Lott Ketch Gadd was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales on 28 March 1871, the son of Edward and Selina Gadd. He was a gentlemen's barber and at some time had gone to Liverpool, Lancashire to seek employment on the transatlantic liners. He lived at 37 Salisbury Road, Liverpool with his wife Annie (née Blake) whom he married in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England in 1889.
On 12 April 1915 at Liverpool he engaged as one of the three barbers employed in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania. His monthly rate of pay was only £0-1s-0d (£0.50) which was presumably merely a retaining fee, with him being expected to earn a wage from his customers. He joined the liner at 7am on 17 April 1915 at Liverpool landing stage in time for her last ever voyage out of the River Mersey. It was not his first voyage on the Cunarder. The other two barbers serving on board ship were Jonathan Denton and Reginald Nice.
According to the book 'The Last Voyage of the Lusitania' by Adolph and Mary Hoehling, during the course of the return voyage to Liverpool Lott Gadd had managed to establish such a rapport with the famous American theatre impresario Charles Frohman that he was invited to a private drinks party in Frohman's cabin on the evening of Thursday 6 May 1915. It is possible of course that the barber had met Frohman before on one of the latter’s many transatlantic crossings.
Saloon passenger Frohman did not survive the sinking, but Gadd did, despite the ordeal of finding himself in charge of one of the lifeboats which was improperly launched and spilled its occupants into the sea.
Having been rescued from the sea and then landed at Queenstown, he eventually got back to Liverpool, where he was paid the balance of wages owed to him in respect of his service on board the
Lusitania. This was reckoned from 17 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the great liner had foundered.
Following his ordeal, Lott Gadd and his family relocated to Los Angeles, USA where he lived out the remainder of his life and died on 19 November 1945, aged 74 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, New York Passenger Lists, 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Last Voyage of the Lusitania, PRO BT 100/345, Western Mail.