Sunday, 10 May 2015

Lost with the Lusitania

RMS Lusitania (Wikimedia)

Monday 10th May 1915:  After last week’s terrible news of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Ireland [1] it now appears that two Luton men are among those lost. Thomas Edward George Bodell, the son of Mr Thomas Bodell of Clarendon Road, Luton, emigrated to Canada ten years ago and was returning to Britian for the first time. He was travelling with his wife and their two year old son. None of their names have appeared on the lists of survivors and it must now be assumed that they are among the victims of the disaster. Mrs Bodell’s brother has travelled from Cardiff to Queenstown in Ireland to try to identify his sister and her family, but so far without success. Thomas Bodell attended Waller Street School in Luton. He then served an apprenticeship at Hayward, Tyler and Co. and worked in London for a time before leaving for Canada, where he went into business as a brass and electrical fittings maker in Toronto. He was a former secretary of the Luton Amateur Football Club. His father says his 33 year old son had disposed of his Canadian business and was returning to England with the intention of enlisting.

Mr Robert E. Dearbergh, who was travelling as a saloon passenger on the Lusitania, is also believed lost. His brothers carried on one of the leading plait businesses in Luton for many years, although he himself has lived in New York for some time. His brother, Fred Dearbergh of St. Albans, has also travelled to Queenstown but has found no trace of the missing man. Mr. Dearburgh, a bachelor aged 52, last lived in Luton some twenty-five years ago. A well travelled man, he was considered an accomplished linguist. He was returning to Britain to place his abilities and experience at his country’s disposal.

Source: Luton News, 13th May 1915; Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Citizen, 18th May 1915

[1] The Lusitania was torpedoed on 7th May 1915, with the loss of 1201 lives.

[2] More about the sinking of the Lusitania and the Lutonians lost in the disaster can be found on the Luton WW1 website.

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