Gordon Ernest Ashcroft was born in 1891 at Formby near Liverpool, Lancashire, England, the son of Edgar Makin And Harriet H. Ashcroft. The family home was at 18 Fairholme Road, Great Crosby, Lancashire. His father was a merchant.
He engaged as a first class waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 and reported for duty on the morning of 17 April, before the liner left the River Mersey for the last time. As a first class waiter, his monthly rate of pay was £4-5s-0d (£4.25). It was not the first time that he had served on the Lusitania.
Having arrived without mishap in New York, Waiter Ashcroft was on board when the liner left in the early afternoon of 1 May 1915 for her return trip to Liverpool. Six days later he was killed when the vessel was sunk off the southern coast of Ireland by the German submarine U-20. He was aged 23.
A fortnight later on 22 May, southern Irish newspaper 'The Cork Examiner'
published a photograph of him under the title "INFORMATION WANTED":
Who was a member of the “Lusitania” Crew. Further details are as follows: - Height 5 ft.10 in.; eyes grey ; complexion fresh. It is known that his dress consisted of pale blue flannels, and that they would possibly bear the vendor’s name, “Watson Prickard“, Liverpool."
Despite the advertisement, presumably inserted by his family, no sign of Waiter Ashcroft’s body was ever recovered and identified, so as a result, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
Administration of his estate was granted to his father on 11 June 1915 at Liverpool. His effects amounted to £202-0s-9d (£202.04), quite a large sum for a waiter to have accumulated in 1915.
In August 1915 Gordon Ashcroft’s father also received the balance of wages due to his son in respect of his sea service from 17 April to 8 May 1915, 24 hours after the great liner had gone down.
One of Ernest Ashcroft’s friends from Formby, First Class Waiter James Marshall, also lost his life as a result of the sinking.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cork Examiner, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Formby Times, Probate Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334.