David Henry Stanley was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 29th June 1878, the eldest child of David and Sarah Sophia Stanley. His mother died in 1880, and his father, who was a ship’s steward, remarried some years later. On completing his education, David found work as a clerk.
On the 5th April 1904, he married Phoebe Elizabeth Gertrude Dakin in Liverpool, and at some stage enlisted in the British mercantile Marine as a waiter on passenger liners.
In 1915 David and his wife lived at 63 Charlotte Road, Egremont, Wallasey with their children.
He engaged as a first class waiter in the Stewards’ Department on the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12th April 1915 at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d., (£4.25p.), and joined her on the morning of 17th April, for what became her final voyage out of the River Mersey. It was not the first time that he had served on the liner.
Three weeks later, with the great ship six days out of New York on her return journey to her home port, Waiter Stanley was fortunate enough to be counted amongst the survivors when she was torpedoed and sunk! Having been rescued from the sea, he was landed at Queenstown and eventually made it back home to Seacombe.
According to an article in the Saturday 15th May 1915 edition of The Wallasey News: -
An Egremont member of the crew, Mr. David Stanley, of Clarendon-road, was in hospital with pneumonia during the voyage home. He is not merely among the survivors, but seems none the worse in health for the shock and the effects of the immersion.
Not long afterwards, he was officially discharged from the Lusitania’s
last voyage at the Cunard offices in Water Street, Liverpool. He was paid the balance of wages owed to him which amounted to £4-9s-6d., (£4.47½p.), which was in respect of his sea service, reckoned from 17th April 1915 until 8th May, 24 hours after the liner had foundered.
In 1926, David and his family immigrated to Canada, where they settled in Toronto, Ontario. They resided at 1434. King Street West, Toronto.
On the 14th August 1944, David’s son, B/11925 Lance Bombardier William Henry Stanley was killed in action while serving with the 12 Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery in the battle for Caen following the D-Day landings. His remains are interred in Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery
David Stanley died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1957 and his remains were buried in Park Lawn Cemetery in the city. His wife, Phoebe, died in 1965.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Wallasey News, Wallasey & Wirral Chronicle, PRO BT 350.