Thomas Bloomfield was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 27th October 1863, the son of Thomas and Cecilia Bloomfield (née Flynn). He had two brothers David and James, and two sisters – Mary and Cecelia. He graduated from the University of Oxford with a law degree, before he emigrated to the United States of America in 1882.
He graduated from the Law department of Columbia University in New York, and was admitted to the bar of the States of New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Illinois, residing at various times in each of these States. He specialized in casualty underwriting and reinsurance cases. He sought United States citizenship, which was granted to him, on 11th May 1892.
On 19th January 1901, he married Elizabeth Ann “Bessie” Ellms, in Manhattan, New York City. Bessie had been born in Indiana. The couple had no children and lived at 24, Broadway, New York City.
Thomas was employed as the manager of the casualty department of an insurance corporation engaged in the insurance brokerage business in New York. His annual salary was $6,000.00.
In the spring of 1915, his legal duties led him to return to his native land and as a consequence, he booked saloon passage on the
Lusitania for his passage from New York to Liverpool.
Arriving at the Cunard berth in the harbour on the morning of 1st May, with ticket number 46055, he boarded the vessel and was escorted to his accommodation in room D25, which was the personal responsibility of First Class Bedroom Steward William McLeod who came from Birkenhead, on the opposite side of the River Mersey from Liverpool. McLeod was a long established ‘time-server’ with the Cunard Steamship Company and had reached the rank of Chief First Class Bedroom Steward, but was serving in an ordinary capacity on what became the Lusitania’s final Atlantic crossing.
The liner’s departure from her berth at Pier 54 was delayed until just after mid-day and then she slipped into the North River and her appointment with destiny! Six days later, she was torpedoed and sunk off the southern coast of Ireland by the German submarine
U-20, within a few hours sailing time of her home port.
Thomas Bloomfield was one of the many saloon passengers killed as a result of the torpedoing and as his body was never recovered and identified afterwards, he has no known grave. He was aged 51 years.
On 15th May 1915, newspaper The Norwich Mercury, stated: -
Mr. James Bloomfield, boat owner, of Yarmouth, states that his brother was a passenger on the Lusitania. He was coming over from New York to take part in some legal proceedings in this country, being a solicitor. Mr. Bloomfield had not, up to Saturday, heard any tidings of his brother.
Nor would he ever!
Bedroom Steward McLeod, who had looked after Thomas Bloomfield in room D25 also perished in the sinking and never saw the River Mersey again.
In the summer of 1915, Thomas Bloomfield’s bedridden mother applied for financial assistance to The Lusitania Relief Fund, which had been set up after the disaster by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other worthy dignitaries, to help those survivors and relatives of the dead, who found themselves in difficulties as a result of the sinking. The committee administering the fund awarded her the sum of £5-0-0 as a final settlement, stating that the claim was a very slender one.
His widow was later awarded the sum of $45,000.00 by the Mixed Claims Commission for the loss of her husband. She died in 1960.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England & Wales, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1900 U.S. Federal Census, 1910 U.S. Federal Census, New York Marriage Index 1866 – 1937, U.S. Passport Applications 1795 – 1925, Massachusetts Passengers and Crew Lists 1820 – 1963, Cunard Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Liverpool Record Office, Mixed Claims Commission Docket No. 245, Norwich Mercury, PRO 22/71, PRO BT 100/345, Graham Maddocks, Dick Rayner, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly