Thursday 30th December 1915
Miss Eleanor Velasco Thornton, believed by many to have been Charles Skyes’ model for his Rolls Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, drowned after the SS Persia was torpedoed by the German submarine U-38 off the coast of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. At 22 she was the secretary of John Edward Scott-Montagu, who became the second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu in 1905. She became his mistress and they had an illegitimate daughter, Joan Eleanor Thornton that she gave up for adoption. The Probate Registry for June 1916 shows that her sister Rose (1887-1945), by that time the last surviving member of her immediate family, administered her will. Amongst her effects was probably a similar silver model of the Spirit Of Ecstasy, which it is presumed Rose kept. Rose married Gordon Willis Hayter in 1923, and many years later the silver model was stolen from the home of Dorothy Hayter, Gordon’s second wife.