Mr. James Sydney Arter

James Sydney Arter, 33, known to friends as Sydney, was returning to England on the Lusitania for vacation.  He survived the sinking. For the past five years Arter was engaged on rubber plantations in the Federated Malay States (British Malaya, present-day Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei).  Arter had arrived in the United States from Malaya on 23 April aboard the Japanese ship Aki Maru, which had docked in Seattle. Interestingly, fellow Lusitania passenger Ambrose Cross was also engaged in the same business and from the Federated Malay States, but as neither mentioned the other, there might not have been a connection. On the day of the sinking, Arter was finishing his lunch when he heard a "noise caused by the blow was not unlike that on a large scale of the bursting of a soda bottle."  Arter left the dining room to go to his cabin for a lifebelt.  He then made his way topside and slid down the starboard side into the water.  Then he found a collapsible which he was able to board.  He and others found two more boats and rescued many from the water.


Mr. J. S. Arter, of St. Agnes-road, Moseley, who, as previously announced, was a survivor of the Lusitania disaster, was in the water for about an hour before getting on a capsized boat. Describing his experiences to a “Gazette” representative, Mr. Arter stated that he was just finishing lunch when the liner was torpedoed. A muffled explosion was followed by the ship taking an immediate list. Everybody hastened to their cabins to get the life-saving jackets, but he saw no signs of panic. Mr. Arter was lowered from the sinking ship in a boat, in which he stood up, being let down from a height of 80 or 90 feet on the port side. As there was not sufficient room in the boat for all, he dropped off into the sea, wearing his life-saving jacket and managing to keep afloat for about an hour before scrambling on to a capsized boat. He was only some 15 or 20 feet from the stern of the Lusitania when the latter disappeared under the waves. A number of other people were on the overturned boat which he eventually reached, and three hours later they were picked up by a rescue boat. Mr. Arter did not see any submarine, but he heard of passengers who caught a glimpse of the enemy craft. Mr. Arter has been abroad for some years, and was returning on the Lusitania for a holiday with his relatives at Moseley. He is little the worse for his trying adventures, and stated that before the submarine attacked the liner the voyage had been a pleasant one.
Sydney Arter died August 1932 in the Federated Malay States. Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Paul Latimer Michael Poirier, USA Jane Wynne

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