Wallace Edkin Wood was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, on the 23rd March 1867, the son of Roderick and Charlotte Wood. His father was a prison warder.
He married Flora Ferguson in Liverpool on the 18th February 1897, and in 1915, they lived at ‘Wormwood Scrubbs’, 44, Thorndale Road, Waterloo, Liverpool. He was an active Freemason and a member of Ancient Union Lodge number 203, of Liverpool.
He began his long association with The Cunard Steam Ship Company in 1882 when only a boy of 14 and continued to serve with the company for the next 34 years.
On 12th April 1915, at Liverpool, he engaged as a second class smoke room barkeeper in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d., (£4.25p.) and reported for duty five days later, before the liner left Princess Landing Stage for the last time! He had served on the ship before.
Having docked in New York on 24th April 1915, following an uneventful voyage, the Lusitania eventually left there on the early afternoon of 1st May, for her return to Liverpool. Then, six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, off the coast of southern Ireland. At that time, she was only hours away from the safety of her home port.
Barkeeper Wood lost his life as a result of this action, however and as his body was not recovered and identified afterwards, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing, at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 48 years at the time of his death.
He is also commemorated on the City of Liverpool Roll of Honour in the basement of the town hall there but despite his Masonic connections, his name is not on the bronze tablet in the Masonic Hall in Hope Street, Liverpool, which is dedicated to all the Freemasons from the Liverpool district who lost their lives during the Great War.
In August 1915, his widow Flora received from Cunard, the balance of pay owed to him in respect of his service on the
Lusitania’s last voyage. This was reckoned to be from 17th April 1915 until 8th May - 24 hours after the liner had actually gone down. In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension that amounted to £28-1s-3d. (£28.06p.) per year, payable at the rate of £2-6s-10d. (£2.34p.) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Geoff Cuthill, Liverpool Echo, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.