Mr. William Ernest Inch

William Ernest Inch, 27, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Inch of 97, Lonsdale Avenue, Wembley, Middlesex, England.  He had stayed in the United States for almost three years, arriving in New York in September 1912 on the Olympic.  On board the Lusitania for her last voyage, Inch survived and gave an interview to the Harrow Observer. From the Harrow Observer, 14 May 1915:
[Mr. Inch] said the catastrophe occured whilst the second sitting of passengers were at lunch.  He and a lady friend [Emmie Hill] were on deck writing.  The ship's paper had been circulated and they were chatting and joking over the Germans' threats, when suddenly the vessel was brought round in an arc and immediately afterwards the first tropedo struck the boilers but without exploding.  The ship immediately began to sink and the unfortunate people in the second sitting of diners must have been drowned like rats in a sewer.  The crew and passengers, especially the women, behaved with admirable calmness, coolness and fortitude, the only screaming being that of the children on board.  Many were speechless with fright, others numbed with fear, bur Mr. Inch, like the majority, hardly realised the danger, his mind being so fully occupied with doing all that was humanly possible for the women and children.  He said he felt no fear and repeatedly urged his friend not to worry as he was sure the vessel would not go down.  he went on to say that he owed his rescue to her appeals.  He had put her in the last boat and was busy getting other ladies and children to safety, when she called to him to jump.  He had previously divested himself of unnecessary clothing so that when the end came he could make a swim to something -- a boat or piece of wreckage.  The boat was now nine to ten feet away and he successfully jumped without upsetting it or injuring anyone.  It was only by a miracle that the boat escaped destruction.  When the vessel sank, the boat was in between the masts, and if the Marconi wire had not broken, the boat and its wet, hungry and exhausted freight would never had escaped [lifeboat #15].  There were from 80 to 85 persons in this boat when it was rescued by a fishing trawler [Wanderer, also known as Peel 12] some four hours after the Lusitania [had] sunk.  Those who did not row, rendered great service by reviving those who were picked up half dead, and did nobly, hampered as they were by lack of stimulants, etc.  Everything that Mr. Inch had, with the exception of some money which he had in his pocket, was lost, and his friend, like many others, lost everything.Mr. Inch said that he did not see the submarine, but it rose sufficiently to hoist the German flag, which it kept hoisted for about five minutes [also claimed by Rita Jolivet and Emmie Hill].  He saw none of the crew.  He had only admiration for the way in which both passengers and crew alike did all that was humanly possible to save life.  Many lives were lost in the heavy suction when the ship went down, and it was only with great difficulty that boats were able to get clear of the whirlpool. When asked about the alleged warning issued to passengers at New York, Mr. Inch said he saw none.  Mr. Inch reached Wembley at 9:30 on Sunday morning [9 May].
Inch returned to the United States in Sept. 1915.  http://ellisisland.org lists him as married in 1912 but single in September 1915. William Inch and Emmie Hill remained lifelong friends. Contributors: Malcolm Barres-Baker, Projects Officer, Grange Museum, UK Peter Kelly, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA References: Ellis Island Archives.  Online.  <http://www.ellisisland.org>. Harrow Observer, 14 May 1915.

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