Baker, James

James Baker: He had been born in Constantinople, Turkey, 16 August 1864, the son of George, b. 1822, and Maria (nee Butler; she had been born ca. 1833) Baker. His known siblings were Louisa, b. 1854, George Percival, b. 16 February 1856, Henry ’Harry,’ b. 1857, Frederick William, b. 1859, Arthur, b. 1861, Amelia, b. 1866, and Albert, b. 1868. He married Edith Pulman on 26 July 1893 in Wandsworth, Surrey. In 1901, he lived in Brackley Road in Beckenham, Kent, with his wife Edith and children Edith Joyce, 6, and Arthur Roland, 3, and three servants; Mary Bassett, 29, a cook, Mary E. Millix, 26, a nurse, and Maud A. Wickham, 16, a housemaid. He was listed as an oriental carpet importer. He was the director of an oriental carpet company that traded in London, the US and the near East. The New York Tribune reported he had written extensively about Bohemia, Poland and Galicia and for that had been given the decoration of the order of Franz Josef of Austria. He had left Liverpool, England, 20 March 1915 on the Lusitania, and was bound for an ’oriental carpet manufacture’ in Toronto, Ontario, and he stated he expected to stay in Toronto for three weeks. He was 6’1’’, had grey hair and black eyes. He was noted as a married carpet manufacturer aged 50. A relative (or friend), George P. Baker, lived in Bexley, Kent. Mr. Baker’s last place of permanent residence was noted as London, England. He travelled with the Pappadopoulos on the Lusitania. The Cunard Line stated his point of origin was ’England.’ He died in Newquay, Cornwall, 4 December 1944, aged 80. He survived the Lusitania disaster and was questioned during the British investigation after the sinking.

1793. I only want to give you the opportunity if you have anything to say about the crew?
– I see. I want to repeat that to me there appeared to be not a question of discipline but no competent men about.

1794. Does that apply to the whole time?
– No, only applying to the lowering of the boats and the advice to the passengers as regards lifebelts.

1795. Let me take you a little into detail about that. When the ship was torpedoed did you notice an effort to lower one of the boats opposite to the main entrance?
– I was in my cabin, and when I got up they were lowering-I could not tell you the number-the boats opposite the leading room on the port side. I remained on the port side the whole time. I think-I am sure it was opposite the reading room, and I saw that boat run away because the man at the bows could not hold the falls. At the stern the rope fouled and left the boat bows in the water, and at an angle of about 45 degrees.

1796. Was there an officer in her?
– There was a young officer in the water when I looked over. I did not see the start of lowering the boat, but when I looked over to see what had happened, there was a young officer trying to climb into the bows. The stern post had been wrenched away from the sides, so that when the boat did get into the water she could not possibly keep afloat.

1797. At that time we know there was a very heavy list on?
– I know there was a bit of a list. When I got on to the deck there was a greater list than later on. The ship appeared to me to gradually right herself, because when I got to the second boat we were able to shove the boat out and had got her clear when we got orders to clear the boats, all women to come out.

1798. That was the boat opposite the reading room, was it?
– No, that boat had gone. I came next to the boat opposite the main entrance and we had filled that boat.

1799. Was that on the starboard or the port side?
– On the port side. We had filled her with women and children and we were trying to shove her out, the list having brought the boat in. We stood on the collapsible boat and tried to shove her out, and while we were attempting to do it the list was so great that the number of men there at the time could not do it. We called for more men; we had not much purchase as we were standing on top of the collapsible boat, but finally we got steady and with one shove got her clear and lowered her a foot or so, when the order came “Stop lowering the boat. Clear the boat,” and we got everyone out.

1800. Where did that order come from?
– I believe from the staff captain from the bridge.

1801. That was Captain Anderson?
– Yes.

1802. Did you know it was he who gave that order?
– I will swear that it was he.

1818. Did Captain Anderson express any opinion as to the ship floating?
– Yes. He said: “She is not going t o sink; there is no danger.”

The material presented on this page has been researched by Peter Engberg-Klarström. Copyright 2017 Peter Engberg-Klarström.
Feel free to use the research, but please refer to my research if used in publications or if published or posted on other pages on the Internet



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