Mrs. Clayton (forenames not known), was born in Great Britain or one of her colonies in 1873. She was married to stonemason William Clayton and in 1915; the family home was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In the spring of 1915, however, the couple decided to take passage for Great Britain and as a result, they booked as second cabin passengers on the May sailing of the
Lusitania from New York to Liverpool and set out from Vancouver, some time in April, to catch the sailing, which was scheduled to begin on the morning of 1st May 1915.
Having arrived at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 on the west side of the city, they boarded in time for the liner’s scheduled 10 o’clock departure, but had to wait until just after mid-day before the liner actually left the port. This delay was caused because she had to wait to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the liner Cameronia
which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for war service as a troop ship at the end of April.
Then, six days out of New York, on the afternoon of 7th May, the Lusitania
was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20, twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and sank just eighteen minutes later. At that stage of her voyage, she was only 250 miles from the safety of her home port.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Clayton perished as a result of this enemy action and as neither of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea and identified at a later time, neither has a known grave. Mrs. Clayton was aged 42 years at the time she was killed.
Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.