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Old May 18th, 2016, 04:44 PM   #1
Sean Crundall
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Default The Princess Alice Disaster.

Hi,

About six years ago I visited Woolwich Cemetery, Kings Highway, Plumstead, S.E. London.

The cemetery, being the final resting place of the Princess Alice Disaster victims, contains a memorial to the victims. Apparently the crosses marking out each grave were removed during the 1970s.

I spoke with the cemetery's manager who very kindly invited me into his office. While chatting over a cup of tea he retrieved the original burial registers relating to the victims of the disaster. He happened to mention that many of the victims remained unidentified. On examining the registers myself I found this to be true. So, perhaps it's just possible that there may well be a grain of truth somewhere in Stride's story.

The cemetery manager also provided me with a copy of the following photograph (below) which was hanging on the office wall and was taken c.1914.

Best wishes,

Sean.





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Old May 19th, 2016, 04:58 PM   #2
Anna Morris
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A BIG problem with Liz' 'Princess Alice' story is that she claimed to have lost her husband and children. Modern research show her husband to not have died on the ship. There seems to be NO record or contemporary source that would verify that she had ANY children.

On the other hand, I suppose it is possible Liz could have had a relationship she considered to be a marriage and there could have been children in that relationship. But nothing like this has been suggested.

The autopsy did not find the sort of injury she described and her contemporaries did not seem to believe she had a speech impediment, yet as I recall, the autopsy showed a number of missing teeth. The missing teeth were not necessarily in the location she indicated where she was kicked in the face.

I have always been fascinated by her post mortem photo because it looks like her right upper lip was badly damaged or swollen. Was it that way in life; if so was it the injury she claimed from the 'Princess Alice' disaster? Did her killer do it? Was she the woman pulled about by BSM, and did he do it? Or would a peri-mortem injury of that sort be noticeable after death?
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Old May 19th, 2016, 05:02 PM   #3
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There were a lot of false compensation claims in relation to this disaster.

As Sean states, many victims remain unknown so one can understand the temptation.

Monty
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Old May 19th, 2016, 10:49 PM   #4
Anna Morris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty View Post
There were a lot of false compensation claims in relation to this disaster.

As Sean states, many victims remain unknown so one can understand the temptation.

Monty
What kind of proof may have been required to receive payments? For example, if Liz claimed loss of husband and children, would she have been asked for a marriage record or records of birth for the children? How were payments awarded?
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Old May 30th, 2016, 10:57 AM   #5
Adam Went
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I wrote an article about the Princess Alice a few years back and it really was quite a tragedy in its day. Only a small percentage of the total number of passengers on board actually survived, given the boat went down in just four minutes in the foul, sewage-infested water of the Thames. I've even read of people who survived the sinking itself but later died from complications of having been in the water. A number of families were completely wiped out or close to it - the newspaper reports from the time are testament to that.

As for Liz herself, as has been said, there's no evidence that she or any of her family members were on board. Passenger lists still exist online and unless she was travelling under a false name - and why would she be? - there's no sign of her. Of course at the time before the information was correctly compiled it would have been easier to seek compensation or support payments, which Liz did from the Swedish church in England. As for how much the relief provided was or the details of how it was obtained, there are others i'm sure who would be able to give a much more detailed answer. Chances are Liz simply saw an opportunity to obtain some much needed financial assistance and took it.

Cheers,
Adam.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 04:21 PM   #6
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Some accounts of the "Princess Alice" disaster mention that the people were wearing such heavy clothing, as was the style of those days, that the clothing also weighed them down and caused drownings.
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Old June 5th, 2016, 07:41 AM   #7
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Anna:

That would probably be the case in some instances as well. Also, i'm not convinced about the extent of the knowledge of water safety and survival techniques in London circa 1878. That's what makes the disaster all the more tragic - it wasn't as if it happened in the middle of nowhere, dry land was almost literally a stones throw away.

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Old June 6th, 2016, 02:49 AM   #8
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Adam:

I have also read that the land was very close but people did not know how to swim. They panicked and floundered and their heavy clothing helped drag them down in that state. Today, if we fell into water with heavy clothing, we would probably strip. In those days, especially for women, drowning may have been preferable to stripping off heavy skirts, petticoats and whatever.
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Old June 10th, 2016, 10:15 AM   #9
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Hi Anna,

Yes you're right, I think that it would have been quite an effort to strip off enough clothes to survive the way most Victorian-era women were clad! The most telling factor was that the boat sank in just four minutes, so there just wasn't enough time to be able to organise any rafts either from the shore or makeshift ones from the Princess Alice itself.

Because of the maritime disasters that would follow in the decades to come, the most obvious one being Titanic but there are several other notables, I think that the Princess Alice has been forgotten quite a bit these days. That's a shame because it really was a huge tragedy at the time.

Cheers,
Adam.
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Old June 10th, 2016, 06:24 PM   #10
Phillip Walton
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There were many marine disasters during the LVP, its only because it happened on the River Thames that the Princess Alice disaster is notable. Many disasters occured at sea where the only indication was when a vessel failed to arrive at its destination.
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