Sydney Crawford Kelly was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, in 1888, the son of John and Alice Ann Kelly. His father was an engineer fitter. Sydney Kelly was unmarried and lived at the family home, 57 Walsingham Road, Seacombe, Wallasey, Cheshire.
He was a professional marine engineer and had served his apprenticeship with The Alexandra Towing Company and which he served with the Larringa and Joseph Holt lines. During this time, he obtained his Board of Trade Second, First and Extra First Class certificates.
On 12th April 1915, he engaged on the Lusitania at Liverpool as Intermediate Fifth Engineer at a monthly rate of pay of £11-10s-0d., (£11.50p.) and reported for duty five days later before the liner left Liverpool for the last time, on her way to New York. Having completed her voyage there, she left the port on the afternoon of 1st May and was torpedoed and sunk six days later, by the German submarine
U-20. At that time, she was within sight of the southern Irish coast and only about 250 miles from Liverpool.
Intermediate Fifth Engineer Kelly was killed as a result of the torpedoing. He was aged 27 years. His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a consequence, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, in London.
His name was also engraved on a brass plaque belonging to The Liverpool Branch of The Marine Engineers’ Association which used to be in The Britannia Rooms in The Cunard Building in Liverpool. Underneath the badge of the association was engraved: -
ROLL OF HONOUR
A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY
THE MEMBERS, WHO LOST
THROUGH ENEMY ACTION IN THE
GREAT WAR. 1914 - 1919
and then followed the names of the 226 former members.
The memorial is not in the building today, however and its present whereabouts, if it has survived, are not known.
On 13th July 1915, administration of his estate was granted to his father, his effects amounting to £148-12s-2d, (£148.61p). The balance of wages owed to him in respect of his service on the
Lusitania was also sent to his family in August 1915.
A further tragedy of his death was the fact that at the time of the Lusitania’s
last voyage, Engineer Kelly had decided to leave the sea and apply for a Board of Trade surveyorship.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, George Donnison, Marine Engineers’ Association Journal, Probate Records, PRO BT 100/ 345, PRO BT 334.