Mrs. James Kay (Marguerita Belsher)

Marguerita Kay, 31, was a British citizen who lived on Rhinelander Avenue in Bronx, New York, United States.  She was traveling aboard Lusitania with her son Robert.  Marguerita was lost in the Lusitania sinking.  Robert was saved. In May 1915, Marguerita was in an advanced state of pregnancy.  Still, she wanted to go home to England to have her baby despite the torpedo threats and the fact that she did not know how to swim and was prone to sea sickness. On Wednesday, 5 May 1915, the doctor diagnosed her son Robert with measles.  Robert was placed under quarantine. When the torpedo struck on Friday, 7 May, Marguerita led her son up to the top decks.  The following is from Robert’s account:
"Taut but strangely calm, my mother voiced her fear that we would never reach the upper decks. But she bundled me into makeshift clothing and we made for our cabin door . . . My mother's advanced state of pregnancy made the situation doubly difficult . . . it was strangely quiet except for the muffled shouts and cries filtering down to us from the upper decks." "My mother held me tightly as we stood at the ship's rail until the deck under our feet was awash. Then, moments later, we were torn apart . . ."
Robert was saved from the wreck but Marguerita was lost.  Years later Robert would be haunted by the thought that the pregnant woman Alice Middleton saw give birth in the water could have been his mother. Given the age approximation, it is also possible that unidentified body #186 might be Mrs. Kay. The description is as follows:
186. Female. 32 years, pregnant, stout strong build, fair complexion, round face, good looking; long light brown wavy hair; height 5’9”. Wore blue serge dress with red jersey underneath jacket, blue check bodice, black button boots, cashmere hose. Property. Gold wedding ring and keeper rings.
Contributors: John P. Eaton Jim Kalafus, USA Senan Molony, Ireland Michael 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 : Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, page 135. Mercier Press, 2004.

About the Author