Master Paul Bretherton

Paul Bretherton (1912 - 1980), 3, was traveling to England aboard Lusitania with his sister Elizabeth "Betty" and mother Norah to see their grandparents.  Norah, who was also pregnant at the time, and her children traveled in second cabin.  Norah, Paul, and the unborn child survived the sinking.  Betty did not. Paul was born in 1912 in southern California, as his mother and father had moved to Santa Monica in 1910. In May 1915, Norah was bringing Paul and Betty with her aboard Lusitania to introduce them to her parents.  Their second cabin cabin was C-14. Paul was still in his cabin, sleeping, when the torpedo struck Lusitania.  At the time, 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.  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. Retrieving Paul, 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 Helen Secchi.  Norah and Paul survived the disaster.  Betty's body was recovered on Tuesday, 11 May, where she was buried in a convent in Cork. The Brethertons lived out the rest of their lives in the United Kingdom.  Cyril died unexpectedly in 1939.  After which, the family moved to Wiltshire. Paul Bretherton married Margaret Clingan in 1944.  Their first child, a daughter named Teresa, was born in 1945.  Like his father before him, Paul became a journalist, and wrote the forward to Poems By Algol, a 1945 anthology of some of his father’s poems.  Norah died in 1977 and Paul outlived her by only three years.  He died on 19 August 1980 of bronchiopneumonia, a complication of vocal cord cancer.  He was 68 years of age.

Related pages


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

Links of Interest


Encyclopedia Titanica - Lest We Forget: Part 1
Contributor: Jim Kalafus Senan Molony Mike Poirier 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.  

About the Author