Master Robert Kay

Robert Kay, 7, was an American child, from Rhinelander Avenue, Bronx, New York, United States, traveling aboard the Lusitania with his mother Marguerita.  Marguerita was lost in the Lusitania sinking.  Robert was saved. Kay would much later write an account of the sinking, An Earlier Day of Infamy, which stands as the best 'child's perspective' of the disaster yet uncovered.  The following are some excerpts:
"My mother and I were two of almost two thousand passengers looking forward to a swift, comfortable voyage to Liverpool, but most of us would never get there." "For my mother, the answer was simple. She wanted desperately to go home to England to have her baby -- even though she was prone to sea sickness and a non-swimmer." "Wednesday, May 5th . . . I was told by the ship's doctor that I had measles and must be sent to quarantine." "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 Kay was saved by one of the collapsible boats and taken to Queenstown where he remained for two weeks.  While there, his maternal grandfather, by the name of Belsher, unsuccessfully searched for Mrs. Kay's body, and Robert recovered from his bout with measles.  For the first few days he roomed with Belle Naish, who wrote several letters in which she mentioned Robert.  Belle gave testimony later in which she described him as being a source of strength to her and a brave boy who cried for his mother but once. As an adult, Kay was haunted by the thought that the pregnant woman Alice Middleton claimed to have seen giving birth in the water after the sinking was his mother. Contributors: John P. Eaton Jim Kalafus Michael Poirier

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