Isaac David Edwards was born in Llanafan, Cardiganshire, Wales, in 1885, the son of David and Ann Edwards. His father was a colliery foreman and while Isaac was still a child, the family moved to Bryn Sion, Llantrisant, Glamorganshire.
Isaac left school in his early teenage years and went to work as a coal miner. By 1911, he was living with his married sister, Margaret Hicks, in Gilfach Goch, Glamorganshire, and still working as a coal miner.
On the 9th October 1913, Isaac Edwards embarked on the Cedric at Liverpool, and disembarked eight days later in New York City, in the United States of America. His destination was Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where there was a vigorous coal mining industry, and where an experienced miner could easily secure employment..
In 1915, he decided to return to Wales. Consequently, he booked as a third class passenger on the Lusitania's May voyage from New York to Liverpool and having left Greensburg some time in April, he boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915 in time for her scheduled 10.00 a.m. departure. The liner’s sailing was then delayed until the afternoon as 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.
The Lusitania finally left port just after mid-day and just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20. At that point, she was off The Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland and only hours away from her destination.
Isaac Edwards did not survive this action nor was his body ever recovered and identified afterwards. He was aged 29 years.
A description sent to the Cunard Steamship Company by his family in the hope that it might aid in identifying his remains if recovered stated: -
“…dark young man with a scar on right cheek, also disfigured ear on right side…”
Administration of his estate was granted to a Mrs. Margaret Ann Hicks - wife of Frederick George Hicks, (who was his sister), on 10th August 1915. Mr. Edwards left effects to the value of £60-0s-0d.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Probate Records PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/236, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks, David Irving, Robert O'Brien, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.