The late Vera Farrell pictured back in 2011
Vera Farrell, the daughter of Kildare Lusitania survivor, Tom McCormack, has passed away.
Vera, who was in her early nineties, was honoured at Naas Library in 2015 on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. The Oughterard, Straffan resident told the Leader in an interview in 2011 that her father didn't speak much about the terrible atrocity when she was growing up.
Tom McCormack from Robertstown, bravely dived 40ft off the deck of the Lusitania after the liner was struck by a torpedo in 1915 off the Old Head of Kinsale. He managed to swim to safety as it plunged into the sea.
“He said the back end of the ship went down first and there was a huge mill up of people at the bottom. He had to scramble up along the ship and then he dived into the water. He jumped 30ft/ 40ft into the sea. It went down in 15 minutes. They didn’t get time to load the boats. He swam for a while and then he found a life jacket and he kept afloat until he was rescued by a fishing boat,” Vera said back in 2011.
Tom was on board on his way home after spending two years working in America. Its understood the ship sank within a quarter of an hour, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board. The sinking caused massive controversy because the vessel was carrying civilian passengers. The disaster also prompted the US to enter World War I.
Vera was a popular local woman and was well regarded within the community. She passed away peacefully at her residence this morning. She is predeceased by her husband John, and will be greatly missed by her daughters, Christine, Dolores, Bernadette and Angela, and sons Oliver, Paric and Fintan, daughters in law, sons in law, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, relatives and friends.
She will be reposing at her residence on Thursday from 12 noon, with rosary at 8pm. Removal on Friday at 6.30pm to arrive at St. Anne's Church, Ardclough at 7pm. Funeral mass on Saturday at 11am, followed by burial in Oughterard cemetery.