The Lomas Family


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Joseph Lomas, his wife Elizabeth, and their three children, Terence age 6, Joan age 4, and Margaret age 3 were the only family on the Nerissa. Sadly they all perished in the sinking.

It’s strange how fate plays a part in our lives but if Erich Topp had only fired one torpedo into the Nerissa the Lomas family would have been saved. The Navy’s Ledsham was helping get No.2 boat launched and two officers were helping Joseph and Elizabeth Lomas get their three children into it. Having made it to their lifeboat station and boarded No.2 lifeboat they were so close to successfully evacuating the stricken ship. In seconds RSM Edwards saw all seven and the boat disappear in the second torpedo explosion. They were all thrown into the sea. We know from reports that Terence Lomas was helped onto a raft by Alfred Baldwin Raper but slipped off the raft during the night. Also, we know that the two stewardesses, Hilda Lynch and Florence Jones, gave their lifebelts to two of the Lomas children.

Elizabeth was born in Scotland but moved to London with her family when she was about 18 years old. Here she met and married Joseph Lomas. They lived in Camberwell and this was where the three children were born. They later moved to Charlton and lived a few doors away from where Elizabeth’s mother Ellen was living with her sister and the rest of the family. Joe was working at Woolwich Arsenal as a carpenter. After war broke out a chance arose for them to go to Canada and escape the heavy bombing of the London blitz. In 1940 the offer of employment was taken up and they made the long journey to live and work in Canada. Elizabeth never settled and was so homesick for her mother that she and Joe decided to return to England. They were told they could remain in Canada until the end of the war even though Joe’s work contract had ended but they took the terrible risk of boarding an armed troopship with three small children and paid the ultimate price. Elizabeth wanted to surprise her mother by arriving unannounced so no prior notice was sent of her intention to return to England. They probably didn’t realize that the ship they were boarding was to sail unescorted and that it was carrying shells and heavy motor trucks. Elizabeth’s mother never got over the loss of her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Family Contact:

Brian Wade – nephew.