(Served as Reginald Maurice Bertrand)
Reginald Maurice Duckworth La Forge was born in Crosby, Liverpool, Lancashire, England in 1897, the son of Emile Bertrand and Alice La Forge. The family home was in Molyneux Street, Liverpool, but when he engaged for the Lusitania’s final voyage, Reginald gave his home address as 333, Upper Parliament Street, Toxteth, Liverpool. His mother is also known to have lived at The Huskisson Hotel, Huskisson Street, Toxteth, Liverpool
His parents were French and his father was also a chef in the Mercantile Marine and served on the Cunarders
Mauretania and Aquitania as well as on the vessels of other shipping lines. Although Reginald and other children were born in Liverpool, the family frequently moved from Liverpool to France and to Southampton, presumably in the course of Emile Bertrand’s career.
On 12th April 1915, Reginald La Forge engaged under the name of Bertrand, as an extra second cook in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania, at Liverpool. His monthly wage was £7. He reported for duty at 7 o’clock on the morning of 17th April, before the liner left the River Mersey for the last time. It was not his first voyage on the
Lusitania, however as he had served previously on board her as a larder cook.
He lost his life just three weeks later when she was sunk and his body was never recovered and identified afterwards.
As a consequence, his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London. It is also included in a Book of Honour in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. He was aged 18 years.
Cunard and Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show his name to be Laporge, but his niece, Ethel Turner, in a letter to the author in September 1998 confirmed it as La Forge.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Ethel Turner, PRO BT 334.