Michael Joseph Cushion was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in 1894, the son of Michael and Mary Cushion. His father was a marine fireman.
In 1913 he married Catherine McFarlane in Liverpool.
He signed on as a trimmer in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 and reported for duty at 8am on 17 April, the day she left the River Mersey. As a trimmer his monthly rate of pay was £6-0s-0d and upon engagement he was given an advance of £1-0s-0d.
The Lusitania crossed the Atlantic without incident and left New York on her return voyage to Liverpool in the early afternoon of 1 May. Six days later, on the afternoon of 7 May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20, within sight of the coast of southern Ireland. At that time she was only about 250 miles away from the safety of her home port. Michael Cushion was fortunate enough to survive and was able to return to his home in Liverpool.
Once back in Liverpool he was officially discharged from the Lusitania’s final voyage and paid the balance of wages owing to him, in respect of his service on board from 17 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down. All the Lusitania’s crew, survived or perished, were given this privilege by Cunard.
Michael Cushion continued to serve as a trimmer, and then a fireman, on transatlantic liners for many years.
He died in May 1965 in Prescot, Liverpool and is buried in Yew Tree Cemetery.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Cunard Records, PRO BT 350.