James Todd was born in Douglas, in The Isle of Man in 1878, the son of William and Mary Todd. He was married to a widow, Catherine Alice Curphey (née Kelly) in Douglas on the 23rd November 1893, and in 1915 they lived at 6, Hanover Street, Douglas. The couple had no children.
He was a professional seaman in the mercantile marine, working for The Cunard Steam Ship Company out of Liverpool.
On 12th 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., (£5.50p.), £1-10s-0d. (£1.50p.), of which was advanced to him at the time. He reported for duty on board the liner at 7 a.m. on 17th April before she left The River Mersey for the very last time. It was not his first voyage on the vessel.
Having completed her voyage to New York, the Lusitania began her return on 1st May 1915 and six days later, on the afternoon of 7th 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.
Following his ordeal, he managed to make his was home to Douglas, arriving there on the evening of Monday 10th May 1915. He was met by a representative of the Manx newspaper
Mona's Herald, but declined to make a statement, as he was expecting to be called to the inquest into the sinking. He did, however describe his escape as
a lucky one!
Some time after that, he returned to Liverpool to be officially discharged from the
Lusitania's final voyage and receive the balance of pay owing to him in respect of his service on the liner, during that time. This was reckoned to be from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after she had gone down.
1911 Census of the Isle of Man, Cunard Records, Island at War, Mona's Herald, PRO BT 100/345.