What Links the "Greyhound of the Seas" to a Chiswick Pub?

Linda Shields makes the connection via former landlord John Howell Burden

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The George & Devonshire in 2007

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On May 1 1915, the Lusitania left New York City bound for Liverpool. The 32,000 ton luxury liner, which had been built by John Brown on the Clyde, had 68,000 horse power engines capable of reaching an average speed of 25 knots.

The liner soon earned the nickname “Greyhound of the Seas” for the fastest ever Atlantic crossing and won the Blue Riband.

On May 7, as the ship neared the coast of Ireland, it was torpedoed by a German U boat and, after a mysterious second explosion, it was ripped apart. Within 18 minutes the ship slipped beneath the sea taking with it 1,119 of the 1,924 aboard.

The dead included 114 Americans and most of the crew including a certain young Assistant Purser, Arthur Howell Burden from Chiswick.

Arthur Howell Burden, aged 25, was the eldest son of John Howell Burden, of 90 Chiswick Lane. His body was recovered and sent from Queenstown on May 11, 1915 to Chiswick for burial. His funeral was held at All Saints Church and he was buried at the Chiswick Burial Ground.

Arthur had been a ‘well-known and highly respected young resident’ of Chiswick and among the many wreaths received at the funeral was one from the clerical staff of the Griffin Brewery where he had worked before giving up office life for the sea ‘for the benefit of his health’.

Arthur’s father, John Howell Burden, was, from 1919 to the day he died on 24 December 1935, aged 68 years, a publican at the George and Devonshire.

Linda Shields

October 17, 2007