The woman who survived the sinking of the Lusitania by being shot out of a funnel, as if from a cannon, and landing in a lifeboat.
On 11 May 1915, the Brisbane Courier reported on a nameless woman who escaped certain death being sucked down a whirlpool into the hole of one of the ship’s smokestacks during the sinking of the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania. A fortuitous boiler explosion blew her out of the funnel and back into the water, albeit injured and covered entirely in soot.
The Brisbane Courier reported the news to Queenslanders that she landed directly in a lifeboat, and while this makes the story that little more astounding, it seems as though poetic license won over, and she in fact landed very near a lifeboat, but didn’t quite stick the landing.
Her name was Margaret Gwyer, she was a British National from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was the newlywed bride of the Reverend Herbert Gwyer. During their rescue, they found themselves in the same lifeboat but Margaret was so covered in soot her husband did not recognise her. Comforting her husband, distraught over the intensity of their situation, Margaret allegedly quipped, “Never mind, we’ve lost those awful wedding presents.”
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