John Thomas ‘Jack’ Bevan was born in Llwynpia, Glamorgan, Wales, in 1889, the son of Morgan and Ann Bevan (née Morgans), and one of seven children. His father was a coal miner, as were most of the men in the area. The family home was at 4. Ayton Terrace, Llwynpia.
On completion of his education, Jack followed in the footsteps of his father and became a coal miner. In 1909, he married Blodwen Evans, and the following year, the couple had a daughter, named Annie. Their home was at 14. Ayton Terrace, Llwynpia, in the same terrace of houses that jack had grown up on!
On the 31st May 1911, Jack boarded the S.S. Adriatic at Southampton and arrived at Ellis Island, New York, on the 9th June, from New York, he made his way to Bellaire, Ohio, where he had secured a job in one of the local coal mines.
In the spring of 1915, however, he decided to return to Wales, maybe because of the war and as a result, having left Bellaire some time in April, with ticket number 89444, on the morning of 1st May 1915 he joined the
Lusitania as a third class passenger at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York, in time for her scheduled 10.00 o’clock sailing for Liverpool.
He then had to wait until just after mid-day before she actually left, because she had to embark passengers, cargo and crew from the Anchor Liner
Cameronia, which had been requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war work as a troop ship at the end of April. Six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, within sight of the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from the safety of her home port.
Jack Bevan was killed as a result of this action and as his body was never recovered from the sea and identified afterwards, he has no known grave. He was aged 26 years. A survivor, John Francis Luker, wrote to Cunard on his return to England, enquiring if there was any account of Jack Bevan. The men had obviously become friendly on the voyage, perhaps sharing a cabin. Luker indicated that he understood Bevan was from Tonypandy, near Cardiff, Wales, which is close to Llwynpia.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/144, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Stuart Williamson, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly