Ellen Beard was born in Stockport, Cheshire, England, in 1887, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Beard. Her father was a house painter and decorator, and the family home was at 5. Robert Street, Heaton Norris, near Stockport.
In 1907, she married George Noble Bartley in Prestwich, Lancashire, and in 1910, a son, George Arthur, was born to the couple. This child was known to all as Arthur.
In February 1911, George Bartley immigrated to Canada in advance of his wife and son who were due to follow him as soon as he settled there, and when he settled in Welland, Ontario, they followed him in June of the same year. In February 1915, a second son, John Gordon, was born. Like his older brother, he was known by his second forename – Gordon.
In the spring of 1915, the family decided to return to England perhaps because of the war and consequently booked third class passage from New York to Liverpool on the May sailing of the
Lusitania. Having set out from Welland some time during April 1915, they arrived at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York on the morning of 1st May, in time for the liner’s scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing. This was delayed until the early afternoon, however, because she had to wait to embark passengers, some of the crew and the cargo from Anchor Liner
Cameronia which the British Admiralty had requisitioned at the end of April for war service as a troop ship.
The Lusitania finally left port just after mid-day and just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May; she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20. At that point, she was within twelve miles of the coast of southern Ireland and only 250 miles away from her destination.
All four members of the Bartley family perished as a result of the sinking and as none of their bodies was ever recovered and identified later, none has a known grave. Ellen Bartley was aged 28 years.
Miss M. Beard, Cheadle Royal, Cheadle, Cheshire, later wrote to the Cunard Steamship Company seeking work of her fate, but unfortunately they were able to offer no information.
Although the family have no final resting place but the sea, their names are remembered on the gravestone of the Bartley family in Philips Park Cemetery, Manchester.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, Cunard Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/228, UniLiv D92/2/362, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly