Frederick 'Fred' Ackroyd was born in Prestwich, Lancashire, England, in 1912, the son of Mr. Ackroyd and Mrs. Hannah Ackroyd (née Hardaker), whose parents lived at Brooksbank Farm, Great Horton, Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Fred had a twin brother, Thomas, who died shortly after birth.
Sometime after his birth, Fred’s father had gone to the United States of America in search of work and settled in Brooklyn, New York City. In May 1914, Fred and his mother went to join his father. However, in the spring of 1915, his mother decided to return to England, and booked second cabin passage on the Lusitania for them both. They boarded the liner at Pier 54 in New York port, on the morning of 1st May 1915, in time for her scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing. They then had to wait until the early afternoon for the liner to sail because she had to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the Anchor Liner
Cameronia, which had been requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war service as a troop ship, at the end of April.
Just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20. At that point, she was twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from her Liverpool destination.
As a result of this action, by the evening of 7th May, both mother and son were dead; Fred Ackroyd was aged just three years. As neither of their bodies was ever found and identified afterwards, neither has a known grave.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Cunard Records, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, Bradford Daily Argus, Yorkshire Observer, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly