Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-vkn6t Total loading time: 0.387 Render date: 2022-08-15T11:01:25.001Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

3 - Sea Change: A Meditation upon Frank Bridge’s Lament: To Catherine, Aged 9, ‘Lusitania’ 1915

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2021

Eric Saylor
Associate Professor, musicology (Drake University)
Christopher M. Scheer
Associate Professor, musicology (Utah State University)
Byron Adams
Professor of Music University of California at Riverside
James Brooks Kuykendall
Professor of Music Erskine College
Charles Edward McGuire
Professor of Musicology Oberlin College Conservatory
Alyson McLamore
Professor / Music Department, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Louis Niebur
Associate Professor of Musicology University of Nevada, Reno
Jennifer Oates
Associate Professor of Musicology and Librarianship Queen's College-City University of New York
Justin Vickers
Assistant Professor of Music Artist Teacher of Voice Illinois State University
Amanda Eubanks Winkler
Associate Professor of Music History and Cultures Director of Undergraduate Studies, Music History and Cultures Program
Frances Wilkins
Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen
Get access


Full Fathom Five

7 MAY 1915. The luxurious Cunard liner RMS Lusitania was some eleven miles from the Irish coast, moving towards port after a transatlantic crossing marked by apprehension and rumour among the passengers and crew. Lulled by the short time left to the voyage, the passengers basked in the balmy spring weather. After enjoying a sumptuous lunch, some passengers strolled about on the decks admiring the clear sky and the brilliant blue of the northern sea. Children, of which there were an unusually high number on this voyage, played on the decks – those whose parents had booked a first-class passage enjoyed the amenities of a specially appointed playroom.

Among those children was Catherine Mary, the third eldest child of Paul and Gladys Crompton, who had a family of no less than six high-spirited children. Indeed, the Crompton children were so boisterous that the fastidious socialite Theodate Pope, who was assigned a nearby cabin, insisted that her stateroom be changed because of the ‘very noisy family’ next door. Paul Crompton was a successful British businessman, the vice-president of the Surpass Leather Company, who had decided to move his lively brood back to London from their Philadelphia home at the corner of St Martin's and Hartwell Lanes in the affluent suburb of Chestnut Hill. Given the nature of Paul Crompton's business, the family was peripatetic: Catherine was the only child born in London, as three of her siblings were born in Philadelphia, her sister Alberta in South America, and the eldest boy, Stephen, in Vladivostok, Russia. While the Crompton family settled in America in 1904, they still registered their permanent address in 1915 as a house in Kensington. As they had just shut up their house in Chestnut Hill, it seems likely that the family was moving back to London permanently. They had packed all of their papers and photograph albums and had taken them on board.

Then, just after 2:00 p.m., along with the rest of the passengers and crew, Catherine felt a sharp concussion and heard two explosions in rapid succession, followed by a violent shudder. A torpedo, launched by the German submarine U-20 on the orders of its captain, Walter Schwieger, caused the first explosion;

Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats