Thomas Kelly was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1889. He was married to Ann Kelly, (née Harvey) and at the time that he engaged as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the
Lusitania, he was living at the Liverpool Sailors’ Home.
This engagement occurred at Liverpool, on the 14th April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d, (£6.50p.), £1-0s-0d. of which was advanced to him at the time. He reported for duty three days later, at 8 a.m. on 17th April; in time for the vessel’s last ever voyage out of the River Mersey. It was not the first time that he had served as a fireman on the Cunarder.
Three weeks later, he was killed when the liner was torpedoed and sunk in sight of the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from her Liverpool destination. He was aged 26 years. As his body was never recovered and identified afterwards, he is commemorated on the memorial to the Missing of the Mercantile Marine, at Tower Hill, in London.
In August 1915, his widow Ann was paid the balance of wages still owed to him from his service on the
Lusitania which was reckoned from 17th April until 8th May 1915, 24 hours after the liner had been sunk.
By the time the Tower Hill Memorial was completed in 1928, Ann Kelly (née Harvey), had married again, and as Ann Caldwell, she lived with her new husband at 39, Torbock Street, off Soho Street, Vauxhall, Liverpool, Lancashire. However, the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission state that Trimmer Thomas Edward Kelly, who also lost his life in the sinking, had been married to Anne Kelly, (née Harvey) and the family home was at 9, Torbock Street. This might just be a coincidence, or it might indicate a transcribing error from the original records.
Despite his place of birth, Thomas Kelly does not appear on the memorial to the dead of the Newfoundland Mercantile Marine of the Great War, in Newfoundland Park at Beaumont Hamel on the Somme, in France. This may be because he was not serving on a Newfoundland vessel at the time he was killed.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334.