The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Cyril Herbert Emanuel Bretherton (Norah Annie Keating)

Mrs. Cyril Herbert Emanuel Bretherton (Norah Annie Keating)

Norah Bretherton Second Cabin Passenger Saved
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Born Norah Annie Keating 6 January 1883 Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Died 29 April 1977 (age 94) Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Age on Lusitania 32
Cabin number C 14
Traveling with - Paul Bretherton (son) - Betty Bretherton (daughter)
Lifeboat 13
Rescued by Stormcock
Citizenship British (England)
Residence Santa Monica, California, United States
Spouse(s) Cyril Herbert Emanuel Bretherton (1910? - 1939, his death)
Signature Michael Poirier Collection/National Archives
Norah Bretherton (1883 - 1977), 32, was traveling to England aboard Lusitania to take to children Paul, 3, and Elizabeth "Betty," 15 months, to see their grandparents.  At the time, Norah was pregnant with another child.  Norah and her children traveled in second cabin.  Norah, Paul, and the unborn child survived the sinking.  Betty did not. Born Norah Annie Keating on 6 January 1883 in Brighton, England, Norah was a second-generation Irish in England.  Much of her childhood was spent in Dover, on the southern English coast, where she was educated in a convent.  She emigrated to the United States during the summer of 1910, via Antwerp, aboard the Kroonland.  She did so to join her fiancé, Cyril Herbert Emanuel Bretherton, a lawyer and journalist, in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles. In May 1915, Norah was traveling to England on the Lusitania to introduce her Paul and Betty to her parents.  Their second cabin cabin was C-14.  During the voyage, she won the Whist Competition, a card game Richard Preston Prichard organized in second cabin. Pieced together from the several detailed accounts she left, Norah was on the stairs between B and C Deck when the explosion came. She retrieved Betty from a vaguely described "area" on B Deck where she had been left, and took her to the lifeboats.  Her son Paul was still in his cabin, sleeping, and while on the Boat Deck (A Deck), Norah unsuccessfully tried to persuade men whom she had known during the voyage to rescue her son, but none would go below.  Thus, Norah was forced to leave Betty with another man and went below herself to find Paul.  In her own words, "I forced [my] baby into some man's arms who had got to the stairs." Norah observed that on C Deck smoke was rising from the floor in her cabin and in the hallway outside.  Returning to the boat deck, Norah ran into the man that she had left Betty with, but he was without her daughter.  It is unknown whether that man had placed Betty in a lifeboat that upset, or if he had abandoned the little girl. Norah and Paul were turned away from one boat and nearly barred from a second, lifeboat 13, but for the intercession of her acquaintance Helen Secchi. After the sinking Norah placed this advert in the Cork Examiner seeking news of her daughter:
"MISSING: A baby girl, 15 months old, very fair hair, curled, rosy complexion, in a white woollen jersey and leggings. Tries to walk and talk.  Name Betty Bretherton. Please send any information to Miss Browne, Bishop's House, Queenstown."
The Miss Browne in question was a sister of the famed Titanic photographer, Father Francis Mary Xavier Browne. Elizabeth's body was recovered on Tuesday, 11 May, Norah had given up hope of the body being found and had gone to her home in England. When Elizabeth’s body was recovered she was buried in a convent in Cork. Norah spent four months with her sister and gave birth to Cyril Jr. that October. Cyril Sr. followed Norah to England and enlisted in the British Armed Forces.  The Brethertons would live out the rest of their lives in the United Kingdom.  Even so, as United States citizens, the Mixed Claims Commission awarded Cyril Bretherton, on Norah's behalf, $7,500.00 for the loss of Betty and $1,500.00 for the loss of personal effects. Cyril's career took off quickly.  His correspondence in Dublin, Ireland during the events leading up to Irish independence depicted the Irish so negatively that "his life was only saved by the intervention of the American Consul" (obituary, from Kalafus and Poirier, 2005).  His experiences led to his book, The Real Ireland, which, mildly speaking, spoke less than favorably of the Irish.  In 1926, Cyril published Midas, or, the United States and Future, in which he predicted that the United States would become the only world power within his lifetime.  Midas continued to be published as late as 1974.  Cyril was also a poet, and an anthology, Poems by Algol, was published pothumously in 1945 with a forward by his son Paul. Cyril also wrote an autobiography, Rhyme and Reason:  Being the Thoughts and Theories of a Journalist Philosopher, in which Norah also appears, but does not mention Lusitania.  Cyril died unexpectedly in 1939. The family moved around between London and Oxford.  After Cyril’s death, the Brethertons settled down in Wiltshire. Paul Bretherton married Margaret Clingan in 1944.  Their first child, a daughter named Teresa, was born in 1945. Norah lived with her son John Christopher in Ramsbury and died of degenerative heart disease on 29 April 1977 at the Cheriton Nursing Home in Swindon, England.  She was 94.

Related pages


Norah, Paul, and Betty Bretherton at the Mixed Claims Commission

Links of Interest


Encyclopedia Titanica - Lest We Forget: Part 1
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Senan Molony, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1 ET Research. <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget.html> Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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