Lewis Frank Yardley: Lost at sea, R.M.S. Luisitania May 1915

lewisfrankyardleyLewis Frank Yardley was born during Jun 1883 in Ladywood, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and died during the sinking of the civilian liner R.M.S Luisitania on 7 May 1915.

It has been stated that the torpedoing and sinking of the Luisitania by a German U-boat, causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew, was one of the reasons that galvanised the US Government into declaring war on Germany and joining the British Empire, France & Belgium in fighting and ultimately defeating Germany & her allies during World War One.

Lewis Frank Yardley was related to the Priday side of the extended family, was a first cousin once removed of the husband of the wife of one of my second great grand uncles and the actual linage is:

  • Lewis Frank Yardley (1883 - 1915)
  • Elizah Yardley (1848 - 1926) - father of Lewis Frank Yardley
  • Elijah Yardley (1808 - 1889) - father of Elizah Yardley
  • Joseph Yardley (1775 - 1811) - father of Elijah Yardley
  • John Yardley (1797 - 1870) - son of Joseph Yardley
  • Ambrose Yardley (1824 - 1885) - son of John Yardley
  • Mary A. Brooks (1823 - 1887) - wife of Ambrose Yardley
  • Joseph Sheward (1805 - 1872) - husband of Mary A. Brooks
  • Edward Sheward (1775 - 1853) - father of Joseph Sheward
  • Richard Sheward (1817 - 1870) - son of Edward Sheward
  • Herbert Sheward (1843 - 1906) - son of Richard Sheward
  • Mary Louisa Sheward (1880 - 1967) - daughter of Herbert Sheward
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Mary Louisa Sheward
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Lewis Frank's father, Elijah Yardley was born on 20 August 1848 The Hyde, Kinver, Staffordshire, England and died on 6 January 1926 at 690 Chester Road, Erdington, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

Elijah Yardley was recorded as being an Assistant to Charles Henry Smart, Grocer, at 52 Snow Hill, Birmingham during 1971. On the 27 November 1872 Elijah married Mary Ann (Anne) Lewis at St Mary's church Oldwinford, Stourbridge, Worcestershire.Mary Ann was born

Following their marriage, Elijah & Mary Ann set up home above a Grocers Shop at 163 1/2 Ledsham St, Ladywood, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Elijah & Mary Ann raised a family of 11 childrfen:

  • Rowland Thomas Yardley (1880 - 1950)
  • Ernest John Yardley (1874 – 1930)
  • Annie Louise Yardley (1876 – 1957)
  • Ellen Adelaide Yardley (1877 – 1950)
  • Albert Edward Yardley (1879 – 1960)
  • Bernard H. Yardley (1880 – 1937)
  • Francis A. Yardley (1880 – 1942)
  • Alice Jane (Jean) Yardley (1881 – 1966)
  • Lewis Frank Yardley (1883 – 1915)
  • George Sidney Yardley (1888 – 1913)
  • Charles Harry Yardley (1873 – 1959)

Sadly Mary Ann died in October 1905 at the shop & family home, 73 Ledsham St, Ladywood, Birmingham, England leaving Elijah to run the shop and care for the 11 children.

Elijah married his seond wife, Eliza Harriet during 1908 and the family moved to 410 Bearwood Rd, Smethwick, Worcestershire, England where Elijah carried on his trade of Grocer and Fruiterer. Eliza Harriet outlived her husband and died on 28 April 1955 at 96 Kingsbury Road, Erdington, Birmingham, England.

Elijah died in 1926 and is buried in the churchyard at St Barnabas, Erdington, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

Lewis Frank was born at Grocers Shop, 77 Ledsham St, Ladywood, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and Baptised on 6 May 1883 at St Barnabas, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. In 1891 he still lived at 77 Ledsham Road and was at school.

By 1901 the family had moved to 73 Ledsham St, Ladywood, Birmingham and Lewis had taken up the trade of Haberdasher and he was an Assistant at the same store his sister, Alice Jane (Jean) worked at.

In July 1909, Lewis married Louisa (possibly at Moseley, Birmingham - registration at Kings Norton, Birmingham) and they set up home at 61 Alexander Rd, Acocks Green, Birmingham, Warwickshire and Lewis had become a Millinery Salesman. Lewis & Louisa had one child, Beatrice Mary (Mollie) who was born during July 1910 and who died on 23 November 1996 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England.

By 1913, Lewis & Louisa had moved across the road to 44 Alexander Road, Accocks Green, Birmingham (possibly to a bigger house).

At some time, possibly during 1914, Lewis travelled to Toronto, Canada from where he started his journey home leaving New York on 1 May 1915 for the journey back to Liverpool, from where he would no doubt have planned to get a train back to Birmingham.

RMS LusitaniaAbout R.M.S. Luisitania

RMS Lusitania was built at the John Brown & Co. Ltd shipyard, Clydebank, Scotland to a design by Leonard Peskett.

The keel was laid down on 9 June 1904 and the completed  (but not fitted out) ship was launched on 7 June 1906. Fiiting out took place in the following months and the ship made its maiden voyage on 7 September 1907, sailing from Liverpool to New York.

RMS Lusitania had a gross tonnage of 31,550 with a displacement of 44,060 long tons. She was 787 feet long, 60 feet high to the boat deck and 165 feet high to the aerials with a beam of 87 feet. Her draught was 33.6 feet.

Powered by 25 Scotch boilers consuming 7000 tons of coal powering 4 direct-acting Parsons steam turbines producing 76,000 hp, which in turn drove 4 triple blade propellers (she was upgraded in 1909 with the fitting of Quadruple blade propellers.

She had 9 decks catering for 552 first class, 460 second class, 1,186 third class. A total of 2,198 passengers. She also had a crew of 850.

RMS Lusitania had a top speed of 25 knots (29 mph), was operated by the Cunard Line and had a regular route from Liverpool to New York, USA. She was a holder of the Blue Riband and briefly the world's biggest ship.

Sinking of the R.M.S. Luisitania

In 1915 she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew.

As German shipping lines tended to monopolise the lucrative passage of continental emigrants, Cunard responded by trying to outdo them for speed, capacity and luxury. Lusitania and her running mate Mauretania were fitted with revolutionary new turbine engines, able to maintain a speed of 25 knots. Equipped with lifts, wireless telegraph and electric light, they provided 50% more passenger space than any other ship, and the first class decks were noted for their sumptuous furnishings.

When she left New York for Liverpool on what would be her final voyage on 1 May 1915, submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around the United Kingdom to be a war-zone, and the German embassy in the United States had placed a newspaper advertisement warning people not to sail on Lusitania. On the afternoon of 7 May, Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 11 miles off the southern coast of Ireland and inside the declared "zone of war". A second internal explosion sent her to the bottom in 18 minutes.

In firing on a non-military ship without warning, the Germans had breached the international laws known as the Cruiser Rules. Although the Germans had reasons for treating Lusitania as a naval vessel, including that the ship was carrying war munitions and that the British had also been breaching the Cruiser Rules, the sinking caused a storm of protest in the United States. It also influenced the decision by the US to declare war in 1917.

His Death

The Liner crossed the path of U-20 at 14.10 on Friday 7 May 1915, and like Titanic before, most of the casualties were from drowning or from hypothermia and Lewis Frank Yardley was one of the 1,195 passengers & crew who lost their lives that day.