Patrick Collins was born at Dunmanway, County Cork, Ireland in 1880, the son of Michael and Mary Collins. He was unmarried and in 1915 lived at 30 Great George Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. At that time his mother was living in Glenwood Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States of America and Patrick Collins was engaged to be married to Miss Mary O’Donnell, a domestic servant, who lived in the same city.
He was a professional fireman in the Mercantile Marine and on 13 April 1915 he engaged in the Engineering Department on board the
Lusitania, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d, (£6.50p). He reported for duty on the morning of 17 April in time for the liner’s last ever departure from the River Mersey on her way to New York. It was not the first time that he had sailed on the steamer.
Having successfully completed that passage, he was on the return leg of the voyage when the liner was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20 on the afternoon of 7 May 1915, within sight of the southern Irish coast and only hours away from her Liverpool home port.
He did not survive the sinking, like so many other firemen, and as his body was never recovered and identified afterwards he has no known grave. As a result he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine War Memorial to the Missing of the Mercantile Marine, at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 35 years, although when he engaged, he gave his age as 33.
In August 1915 his family was sent the balance of wages owing to Fireman Collins, which represented his time on board from 17 April until 8 May 1915, 24 hours after the liner had sunk.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Philadelphia Public Ledger, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 350.