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David’s Books

First to Die:
The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris

G. David Thayer and Kristin Delaplane
First to Die
This is the sad story of a disaster that never should have happened.

When the steamship Vestris pulled away from her Hoboken pier on a sunny day in November 1928, headed for Buenos Aires, carrying almost 8,000 tons of cargo, 128 civilian passengers, and 197 crew members, all seemed well. In truth, she was a decrepit old ship, not seaworthy in anything but the best of weather. The weather on this trip would prove too severe for this tired vessel.

She went down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, November 12, 1928, with the loss of 111 lives, most of them passengers. There were 214 survivors, 60 of them passengers.

These are their stories, told in their own words.

Published jointly by Rapidsoft Press and Our American Stories® LLC
First to Die reminds me of the comprehensive treatise on the capsizing of the steamer Eastland in the Chicago River done by George W. Hilton—Eastland: Legacy of the Titanic. The Vestris catastrophe has long needed a comprehensive dissertation, which you have now competently provided. My high esteem of your work is attested to by the fact that I have spent the better part of the last two days reading and rereading and rereading it.”

Robert T. Hess
Gore, VA

“A compelling and riveting account of a seemingly forgotten yet significant disaster.”

Captain Robert C. Beauregard
Waterman Steamship Corp.

“Congratulations on this important contribution to maritime history on a little-known subject.”

James J. Giammatteo
ships aficionado
Winchester, MA

About David Thayer


Desktop Publishing for the Twenty-First Century

G. David Thayer