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History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site.
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historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the
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Agony and the Ecstasy: The great Rolls-Royce love story
You can still feel the regret and despair, heavy in every word. 'I should have got a stronger grip on her,' wrote Lord Montagu in a letter home from his sickbed in Malta in 1916, after being rescued from the wreckage of the SS Persia which was hit by a German torpedo while crossing the Mediterranean.
But to his enduring pain, Eleanor Thornton, his travelling companion, personal assistant and beloved mistress, had not been saved.
"My father was shattered by Thorn drowning," says his son, the 81-year-old current Lord Montagu, using his father's pet name for Eleanor.
Love at first sight: Eleanor Thornton and Lord Montagu
"Theirs was a great love affair. Although when he came back home he was badly injured, he spent days looking for Thorn, who had been thrown overboard, searching everywhere, hoping that somehow she would turn up."
Of course, she never did. But though the affair between the aristocrat and Eleanor Thornton ended with her death, their love was immortalised in the most unlikely of places.
It was the inspiration for the Rolls-Royce flying lady, or 'Spirit of Ecstasy', whose soaring curves are modelled on Thorn and recognised by motorists across the world as a symbol of quality and distinction.