Harry Bradley Baldwin was born in New York City, in the United States of America, on the 2nd February 1867, the son of Joseph Clark and Emma Jane Baldwin (née Mood). He had three brothers, one older and two younger.
On the 29th May 1897, he married to Mary Margaret McCauley in St. Mark’s Church, Chicago, Illinois, and the family home was at 11, East 68th Street in New York City. Their marriage did not produce children. He was a freight broker and a director of Austin, Baldwin & Company of 44, Whitehall Street, in New York. In 1915, his annual salary was S12,000.00, and he also earned on average $30,000.00 per annum on dividends from the stock he owned. He was also in receipt of $3,600.00 per annum from a trust fund established under the last will and testament of his late father.
In the spring of 1915, perhaps in the pursuit of his work, he booked saloon passage to England on the
Lusitania for himself and his wife and they joined the liner on the morning of 1st May at her berth at Pier 54 in New York harbour, with ticket number 46056. Joining the vessel in time for her sailing, they were escorted to room A22, which was the personal responsibility of First Class Bedroom Steward John Perry, who came from Seaforth, on the outskirts of Liverpool.
The vessel actually left New York in the early afternoon of 1st, as she had been delayed by having to embark passengers, cargo and some crew from the Anchor Liner
Cameronia which had been taken up for war work by the British Admiralty and it was then, that Harry Baldwin would have had his last glimpse of New York.
Just six days later, he was dead, killed along with his wife, after the liner was torpedoed and sunk, off The Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland, by the German submarine
U-20. At that time, she was only hours away from her Liverpool destination.
As the bodies of neither of the Baldwin’s were recovered and identified afterwards, neither has a known grave. Harry Baldwin was aged 48 years.
In The Tragedy of The Lusitania, published in the United States of America in 1915, its author Captain Frederick D. Ellis, stated: -
The hand of fate seemed to have especially planned the death of Harry B. Baldwin. president of the Austin, Baldwin Co., freight contractors, and his wife, both of whom were among those lost. Four times in the three months preceding the disaster Mr. Baldwin and his wife prepared for a trip to Europe, and on every occasion an unforeseen chance made a postponement of the voyage necessary. Finally, when the Lusitania was announced to sail, Mr. Baldwin and Mrs, Baldwin found no obstacle in their path and sailed to their death. (sic) “Yes, I’ll take a chance,” were the last words of Baldwin, as he left his apartment at No. 11 East Sixty-Eighth Street, when an elevator boy asked if he should risk the voyage.
Bedroom Steward Perry, who had looked after both the Baldwins in room A22, was also killed as a result of the torpedoing and never saw his Seaforth home again.
On 9th May 1915, a cable arrived at Cunard’s Liverpool office from the one in New York with a message concerning Harry Baldwin. It stated: -
Can you identify Harry B. Baldwin. Shoes made by Frank. Clothing by Scheme. Hat by Knox. Mole in hair, back of head. Upper front teeth patched with Porcelain Jewellery watch platinum chain, gold penknife, cigar cutter Height five feet six Weight 170 lbs. Accompanied by wife. Cooperate Stanley, Liverpool. Reply Kirkham, Care of Cunard.
Despite this fairly full description, Cunard was never able to send any good news to Kirkham or anybody else.
After the War, the Mixed Claims Commission awarded his brother, Joseph Clark Baldwin Jr. the sum of $2,500.00 as executor of Harry’s estate. He was also survived by his brothers, William Mood, and Charles Lansing Baldwin.
1870 U.S. Federal Census, 1880 U.S. Federal Census, U.S. Passport Applications 1795 – 1925, Cunard Records, Mixed Claims Commission Docket No 2022, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO 22/71, PRO BT 100/345, Tragedy of the Lusitania, UniLiv.D92/1/6, Geoff Whitfield, Stuart Williamson, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly