1. Memorial:Tower Hill MemorialMerc. Mar. London

Awards & Titles:

British War Medal
Mercantile Marine Medal

Early Life :

The majority of this legend is courtesy of Geoff Cuthill of the Province of West Lancashire, to whom the project is grateful.

David was born 9th August, 1884 to David and Anne Jane Critchley (nee Pierpoint) at Bootle, and baptised at on 19 September 1884 at St Mary’s, Bootle. His father was described as a coal merchant with the family residing at 9 Keble Street. The family are residing at 26 Marsh Lane at the time of the 1891 census, at this time there are four siblings, Ethel, David, Elizabeth and Richard Hiram, all born in Bootle. In the following census of 1901 they have moved to 10 Hamer Terrace and have two more children Rachel and Miriam.

The Liverpool Maritime Crew Lists first list David as serving aboard the “Carmania” as a Waiter for 1905 and 1906, his residence given 10 Hamer Terrace. He is next found signing to the “Campania” also with the Cunard Line, on 12 January 1907. He married Florence Maria Mainman on 26 August 1909 at St Leonard’s Church Bootle, both aged 25, with David at Hamer Terrace and Florence living at 100 Boundary Street, the daughter of Henry Mainman, a Licensed Victualler.

The 1911 census return shows the couple living at 22 Coat Road, married for one and a half year with no children. David is at home, and described as an assistant pantry steward (seafaring) with the Cunard SS Company. He signs aboard the “Laconia” as a 2nd Class Cabin’s saloon steward on 14th May, 1912 his address being 26 Alt Road. This is also the day his son Harold David is born, who was baptised on 7th July while David was home between voyages.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: SS Lusitania 

Cunard Line Steamer.

Action : RMS Lusitania, Sinking of 

The Royal Navy had blockaded Germany at the start of World War I. Having completed her voyage to New York on 24 April, the Lusitania left the Cunard berth at Pier 54 just after midday on 1 May 1915 on the return voyage to Liverpool. When RMS Lusitania left New York for Britain, German submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around the United Kingdom a war zone, and the German embassy in the United States had placed a newspaper advertisement warning people of the dangers of sailing on Lusitania.

Six days later, on the afternoon of 7 May the German U-boat U-20, captained by Kapitaenleutnant Walther Schwieger torpedoed Lusitania, 11 mi (18 km) off the southern coast of Ireland and inside the declared war zone. A second, unexplained, internal explosion sent her to the seabed in 18 minutes, with the deaths of 1,198 passengers, including almost a hundred children, and crew.

Because the Germans sank, without warning, what was officially a non-military ship, many accused them of breaching the internationally recognised Cruiser Rules. It was no longer possible for submarines to give warning due to the British introduction of Q-ships in 1915 with concealed deck guns. (Lusitania had been fitted with 6-inch gun mounts in 1913, although she was unarmed at the time of her sinking.) [Wikipedia]

Detail :

David would later work for the Cunard Steamship Co. Ltd, as a First Class Bedroom Steward, and had previously worked in this capacity aboard the “Lusitania”, and was engaged as such on 12 April 1915, for the then princely sum of £4-5s-0d per month, (£4.25p). David duly reported for duty on the 17 April, on what turned out to be the Lusitania’s last departure from her home port, arriving in New York on the 24 April.

The return voyage left New York a week later, on the first day of May at 12.20 p.m.; the rain had just given way to brilliant sunshine. As she sailed into the Hudson the ship’s band struck up the favourite of the time, "It’s a long way to Tipperary" while at the other end of the ship, a Welsh male voice choir belted out the "Star-Spangled Banner". All went well until the afternoon of 7 May, when just off the Irish coast “Lusitania” was attacked and torpedoed by the German submarine U-20, resulting in a heavy loss of life to both passengers and crew. Unfortunately, David was numbered among the dead, although his body was never recovered and identified, he was aged 30 years.

David was looking after First Class cabins E 56, 58, 60,62, 64, and 74 situated on the port side of the Main Deck, and of the seven people he was responsible for four survived the sinking, four died including David as one of these.

Florence received from Cunard in August the balance of wages owed to David from his last fateful voyage, 17 April to 8 May, service being reckoned to 24 hours after the “Lusitania” sank. Their second child Muriel Florence Mainman Critchley was born 26 November 1915 at the Railway Tavern, Greyfriars Road, Reading, and the birth was reported in the Liverpool Echo on Tuesday 30 November 1915, saying parents were “late of Linacre Lane, Bootle” posthumous. The couple did live at 63 Linacre Lane prior to the fateful voyage of the Lusitania. The Railway Tavern was probably at the home of Florence’s brother, Henry Layfield Mainman, a licensed victualler within the town. Muriel was baptised at St Leonard’s Bootle on 5th March, 1916, the address of 578 Stanley Road given.

The Liverpool Echo on Tuesday 18 May listed a number of local people lost on the Lusitania on page 4. Amongst which is found;

CRITCHLEY - May 7, lost on R.M.S. Lusitania, David the beloved and devoted husband of Florence Critchley, of 63 Linacre-lane Bootle.

O cruel Death, thou didst not permit
One Parting word, one farewell kiss:
But through the toilsome, joyless day
His spirit voice will cheer our way.

The Index to Wills and Probate has: Critchley, David of Linacre Lane, Bootle, Lancashire died 7 May 1915 at sea. Administration Liverpool 7 July to Florence Maria Critchley widow. Effects £128.13.11d.

A pension was granted to Mrs F M Critchley and Others (this would be the two children) as shown on the original record card, and also has David as, Drowned "Lusitania" but gives 8 May as the date. The pension was given as issued 27 August 1921, Florence resident at 37 Rufford Road, Bootle. This is later crossed through and marked as ℅ The Cunard SS Co L'pool. Another date stamp of 23 March 1923 is affixed against the award, so maybe an increase. The reverse of the card shows a number of further addresses, each crossed through in descending order, starting with ℅ Mrs Harrington 7 Diana Street, Orrell, Liverpool; 37 Rufford Road, Bootle, Liverpool and finally 53 Graburn Road, Freshfield, Formby Liverpool. This final address is not crossed out.

For his service he was posthumously awarded the Mercantile Marine Medal and the British War Medal, which were sent to Mrs. F.M. Critchley at 37 Rufford Road, Bootle. David is further commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London and the Bootle War Memorial, Stanley Road.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Antient Briton No. 1675 E.C.West Lancashire

25th May 1909
24th August 1909
23rd November 1909

David was initiated into Ancient Briton Lodge No 1675 at Hope Street, Liverpool, on the 25 May 1909. He was described as being a Mariner, living at 10 Hamer Terrace, Bootle, aged 28 years, proposed by Joseph Cheshire, a librarian, and seconded by James Mitchell, a master-mariner. He was passed to the Second Degree on 24 August, and raised to the degree of Master Mason on the 23 November 1909. His Grand Lodge Certificate was issued on 16 November 1909. The contribution record shows he was "Drowned SS Lusitania May 18 1915."

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-03-11 07:57:11