Sheridan, Arthur (child)

Arthur Sheridan was a boy, aged, 7, who was on the Morro Castle with his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Sheridan, and his uncle, Thomas Featherstone. Of the three, only Mrs. Sheridan escaped. He resided at 187 Hanover Street in Wilkes Barre with his mother and uncle.

”Mrs. Sheridans’ story of throwing her son overboard and following him with her brother, ended fears of relatives that the younger might have burned to death on the liner.”
Arthur Sheridan was a student in the third grade of the Conyngham public school building.”
(Wilkes Barre Times Leader, 10 September 1934, p. 4)

One newspaper revealed that Mrs. Davidson, who survived, kept the boy company for several hours in the water.


Torrealday, Ciriaco

Ciriaco Torrealday was a butcher on the Morro Castle. He was born in Spain 9 April 1896. In 1934, he lived at 43 Cherry Street, New York City. He was rescued by the Monarch of Bermuda.

Torres, William

William Torres, was 39, and seems to have lived in New Mexico. He was a Nightwatchman on the Morro Castle and had been born 16 Aug 1899. He was rescued in boat 9. He may have passed away 12 Feb 1995 in Palm Beach, Florida.


Daily News 14 September 1934

”William Torres, a night watchman told Department of Commerce Board that he had helped to lower two life boats, Nos. 11 and 9. Ten to 12 got into No. 11, he said. He was asked who went in No. 9. ”Just me and another sailor who jumped in,” the seaman said. ‘(The Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 September 1934, p. 9)

Willmott, Robert Rennison

Robert Rennison Willmott. He was the Captain of the Morro Castle. He had been born 15 February 1878 in Congresbury, Somerset, England, to Robert Kingston, a grocer and master draper born about 1852 at Congresbury and Annie Agnes Willmott, born about 1847 at Kendal, Westmorland, England. He became a naturalized citizen of the USA on 18 February 1904. He died shortly before the fire which destroyed the ship. Indigestion has been suggested as cause of death.

Captain Willmott

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 9 September 1934

”Morro Castle Commander Praised for His 31 Years Devotion to Ward Line

Funeral services for Captain Robert R. Willmott, of the ill-fated Morro Castle were conducted last night by Dr. D. Ernest McCurry, pastor of the Wells-Memorial Presbyterian Church, at the Fairchild Funeral Chapel, Jamaica.
Masonic rites were conducted by John Vogt, Jr., and the Rev. Paul M. Spencer of the Church of the Stranger, W. 57th St., Manhattan. Many officials of the Ward Line attended the services. Among them were M. O. Vano, assistant to the vice president; Raphael W. Hill, fourth officer of the Morro Castle, who was on vacation at the time of the tragedy; N. Kvandi, terminal superintendent; Capt. Harris A. Church of the S. S. Cauto, and Robert Griner, a retired official.
Praises Captain’s Record

‘Captain Willmott, ” said Mr. Vano, ”was one of our best men. He devoted 31 years of faithful service to the Ward Line, four of which, were spent as commanding officer of the Morro Castle. He also worked on the construction of the steamer. ”
The captain died Sept. 8, about five hours before the fire was discovered on the liner. His death was accredited at the time to heart trouble by the ship’s doctor, Dr. DeWitt C. Van Zile, who was among those who died in the disaster.
Captain Willmott is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mathilda Willmott, of 200-07 104th Ave., Hollis, and a niece, Miss Anna Willmott. The interment was to be in Greenwood cemetery today. A guard of honor will be provided from the U. S. S. Seattle.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 18 September 1934, p. 13).

Willmot again

Belvidere Daily Republican 10 September 1934

”                           No Poison Found in Captain’s Body

New York, Sept. 20 (A. P.) – Alexander O. Gettler, Bellevue Hospital toxicologist, announced today that the charred remains of Captain Robert Willmott, master of the burned steamship, Morro Castle, who died several hours before his ship was destroyed, contained no trace of poison.
The analysis was ordered because of persistent rumors that Captain Willmott had med with foul play.
The analysis of the remains showed traces of lead, copper and brass, which, the toxicologits (sic) said, were due to the presence of melted metals in the ruins of the cabin where the master’s body was found after the fire had burned itself out.
There was no trace of any foreign toxic substances, Dr. Gettler said.”
(The Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 September 1934, p. 4)


Wilson, Richard

Richard Wilson, 39, was a Junior Engineer on the Morro Castle. He stated he lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. No trace could be found of him after the disaster, and he was subsequently listed as ”missing” in the Dickerson Hoover report. Three other crewmembers were also listed as ”missing,” together with six passengers. There is a small chance that he in fact survived the disaster but never reported this fact to the authorities.

”Richard Wilson of 179 Palisade Avenue, Jersey City, a junior engineer on the Morro Castle, was reported missing. Investigation revealed that he had not lived at that address in the last three years.” (Jersey Observer, 10 September 1934, p. 6) In 1930, he lived as a roomer with the Allen Reed family at 88 Prospect Street in Jersey City, aged 43, and was listed as a steamship engineer born in Germany.

