The Great War, I was there - Part 10

That was the last boat I saw lowered. It became impossible to lower anymore from our side owing to the liston the ship. No one else except that white-faced stream seemed to lose control. A number of people were moving about the deck, gently and vaguely. They reminded one of a swarm of bees who do not know where the queen has gone. Presently Dr. F— decided togo down and fetch life-belts for himself and his sister-in-law. Whilst he was away the vessel righted herself perceptibly, and word was passed round that the bulkheads had been closed and the danger was over. We laughed and shook hands, and I said, “Well, you’ve had your thrill all right.”“ I never want another,” she answered. Soon after, the doctor returned bearing two life-belts. He had had to wade through deep water down below to get them. VY/iiilst we were standing, 1 unhooked my skirt so that it should come straight off and' not impede me in the water. The liston the ship soon got worse again, and, indeed, became very bad. Presently Dr. F---said he thought we had better jump into the sea. (We had thought of doing so before, but word had been passed round from the captain that it was better to stay where we were.) Dr. F--- and Miss C--- moved towards the edge of the deck where the boat had been and there was Central Vress CAPTAIN IN TRAGIC HOURS The Lusitania at the time she was sunk was commanded by Captain W.T. Turner, seen left on the bridge where he stood when there was a cry of “Submarine! ”Captain Turner rushed to the side, but it was too late to avoid the torpedoes. The ship was struck twice, and the captain could but do his best to save his passengers and crew. True to the great traditions of his service, he went down with his ship. He was picked up after being in the sea for three hours, and right he is seen walking in Queenstown after his rescue, notice­ably aged by the terrible experience. no railing. 1 followed them, feeling frightened at the idea of jumping so far (it was, I believe, some sixty feet normally from“ A ”deck to the sea), and telling myself how ridiculous I was to have physical fear of the jump when we stood in such grave danger as we did. Others must have had the same fear, for a little crowd stood hesitating on the brink and kept me back. And then, suddenly, I saw that the water had overcome onto the deck. We were not, as I had thought, sixty feet above the sea—we were already under the sea. I saw the water green just about up to my knees. I do not remember its upcoming farther that must all have happened in a second. The ship sank and I was sucked downright with her. "The next thing I can remember was being deep down under the water. It was very dark, nearly black. I fought to come up. I was terrified of being caught on some part of the ship and kept down. That was the worstmoment of terror, the only moment of acute terror, that I knew. My wrist did catch on a rope. I was scarcely aware of it :*79 at the time, but I have the mark on tome this day. At first I swallowed a lot of water then I remembered that I had read that one should not swallow water, so I shut my mouth. Something bothered me in my right hand and prevented me striking outwith it 1 discovered that it was the life-belt I had been holding for my father. As I reached the surface I grasped a little bit of board, quite thin, a few inches wide and perhaps two or three feet long. I thought this was keeping me afloat. I was wrong. My most excellent life-belt was doing that. But every­thing that happened after I had been submerged was a little misty and vague I was slightly stupefied from then on. When 1 came to the surface I found that I formed part of a large, round, floating island composed of people and debris of all sorts, lying so close together that at first there was not very much water noticeable in between. People, boats, hen-coops, chairs, rafts, boards and goodness knows what besides, all floating cheek by jowl. A man with a
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