Tuesday, June 17, 2008

They Should Have Stayed in Niagara Falls

On May 1, 1915, Lucy and Harold Taylor embarked on their honeymoon cruise aboard the R.M.S. Lusitania. After the ship was torpedoed, Lucy found her way into a lifeboat, but Harold did not.

On the afternoon of the second day after the sinking, still walking around in a daze, Lucy stopped short in the lobby of a Queenstown hotel when a sailor rushed up to her. Only it wasn’t a sailor, but Harold in seaman’s garb. “I think I was,” said Lucy, “the happiest person alive.”

Harold explained how he had been sucked into a vortex as the ship sank and found himself floating miraculously in open water, without a lifebelt, surrounded by the dead and dying. By clinging to pieces of the wreckage, Harold stayed afloat until a small boat trolling for survivors came by. The euphoric couple fired off a new wire to their loved ones at home: “Both saved.”

Their saga had not ended: Once on British soil, Harold, who had immigrated to the United States with his family as an adolescent, was immediately conscripted into the British Army. He fought throughout World War I while Lucy stayed in England, determined to stay as close to Harold as possible. When the Taylors finally returned home to Niagara Falls, in 1922—seven years after the sinking—they settled, raised four children, and lived a quiet life. [Link]

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