CDR Joseph Foster Stackhouse

CDR Joseph Foster Stackhouse

Birth
Kendal, South Lakeland District, Cumbria, England
Death 7 May 1915 (aged 50–51)
At Sea
Burial Cobh, County Cork, Ireland
Plot Quaker
Memorial ID 53143457 · View Source
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Commander J. Foster Stackhouse, USN retired, was sailing on the Lusitania to be reunited with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter in London, England and traveling with Robert Dearbergh. Stackhouse is also said to have sailed in connection with his work on the Belgian Relief Fund Commission. He was a Quaker and lived at the Lotos Club.
Stackhouse was planning to lead the British Antarctic and Oceanographical Expedition to survey the Antarctic coastline. He had hoped to purchase from the Hudson Bay Company the Discovery, a ship once belonging to Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Stackhouse had put down a £1000 deposit on the ship, hoping to be ready by 1916. An article in the Sunday, 9 May 1915 New York Times said that he had been in the US to raise "funds for an expedition to chart unmapped islands in the Pacific Ocean. He had succeeded in getting promises of nearly $900,000 for his contemplated work"
The explorer also "had a theory that the sinking of the Titanic was due to the iceberg that she struck being held on a submerged rock, and he believed that if surveys and soundings of the paths of navigation could be made it would result in tremendous benefit to the world."
Stackhouse's cabin on the Lusitania was A-34. Fellow passenger Harold Boulton was convinced that Stackhouse was a British agent on a secret mission. He was not alone in such sentiments and such rumors persisted.
On the day of the disaster, Boulton sat down in the verandah café with Commander Stackhouse for a cup of coffee. Stackhouse was busy explaining to Boulton "how the Lusitania could never be torpedoed, that the watches had been doubled, and the people were looking out, and they'd see the periscope of the submarine a mile away . . .. And in the middle of his trying to prove . . . that the Lusitania could not be torpedoed," Stackhouse was interrupted by "two almost simultaneous explosions."
Water and debris crashed through the glass roof and the two men ran outside.
Lt. Frederick Lassetter then saw Commander Stackhouse, and the Commander told Lassetter to look for his mother. When Lassetter and his mother returned, they saw Stackhouse give his lifebelt to a little girl and assist with loading the lifeboats. He was explaining to those he helped that he could not join them because "There are others who must go first."
During the Lusitania make her final plunge, Lassetter from his relative safety in the water, saw Commander Stackhouse standing calmly on the stern.
Stackhouse's body recovered as #211 and identified by Friday, May 14. He was buried by relatives in Cork in a Quaker graveyard. The contents of his pocket were given to his wife, and including a slip of paper on which he had written, perhaps just moments before the end, "Let mercy be our boast, and shame our only fear."


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  • Created by: Brett Williams
  • Added: 1 Jun 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 53143457
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for CDR Joseph Foster Stackhouse (1864–7 May 1915), Find a Grave Memorial no. 53143457, citing Old Church Cemetery, Cobh, County Cork, Ireland ; Maintained by Brett Williams (contributor 47234529) .