John Allen was born in Great Britain in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1915, he had been in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America, possibly on business.
For his return to Great Britain, he booked passage on the Anchor Lines vessel the
S.S. Cameronia, from New York to Glasgow, but at the end of April 1915, she was requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war service as a troop ship and as a result, passengers, crew and cargo were transferred to the
Lusitania. John Allen was thus given a second cabin berth on the great liner, which eventually left the Cunard Quay at Pier 54 just after mid-day, on 1st May, after the delay caused by the transfers.
What must have seemed like a stroke of good fortune at the time nearly turned to tragedy just six days later, however, when on the afternoon of 7th May, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20,
within sight of the coast of southern Ireland and only 250 miles away from the safety of her Liverpool home port and destination.
John Allen managed to survive the action, however and having been rescued from the sea he was landed at Queenstown. From there, it is supposed that he eventually made it to his original intended destination.
Cunard Records, New York Times, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly