Thomas Beesley (John Thomas Beesley on most official records) was born on the 24th of January 1875, baptised St Mary’s, Kirkdale, Lancashire, April 12th 1875. He was the second child of John and Jane Beesley, (née Holden) who were both natives of Kirkby, just outside Liverpool. Thomas grew up in the Everton area of the city.
By the time he was 16 he was already working around the docks, alongside his younger brother James, as a Port Office Boy.
When Thomas married Sarah Ellen Cross on the 15 of November 1905 at Bottle Parish Church he had gained the rank of Steward, working for the Canadian Pacific Line. By the 2nd of December he was off to sea again, working as Assistant Steward on the Lake Erie, a passenger liner of the Canadian Pacific Line , bound for Quebec. Returning on the 4th of January he had missed his first Christmas with his new wife.
Marriage record Thomas Beesley and Sarah Ellen Cross
In 1911 Sarah Ellen was living at 193 Gloucester Road in Bootle with their children Nancy, John and Lily. Thomas was at sea, on the “Empress of Britain”, a luxury steamship which sailed regularly back and forth on the trans-Atlantic route from Liverpool to Quebec.
Thomas would have been called up to the Mercantile Marine Reserve at the outbreak of WW1. The Mercantile Marine Reserve was formed of merchant seamen serving on merchant vessels requisitioned by the Admiralty for wartime service, some of whom may also have served in the Royal Naval Reserve. He was a Steward on the Laurentic in January 1917. His widow Sarah and four children were living at Warbreck Rd, Orrell Park, Liverpool when he died.
Anniversary notice in The Liverpool Echo, 25th January 1918
Thomas Beesley is commemorated on the local memorial in St John The Evangelist’s Church, Walton and on the Merseyside Roll of Honour.
His body was never recovered.
Crew lists. 387 CRE. Liverpool Record Office, Liverpool, England.
General Records Office UK
Liverpool Registers. Liverpool, England: Liverpool Record Office.
British Newspaper Archive
Census Returns of England and Wales, Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA).