Harry Ryde George Allport was born in Stepney, Middlesex, England on 9 May 1880, the son of Joseph Ryde and Grace Mary Angel Allport (née Leaver). He was baptized into the Anglican Church in the Parish of St James Ratcliff in Middlesex on 19 June 1880. Either in child birth or shortly after his birth, his mother died and he resided for a time with the church sexton John Theobold and his family at 13 Butcher Row, Ratcliff, Stepney, London, Middlesex.
Harry’s father was a ship’s steward, and Harry was eventually sent to live with his grandparents, Joseph and Catherine Allport at 105 Belgrave Road, Toxteth Park, Liverpool. His father remarried in London in 1887, to a woman named Emily Eastham, and eventually moved to Auckland, New Zealand.
In 1893 Harry travelled to New Zealand to join his father and step-mother, however, shortly after his arrival in Auckland he believed that his father had died and his step-mother was unable to provide for him. He found employment as a cabin boy and saved enough money to pay his fare to Sydney, Australia, in 1896. Harry found work for a while in a cafe, but eventually ended up living homeless on the streets of Sydney, having no relatives or friends to turn to. He was advised to seek the help of the authorities and was sent to a reformatory school on an old sailing ship named the Sobraon, which was moored off Cockatoo Island in Sydney harbour.
Harry eventually returned to England and found work with the Cunard Steam Ship Company as a steward. He served on a number of vessels and engaged as the Second Saloon Steward in the Stewards Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool for her intended return voyage to America in April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £4-5s-0, (£4.25). He reported for duty on the early morning of 17 April 1915 before she left Liverpool Pier Head for the very last time and one week later he arrived safely at her New York destination.
He was still serving in the same capacity when the liner began the return leg of her voyage to Liverpool on the early afternoon of 1 May 1915. When the liner sank off the Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland on the afternoon of 7 May 1915, Harry Allport was one of the lucky survivors. He was aged 35 years.
Harry Allport eventually returned to Liverpool and was paid the balance of wages owing to him in respect of his time on board the
Lusitania, which was counted from 17 April until 8 May 1915, 24 hours after the liner had gone down. This balance amounted to £4-9s-6d, (£4.47½).
Harry continued to serve as a ship’s steward with the Cunard Steam Ship Company for many years, maintaining addresses in Southampton and New York, where he resided with his wife, Mary. On his retirement he moved to Orange County in California where he died on 5 November 1966, aged 86 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, London England Births and Baptisms 1831 – 1903, Cunard Records, PRO BT 350.