The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. David Hastings (Margaret Anderson Gardiner)

Mrs. David Hastings (Margaret Anderson Gardiner)

Margaret Hastings, 40, was an Irish national and British subject residing in New Rochelle, New York, United States. She was a widow living with her eldest son, Jack, but was originally from Lisburn, County Antrim, Ireland. She was returning to Ireland to bring her younger son to the United States so that he would not be drafted or enlist. Margaret was lost in the disaster and her body was recovered, but her body was interred before her family could collect it. As such, her body remains officially unidentified. Margaret was the daughter of Patrick Gardiner, Ballantine, who died not long before Margaret. She had a brother named Robert. Margaret worked as a sales apprentice with Messrs George Duncan & Sons. Afterwards, she married David Hastings, flesher, Lisburn Road. The Hastings had five children. David predeceased her, so Margaret returned to Lisburn and took over Mr. Bertie Gillespie’s stationery and fine goods business in Market Square. Around 1910, Margaret moved to the United States to live with her son Jack in New Rochelle. Margaret’s daughter Florrie lived with grandmother Hastings in Belfast. Her three youngest children continued to live in Lisburn, with David with his uncle Robert at Ballantine, and Fred and Robbie with Samuel Chambers, a stationer on Castle Street. Shortly before sailing on Lusitania’s fatal voyage, Margaret wrote to her family in Ireland, announcing her intention to return to her homeland and arrive by Sunday, 9 May 1915. She was fearful that her younger son may either be forced into the war service or have the desire to enlist, so she booked a round-trip ticket on the Lusitania and also booked passage to New York for her younger boy. The North Street travel agent from whom she bought the third class tickets would later describe her as “preoccupied” and “fearful” about the war. Margaret did not tell her family what ship she would be traveling aboard, but her relatives assumed Lusitania. As they were not certain, they did not go to Queenstown until they saw her name on the list of Lusitania passengers published in the newspapers after the sinking on Sunday, 9 May. On Monday, 10 May, Margaret’s brother Robert and Samuel Chambers took the train from Lisburn to Queenstown, arriving at Queenstown at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 May. The pair inquired about Margaret at the Cunard office, then the hospital and morgue. They then went to the police station, where they handed a photo of Margaret to a constable. The constable recognized the likeness and passed it on to another woman who was present. The woman declared that she had seen a body that corresponded to Margaret’s. Five other people at different times and places also confirmed seeing Margaret’s body. Two fishermen claimed that she was the first body that they had recovered from the water. However, her body was interred the day before Gardiner and Chambers arrived, and nothing of her belongings could be positively identified as hers. Gardiner and Chambers were convinced that Margaret’s body had been recovered and interred, but because of their late arrival, her body remains officially unidentified.  Whether her son remained in Ireland or immigrated to the United States is not known by researchers at this time.

Links of interest

Lest We Forget – Encyclopedia Titanica

Contributors Cliff Barry, UK Jim Kalafus, USA Peter Kelly, Ireland Senan Molony, Ireland Mike Poirier, USA References Jim Kalafus, Michael Poirier, Cliff Barry and Peter Kelly (2013) “Lest We Forget : The Lusitania.” Gare Maritime. (ref: #10962, accessed 27th April 2015 03:24:39 PM) URL : Lisburn Herald, 15 May 1915, pg 5. Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, pg 37-38. Mercier Press, 2004.

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