Arthur Candlish was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, on 9th November 1881, the son of John and Margaret Candlish (née Murgatroyd). His mother died in 1886, and on 27th November 1887, his father, who was a joiner, re-married. With his second wife, Selina E. Candlish (née Goddard), he had two daughters – Florence Hannah, born in 1890, and Ada Lena, born in 1896.
On completion of his education, Arthur became a weaver, employed by Messrs. Wilding Brothers of Preston.
In April 1903, his father had immigrated to the United States of America, and settled in Taftville, Connecticut. Having established himself, he sent for his wife and two daughters, who joined him in October of the same year.
On the 27th August 1904, Arthur boarded the Campania at Liverpool, and set off to join his father and his family. He stayed with his father for a while, before moving onto Hartford, Connecticut, and then back to Taftville, and then settling for a while in the town of Lisbon. He eventually moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 1908, he began the process to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, and was granted citizenship on the 3rd October 1911. While going through the process of gaining citizenship, he had married Ellen Gardner, who was also a weaver, born in Preston, on the 14th July 1909 in Manhattan, New York City. By virtue of him being granted citizenship, his wife also became an American citizen.
Having become a naturalised U.S. citizen, Arthur and his wife decided to return to England in early 1912 to visit their relatives and enjoy a holiday. It is not known when they travelled to England, but on the 22nd June 1912, Arthur and Ellen Candlish boarded the Mauritania to return to their home, which was at 167. North Main Street, Pawtucket. The captain of the
Mauritania on that, and many other voyages, was one Captain William Thomas Turner.
In the spring of 1915, the Arthur and Ellen decided to return to England for another holiday. Consequently, they booked as second cabin passengers from New York to Liverpool on the
Lusitania, and joined the vessel in New York before the she sailed from there on 1st May 1915, on what became her final trans-Atlantic voyage. Captain William Thomas Turner was the captain of the
Lusitania at this time!
Six days later, after the liner was torpedoed and sunk, although Ellen Candlish survived, Arthur was killed. He was aged 33 years.
After her eventual rescue and return to Preston, Ellen Candlish gave an interview concerning her experiences of the sinking to a reporter from
The Lancashire Daily Post. This was published in the edition of 11th May 1915 and told of her husband’s fate. She said: -
Mrs. Candlish stated that when the vessel was struck, she and her husband immediately went to their cabins for their life-jackets. On regaining the deck, he tried to persuade her to enter a lifeboat, but she refused to go without him. They were standing, talking to each other when the ship took her final lurch. As the water washed over the decks, her husband was swept from her side. .....
Mrs. Candlish last heard of her husband from a gentleman, Mr. Gray who had sat opposite to him at table. Mr. Gray told her that he saw Mr. Candlish sitting on the top of an overturned boat, paddling with an oar. Neither Mr. Gray nor she have seen him since.
The exact identity of Mr. Gray is uncertain as there were two second cabin passengers of that name - James P. Gray and Robert D. Gray and both of them survived the sinking.
As Arthur Candlish’s body was ever recovered after the sinking, he has no known grave.
Ellen Candlish returned to the United States of America on board the Orduña on the 11th September 1915, after recovering from her ordeal and the shock of losing her husband, and she filed a claim for the loss of her husband and their property as a result of the sinking.
On 21st February 1924, the Mixed Claims Commission awarded her the sum of $10,000.00 for the loss of Arthur, and a further $682.00 for the loss of their joint property.
On 19th October 1920, Arthur’s father died, and his widow, Arthur’s step-mother, filed a claim for compensation which was brought before the Mixed Claims Commission. The Commission considered her claim, alongside that of Ellen Candlish, and made no award to her as she failed to prove any dependency on Arthur Candlish.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Lancashire England Church of England Births and Baptisms 1813 – 1911, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1910 U.S. Federal Census, 1915 Rhode Island State Census, New York Marriage License Index 1907 – 2018, Connecticut Federal Naturalization Records 1790 – 1996, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, UK Outgoing Passenger Lists 1890 – 1960, U.S. Passport Applications 1795 – 1925, Cunard Records, Mixed Claims Commission Docket No. 239 & 2199, Lancashire Daily Post, Liverpool Record Office, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/138, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.