Edward ‘Teddy’ Bond was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in July 1875, the second of four sons of Edward and Ellen Bond (née Pritchard). His mother died in August 1879, aged 33 years, when Edward was only three and his father then married his dead wife's sister, Sarah. This union was blessed with three children. Edward senior was a ship's steward, and after finishing his education at the Bluecoats School, Liverpool, Teddy also followed the same calling, by joining The Cunard Steam Ship Company, although technically under age. He would serve the company for the next fifty years. The 1891 census for Liverpool showed the family home then to be at 21 Mere Lane, Walton, Liverpool.
He was a small, slim man, just over 5 feet in height with jet black wavy hair and a very quiet gentlemanly manner. He married Mary Eleanor Beamish and they lived with their six children; Edward, Herbert (known as ‘Bert’), Queenie, Jack, Louisa and Harold, (known as ‘Spike’), at 29 Donaldson Street, Anfield, Liverpool, although they later moved to Landham Street, in the district of Everton. Bert and Spike Bond followed the family tradition and also went to sea.
Teddy Bond engaged on the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 as a first class bedroom steward in the Stewards' Department at a monthly rate of pay of £4-5s-0d, (£4.25). His special responsibility was for Rooms A1 to A15. He reported for duty at 7am on 17 April 1915, before the liner left the River Mersey for the last time. Although he was aged 39 at the time, he gave his age on engagement as 36 years.
After the ship was struck he jumped overboard and was swimming in the water trying to get away from the ship when she began to sink. Fellow crew member Saloon Steward Michael Shiel described what happened next, in an interview given to reporter George Harrison of 'The Evening Express' on 26 May 1955:
"My pal Teddy Bond, another steward from Merseyside was not able to swim far enough away from the ship as she finally sank. He was sucked down the funnel when she went down.
Then there was an explosion as the sea reached her boilers and guess what ..... Teddy was blown right out of the funnel again and we picked him up."
Saloon passenger JW McConnel from Manchester told of his experience of the sinking in 'The Manchester Guardian' on his return to his native city. He was pulled out of the sea by two seamen onto the upturned keel of a lifeboat and thereby saved. He stated:
"I think that the only other personal incident is that I was as black as a collier and my hair plastered with black mud. This was not from the first blast, as I had my shooting hat on then. It must have been got in one of my diving trips, and makes me partly believe the story of two of my companions on the boat keel - viz, that they had gone down one of the funnels and had been blown out again."
If McConnel was correct, then it is possible that one of his companions was Teddy Bond.
After this ordeal Bond was landed at Queenstown and was eventually repatriated to Liverpool. Eventually, in August 1915, he was officially discharged from the liner and given £4-9s-6d (£4.47½), the balance of wages owing to him, up to and including 8 May 1915, 24 hours after the sinking.
Curiously another male known to have been sucked down the funnel of the sinking ship and then expelled again was Saloon Passenger William Pierpoint who had been allocated Room A1 in the Saloon Passengers’ area. This room was under Teddy Bond’s control, so it is possible that as they both suffered the same experience, Bond was still trying to look after his passenger even as the ship sank.
Bedroom Steward Bond continued to sail with the Cunard Line throughout the rest of his working life, ending with the rank of Chief Linen Keeper. After all his years of service, he was very disappointed only to receive a letter of thanks, when he finally retired.
His daughter, Louisa Parry in a letter to the author in 1998 recounted:
"He always wore a bowler hat and was very smart. When at home, walking along the street, he would sway from side to side with a real seafarer’s roll and knock me off the pavement. He regularly brought back huge boxes of American chocolates, but they were not very nice!
He supported Everton Football Club and took me to football matches rather than my brothers. Although he was called ‘Teddy’ by friends and family, he was known as ‘Dixie Dean’ aboard ships."
Dixie Dean was a famous Everton Football Club player of the 1920s and 30s.
Teddy Bond died of a heart attack, aged 78 years, on 23 December 1954 at 15 Marlborough Road, Tuebrook, Liverpool, three months after the death of his wife Mary. His body was cremated at Anfield Crematorium, Liverpool.
Apart from William Pierpoint, other passengers known to have been sucked down the
Lusitania’s funnels and then expelled were second cabin passenger Mrs Margaret Gwyer, and third class passenger Harold W Taylor.
1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, Evening Express, Manchester Guardian, Tom Miller, Louisa Parry, PRO BT 100/345, PRO 22/71.