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Remembering the Lusitania

Joe Holley

On May 7, 1915, little Barbara Anderson, a month shy of her third birthday, was having lunch with her mother in the main dining room of the Lusitania. The little girl was eating pudding when, at 2:28 in the afternoon, a German submarine fired a torpedo into the giant ocean liner, eight miles off the Irish coast. The ship sank within 18 minutes. Nearly 1,200 people lost their lives.

The Telegraph (London) reports today that Barbara Anderson McDermott died on April 12 at age 95. The Connecticut resident was the next-to-last surviving member of the attack, which was one of the key factors that drew America into World War I.

Mrs. McDermott recalled that she and her mother got separated in the panic and confusion. Providing a mental image worthy of a Hollywood disaster blockbuster, the Telegraph reports that as the ship sank the little girl was standing at the rail near the stern and was still clutching her spoon when the ship's purser, William Harkness, scooped her up. Both tumbled into a lowering lifeboat.

Her mother, pregnant at the time, fell into the Atlantic but was pulled into a lifeboat.

The Telegraph has a photo of the little girl in the arms of her rescuer.

By Joe Holley |  April 21, 2008; 1:11 PM ET  | Category:  Joe Holley
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Barbara McDermott was a good friend and will be sorely missed. It is a shame the press has been more interested in Hollywood escapades than the life of an amazing woman.
Mike Poirier

Posted by: Mike Poirier | April 30, 2008 6:55 PM

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