the deck.

Margaret found herself and Desmond on the high (port) side of the ship, where she saw the crew attempting to ready the boats there. Michael Ward of Pittsburgh helped her to a boat, and she was holding up “a delicate lady, who had two children” with one hand while cradling Desmond in the other.

As the boats on the high side could not be lowered, she was told to go to the starboard side. Along the way down the slanting deck, Desmond was knocked out of her arms several times. A young man about 23 years old helped her pick up Desmond every time she lost hold of him. On the starboard side, Margaret was turned away from one boat because it was too full and was sent to a second boat. She was going to be turned away from the second boat (#15), but she refused to budge. She insisted, “You will have to take the baby, and I will be all right.”

Someone took the baby, and Mrs. Wilson (Minnie?) caught Desmond. Margaret had no recollection of how she got into the lifeboat and thought that perhaps she had been thrown in.

Men had to cut the ropes holding the lifeboat to the ship to get it away. She thought that the first lifeboat that she had been turned away from had upset. Their lifeboat went right under the funnels and the people in the boat feared that they would be drawn down by the suction.

Their lifeboat was filled past capacity with 85 people. From their boat, Margaret saw a woman (Margaret Gwyer) get sucked down a funnel and blown back to the surface. The men worked hard to row the boat away from the ship as the Lusitania disappeared.

There was much excitement in the boat, but Margaret did not hear much crying. Baby Desmond became hyterical. Because their boat was overcrowded, they could not take in all the people appealing to them for help. Margaret, feeling helpless, had to cover her ears.

Lifeboat 15 rowed to another boat that only had one man in it and transferred some of its people into it. Ellen Burdon told Margaret that she saw the submarine surface and fly its colors. Margaret spoke very highly of the calm composure of the women in her boat and the kind treatment the survivors received in Queenstown.

Margaret and Desmond were in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916. They were in Phoenix Park when a man in front of them was mowed down by machine gun fire. Margaret Cox died in 1978 at ninety, her husband Samuel a year later.

Contributors:
Senan Molony
Judith Tavares

References:
Daily Express. 10 May 1915, pg.6.

Hickey, Des and Gus Smith. Seven Days to Disaster. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1982.

Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, pg. 27 – 28. Mercier Press, 2004.

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