Name, Leon Chester Thrasher; age, last birthday, 31; single; sex, male; profession, engineer; country of residence for last twelve months, Gold Coast Colony, West Africa; country of intended residence for next twelve months, the same; country of which citizen or subject, United States of America; present address, 29 Cartwright Gardens, St. Pancras, W.C.
When Mr. Thrasher went on board the Falaba he produced an American passport.
The British Official Press Bureau on April 8 issued the following report on the destruction of the Falaba:
It is not true that sufficient time was given the passengers and the crew of this vessel to escape. The German submarine closed in on the Falaba, ascertained her name, signaled her to stop, and gave those on board five minutes to take to the boats. It would have been nothing short of a miracle if all the passengers and crew of a big liner had been able to take to their boats within the time allotted.
While some of the boats were still on their davits the submarine fired a torpedo at short range. This action made it absolutely certain that there must be great loss of life and it must have been committed knowingly with the intention of producing that result.
The conduct of all on board the Falaba appears to have been excellent. There was no avoidable delay in getting out the boats. To accuse the Falaba’s crew of negligence under the circumstances could not easily be paralleled.
[By The Associated Press.]
BERLIN, April 13, (via Amsterdam to London, April 14.)—A semi-official account of the sinking of the British steamer Falaba by a German submarine on March 28 was made public here today. It follows:
On receiving the signal “Stop, or I fire,” the Falaba steamed off and sent up rocket signals to summon help, and was only brought to a standstill after a chase of a quarter of an hour.
Despite the danger of an attack from the steamer or from other vessels hurrying up, the submarine did not immediately fire, but signaled that the steamer must be abandoned within ten minutes. The men of the Falaba quickly entered the boats, although the launching took place in an unseamanlike manner. They failed to give assistance, which was possible, to passengers struggling in the water.
From the time of the order to leave the ship until the torpedo was discharged not ten but twenty-three minutes elapsed, prior to which occurred the chase of the steamer, during which period time might have been used to get the boats ready.
The torpedo was fired only when the approach of suspicious-looking vessels, from which an attack was to be expected, compelled the commander of the submarine to take quick action. When the torpedo was discharged nobody was seen on board the ship except the Captain, who bravely stuck to his post.