Neil Clyde was born in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1859, the son of Neil and Annie Clyde. His family moved from their native Scotland to Liverpool when Neil was very young. In 1885 Neil married Elizabeth Jones in Liverpool and for a time the couple resided in Birkenhead, but by 1911 they had moved to 15 Berwick Street, Liverpool, Lancashire. The couple had seven children.
Neil was a professional seaman in the mercantile marine and on 12 April 1915 he engaged as an able seaman in the Deck Department on board the
Lusitania, at a monthly rate of pay of £5-10s-0d (£5.50), £1-10s-0d (£1.50) of which was advanced to him at the time. He reported for duty on board the liner at 7am on 17 April before she left Liverpool Landing Stage for the last time. It was not the first time that he had served on the vessel.
Having completed her voyage to New York, the Lusitania began her return on 1 May 1915 and six days later on the afternoon of 7 May 1915 she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20 within sight of the southern coast of Ireland and only 250 miles away from her home port.
Able Seaman Clyde survived the sinking and having been rescued from the sea he was landed at Queenstown from where he eventually made it back to Liverpool. Some time after that he was officially discharged from the
Lusitania's final voyage and received the sum of £4-0s-8d (£4.03) which was the balance of pay owing to him in respect of his service on the liner from 17 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the liner had been sunk. According to the 'Particulars of Discharge'
ledger, which all discharged seamen were required to sign by the Board of Trade, Able Seaman Clyde was "unable to sign, nerves".
In June and July 1915 he was called to give evidence at the official enquiry conducted into the sinking, chaired by Lord Mersey at Caxton Hall in London. A photograph of him and five other crew member survivors appeared in the national press at the time.
He continued to serve with the Cunard Steamship Co Ltd for a number of years following his survival, most notably on the
Neil Clyde died in Liverpool in late 1935, aged 76 years.
Register of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345.