Arthur Wellesley Elliot was born in Hastings County, Ontario, Canada, on the 13th March 1885, the son of William Best and Catherine Ann Elliott (née Lloyd). Following in his father’s footsteps, on completion of his education, Arthur became a farmer, and travelled first to Saskatchewan, and then to Calgary, Alberta, where, in 1908, he applied for a homestead in accordance with the Dominion Lands Act.
On the 19th January 1915, he married Annie Louise Harrott in Carleton Place, Lanark County, Ontario. They established their home at 1103. Tenth Street West, Calgary, Alberta. Arthur stated that he was an electrician at the time of his marriage, and it appears that he had left farming and had gone into partnership with one of his brothers in the electrical business in Calgary.
In the spring of 1915, he decided to travel to England where two of his brothers were working, and as a consequence, he booked second cabin passage on the Lusitania for himself and Annie, who was expecting their first child.
At the end of April 1915, they travelled to New York City in the United States of America, where they then boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915, in time for her last ever sailing out of New York harbour, in the early afternoon. The voyage to England was also supposed to have been a honeymoon for them both!
Six days later, with the vessel only hours away from her Liverpool destination and just off the southern coast of Ireland, Arthur Elliot was killed when she was torpedoed and sunk. He was aged 30 years.
His new bride survived, however and after being rescued from the sea she was landed at Queenstown, where she gave a brief interview to a reporter from local newspaper The Cork Examiner, and this stated: -
She was in a most distressed condition as there is no news of her husband; and it is presumed that he is drowned. They left the boat together but were soon parted and she was picked up by one of the boats.
His body was never recovered from the sea and identified and as a result, he has no known grave.
On the 29th December 1915, Annie Elliott gave birth to their daughter – Helen Louise in Carleton Place, where Arthur and Annie had been married earlier that year.
His widow lodged a claim with the Canadian Commission on her return to Canada, which was decided in November 1926. She was awarded $15,000 for the loss of Arthur, and $1,877.00 for the loss of their personal possessions in the sinking of the Lusitania.
Ontario Canada Marriages 1826 – 1937, 1891 Census of Canada, 1901 Census of Canada, Alberta Canada Homestead Records 1870 – 1930, Cork Examiner, Cunard Records, Canadian Claims Case No. 836, PRO BT 100/345`, UniLiv D92/2/454, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.