Ross, Alexander Godfrey

Alexander Godfrey Ross was 19 years old and was noted as a Federal Mail Cadet or Deck Cadet on the Morro Castle. He lived at 217 Hamilton Avenue, Staten Island and had been born 28 December 1914 in New York City. He was the son of Alexander Victor Ross, born 21 June 1887 at Inverness, Scotland, who was a passenger (railway) ticket agent and later worked for an engineering firm in (?) Arizona, and Frances (nee Godfrey; born 22 July 1884 in Hawaii) Ross. In 1920, they lived in Brooklyn, Kings, New York. Godfrey was 5 years old at the time and appears to have had no sibling. His mother Frances died 15 May 1928, and his father married Marion Herault 20 October 1929. In 1930, Alexander/Godfrey no longer lived with his parents. He was a sailor from (at the latest) 24 April 1934. No trace of him could be found after the disaster and he was subsequently listed as ”missing.”

Ferner, Ramon L.

Ramon L. Ferner was 18 years old and a wiper in the Engine room on the Morro Castle. He was the son of Arthur Matthew, a construction supervisor born 21 June 1891 in New Jersey, and Beatrice L. Ferner, born about 1897 in New York. The family lived at Lyndhurst, New Jersey. No trace was found of him after the disaster and he was subsequently listed as ”missing.”

”John Smith, 47, of 641 New Jersey avenue, Lyndhurst, a steward on the Morro Castle for two yeas and one of those rescued, told of the heroism of Ramn (sic) Ferner, young engine wiper of 435 Jouncey avenue, Lyndhurst, who is believed lost. Smith said that Ferner worked with the crew in getting away several of the lifeboats and cast off the rope in releasing the last boat and then jumped into the sea. ‘We saw him swimming towards the lifeboat, but the swell was so heavy that we could not reach him. Each wave widened the distance and then he disappeared,’ said Smith.” (Jersey Observer 10 September 1934, p. 6)

Alvarez, Carlos

Carlos Alvarez was 27 years of age and a bedroom steward on the Morro Castle. He was from Havana, Cuba, but lived in New York City in 1934 – his address was noted as 1532 5th Avenue. No trace was found of him after the disaster and he was subsequently listed as ”missing” in the Dickerson Hoover report; there were three other crew members and six passengers in this category.  There is a small chance he in fact survived the disaster but never reported his survival to the authorities. He may well have served on other ships later on; In 1940, a Carlos Alvarez, born in Cuba about 1906, was a busboy at a restaurant, living in New York City. This Carlos Alvarez had been born 10 May 1906 in Cuba to Louis P. and Francisca Alvarez and died  22 April 1945 in Manhattan. He had lived at 107 East 101st Street, Manhattan, New York and was listed as a restaurant worker. Is it possible he was in fact the Carlos Alvarez who was listed as missing in the Morro Castle disaster? But then, again, he may well have been a victim of the disaster.

Zabala, Mrs. Ragna Katrine Karoline

Ragna Katrine Karoline Zabala, nee Bull. She had been born 10 December 1895 at Ålborg, Denmark, and was the daughter of Edward August Sofus (b. 25 August 1865 at Horsens, Ålborg, Denmark), and Thyra Mathilda Marie (nee Jensen; b. 31 July 1869). Her parents had married 24 May 1891 at Copenhagen, Denmark. She had at least one brother;  Thorvald Carl Anton Gerhard (b. 7 August 1891) The Bull family belonged to the Church of Denmark. She was a stewardess on the Morro Castle. She married Luciano Zabala on 12 December 1930 in Kings, New York. She was born in Denmark. She was identified 10 September.
”Through an inadvertent error it was stated in last Friday’s Eagle that Ragna Zabala, mother American-born four-year-old Luciano Zabala, was a former maid of Mrs. W. C. Goodson.
Mrs. Zabala, who died in the Morro Castle disaster, was not Mrs. Goodson’s maid, but her assistant in the operation of a tea room. The boy, whose father died when he was 18 months old, was being cared for by his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Mariano Zabala, who two years ago went to Busturia, the Basque province, to live. Busturia is near Guernica, which was destroyed by rebel airships, and it was feared that his foster parents might have perished in the bombing. Should that be the case, Mrs. Goodson offered to adopt the boy. The boy’s uncles, Andrew and Lorenzo Zabala, both, like his father, head chefs on Ward Line boats, live at 404 6th Ave. Lorenzo’s family, including his wife and four daughters, are also in Spain. Although he has cabled repeatedly he has not been able to reach them since the outbreak of the revolution.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10 May 1937, p. 14).
Mrs. Zabala had been a stewardess before; in 1925 she worked on the Huron and in 1930 she had been a stewardess on the Morro Castle. Survivor Andrew Zabala, a fireman on the ship, was her stepson.