Shortly after Lusitania left New York for the last time, three German stowaways were apprehended in the portside pantry.  They were interrogated by Detective-Inspector William Pierpoint, with Adolph Pederson serving as translator.  The stowaways refused to answer any questions.

The stowaways were locked below decks, presumably in a cabin as the Lusitania deck plans do not show a jail on board.

“The identity of the men is a mystery but there is little doubt that they were the photographic party ordered by Captain Boy-Ed and organized by Paul Koenig. The steward allocated to the portside pantry was Neil J. Leach [sic, his name was John Neil Leach].” (Simpson, page 116+.)  The names of the stowaways are not known, and they drowned when Lusitania was torpedoed.

The prisoners are also mentioned in Hickey and Smith, Ballard, and Preston.  Scholars often implicate Leach in the presence of the three Germans aboard, and the possibility remains that Leach was one of the three locked up.  While the “Distressed British Seamen” are of the same number as the seamen, they were unrelated and coincidental in number.

With the stowaways, the “official” death toll of 1,198 then already counts these men (plus some who were not actually on board), and the number 1,201 would count them twice and is incorrect.

Sue Keeler
Peter Engberg-Klarström
Judith Tavares

Ballard, Robert D. and Spencer Dunmore.  Exploring the Lusitania.  Warner Books, 1995.

Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1981.

Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

Simpson, Colin.  The Lusitania.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1972.


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