Mr. William Brodrick-Cloete

William Brodrick-Cloete, 63 ?, was a British subject who was born in South Africa, lived in England, and worked in Mexico. At the time of the Lusitania disaster he had extensive mining properties and plantations in Mexico, although he had also previously been a cricketer and a horse breeder. His residence was listed as Hare Park on the outskirts of London, England.  Brodrick-Cloete was lost in the Lusitania disaster of 7 May 1915, and his body was either not recovered or not identified.


William Brodrick-Cloete was born in 1851 or 1852 in Cape Town, South Africa. He was the grandson of Henry Cloete, Special Commissioner of the Colony of Natal (present-day KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Brodrick-Cloete was an established cricketer. From 1876 to 1877 he played for the Surrey Club, and from 1877 to 1893 he played for the Marylebone Cricket Club, considered the most famous cricket club in the world. In 1877, for the Marylebone Club against Essex at Brentwood, he bowled unchanged throughout with Rylott. He took six wickets for 74 runs in the first innings and six for 48 in the second. In the same match he also scored 60, the highest innings played for either side, and 9. Brodrick-Cloete was also a well-known owner and breeder of race horses. In 1885 participated in prestigious races such as 2000 guineas and the Grand Prix de Paris in which his colt Paradox won first place. Paradox's jocket was Fred Archer and the horse was trained by Matt Dawson. Paradox also raced in the Derby in England in 1885 and came in second. First place was Melton, who's jockey in that race was Fred Archer. In 1897, Brodrick-Cloete participated in the Klondike Gold Rush, where he worked for a development project for the Canadian Mining Company Delevopment in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. In 1899, Brodrick-Cloete also edited and republished the book, The History of the Great Boer Trek and the Origin of the South African Republics, which had been written by his grandfather, Henry Cloete. He married Violet Kate Henley (1881 - 1973), the daughter of Joseph Arthur Henley, and they lived in Hare Park, on the outskirts of London, England.   They were on Lusitania for Captain James Watt's last westbound crossing as commander of the ship on 31 October 1908. William Brodrick-Cloete became a member of a London firm with extensive holdings in Mexico with mining properties and plantations. In the late 1800s he founded a coal-mining town in the municipality of Sabinas, in the Mexican state of Coahuila. This town today is called Cloete, or San José de Cloete, which as of 2005 had a population of 3,977. The town adopted his name following his death in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.


Brodrick-Cloete had arrived in the United States on his way to Mexico in December 1914. In the spring of 1915 he was returning to London from Mexico to report on the situation in the Mexican mines and planned to spend the summer at home in Hare Park on the outskirts of London. Brodrick-Cloete booked passage aboard Lusitania in San Antonio, Texas.  His ticket on board the ship was 46067 and he stayed in cabin B-25. The evening of 6 May 1915, William Brodrick-Cloete headed the Seaman's Charity Concert collection ​​in the saloon (first class) lounge and music room and collected £106 pounds. Actress Rita Jolivet gave £16 for the musicians. Because he booked in San Antonio, Texas, he was mistakenly listed as a United States citizen in newspaper reports of missing Americans. William Brodrick-Cloete was lost when the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk on 7 May 1915. His body was either not recovered or not identified. William's widow, Violet, married a second time in 1921 at age 39 to Bertram Sackville Thesiger (1875 - 1966).

Links of interest

William Brodrick-Cloete at Wikipedia (Spanish) The History of the Great Boer Trek and the Origin of the South African Republics, edited by William Brodrick-Cloete
Contributors Judith Tavares References Cloete, Henry. The History of the Great Boer Trek and the Origin of the South African Republics.  John Murray, Ablemarle Street, London, 1899.  Web.  5 August 2011. <>. "William Brodrick-Cloete."  Cricket Archive.  The Cricketer, 2003 - 2011.  Web.  5 August 2011.  <>. "Capt. Watt Makes Last Trip Here." The New York Times, 31 October 1908.  Web.  5 August 2011. <>. "William Brodrick Cloete."  Web.  5 August 2011.  <>. "Cloete." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2004. Web. 5 August 2011. <>. "William Broderick Cloete" [sic]. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 July 2004. Web. 5 August 2011. <>. "Obituaries in 1915." Wisden Almanack, John Wisden and Co., 1916.  ESPNcricinfo.   Web.  5 August 2011.  <>.

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