Mr. Robert William Whaley

Robert William Whaley (c. 1884 - 1952), 31, was a British subject and electrician from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, traveling aboard Lusitania in second cabin. He seems to have been one of the survivors pulled into lifeboat 15 immediately after the liner sank:
I was in the deck smoke room when the first torpedo struck the Lusitania. As soon as ever the noise was heard, there was a cry of ‘submarine.’ The boats were lowered immediately. I was on the high side of the ship when she listed, and I saw there was trouble in getting the boats into the water from that side. One boat, with about twenty or thirty people, which they tried to lower, was dashed against the side of the hull, and the people were flung in to the water. I could see there was no chance of escape from that side, so I crossed over to the other side of the liner. I helped to lower the last boat that was put off. I could not get into it, but I eventually swung myself down into the water by the rope fall attached to the davit. Once in the water I lost the rope, and down I sank. When I came up again, the Lusitania was lying right on her side. I cannot swim a stroke, I found myself entangled in the wireless apparatus, but managed to get free. At that instant a boat passed, and I succeeded in grabbing the gunwale, and was dragged into it. The boat was full of people. We tried to keep away from the suction of the sinking vessel, although as far as I could see there did not seem to be much suction; just a ‘boil’ all over the surface of the water. I could see hundreds of people shrieking and struggling in the water around us, but we could not help them. We took up everyone we could, but it was appalling to see the hundreds for whom there was no help. Our boat was picked up by a minesweeper, which took us to Queenstown.
Whaley's description of being dragged down by the wireless apparatus and finding an overcrowded lifeboat next to him matches that of lifeboat 15. As lifeboat 15 was first picked up by the Manx fishing smack Wanderer, it seems that Whaley was offloaded to a minesweeper when the small fishing boat became too crowded. Robert William Whaley died in Vancouver, B.C., on 24 October 1952.

Links of interest

Robert William Whaley at Lest We Forget – Encyclopedia Titanica

Contributors Cliff Barry, UK Jim Kalafus, USA Peter Kelly, 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 :

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