Joseph Aprin was born in Imperial Russia in 1870. Some time before the Great War, he had emigrated to the United States of America and settled in Gary, Indiana, where he obtained employment as a labourer.
In the spring of 1915, perhaps because of the military situation which existed between the Imperial Russian Army and the armies of the Central Powers on the eastern front, he decided to return to his homeland and thereby booked third class passage on the
Lusitania’s May sailing for England, on the first part of his journey home.
Having left Gary at the end of April, he arrived in New York and boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915 at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in the harbour. The sailing was delayed until the early afternoon, however, because she had to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the Anchor Liner Cameronia, which had been requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war service as a troop ship. Just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and about 250 miles away from her Liverpool destination.
Joseph Aprin was one of 69 Russian nationals on board, and unfortunately, he was one of 40 of these to lose his life because of the action. As his body was not recovered and identified afterwards, he has no known grave. He was aged 45 years.
Cunard Records. Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Liverpool Record Office, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly