"A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man"
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt I, born Oct 20, 1877, was a member of the famous Vanderbilt family.
On May 1, 1915 he boarded the RMS Lusitania bound for Liverpool as a first class passenger. While off the coast of Ireland, a German U-boat torpedoed the ship, sinking the giant ocean liner within 18 minutes. Vanderbilt and his valet helped others into lifeboats. Vanderbilt had promised a young mother of a small baby that he would locate an extra lifevest for her. Failing to do so, he offered her his own life vest, which he proceeded to tie on to her himself since she was holding her infant child in her arms. Many consider his actions to be very brave and gallant since he could not swim.
Because of his fame, several people on the Lusitania who survived the tragedy were observing him while events unfolded at the time and they took note of his brave actions. He and his valet were among the 1198 passengers who did not survive the incident. His body was never recovered.