Charles Ivor Cross was born in Cardiff, Wales, 1894, where the family home was at 97. Alfred Street, Roath Park, Cardiff. His parents were Frederick and Elizabeth Cross (née Lloyd). He had an older brother, Henry Edward Cross, living at 25. Stockland Street, Cardiff, a sister, Eva, working for Lloyd’s Bank, Canton, Cardiff, and a married sister, Mrs. J. Stone, who resided in the family home.
Sometime between 1911 and 1913, he had arrived in the United States of America and settled in Camden, New Jersey, where he found employment as an electrician in a New York ship building yard. In 1915, his home was at 554, Fairview Street, Camden, where he boarded with fellow Welshman Charles A. Palmer, who also worked at the shipyard as an electrician.
In the spring of 1915, however, perhaps because of the war in Europe the pair decided to return home to Wales. Consequently they booked third class passage for themselves on the May sailing of the
Lusitania from New York to Liverpool on the first part of a journey to South Wales. Their joint ticket was numbered 1798.
Having boarded the liner at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York, on the morning of 1st May 1915, in time for the vessel’s scheduled 10 o’clock sailing, they then had to wait until the early afternoon before the liner actually sailed. This was whilst the Lusitania took on board passengers, some crew and loaded cargo from the Anchor Liner the S.S.
Cameronia which the British Admiralty had requisitioned as a troop ship at the end of April.
Six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, the Lusitania was torpedoed by the German submarine
U-20, twelve miles off The Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland and sank only eighteen minutes later. At that stage of her voyage, she was a mere fourteen hours sailing time away from her home port.
Both Charles Cross and his friend Charles Palmer lost their lives as a result of this tragic sequence of events and as neither body was never recovered and identified afterwards, neither has a known grave. Charles Cross was aged 21 years at the time.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Cunard Records, Western Mail, Philadelphia Public Ledger, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/118, UniLiv D92/2/127, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.