Siemion Babiczuk was born in Imperial Russia in 1876. Some time before the Great War, he had emigrated to the United States of America and settled in Windsor, Vermont, where he obtained employment as a labourer.
In the spring of 1915, however, he decided to return to his homeland, perhaps because of the military situation which existed at that time on the eastern front. As a result, he booked as a third class passenger on the May sailing of the
Lusitania from New York to Liverpool, for the major part of his journey.
Having left Vermont at the end of April, he boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915 at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York harbour, but had to wait until the early afternoon for the liner to sail from the port. This was 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, at the end of April. Just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20. At that point, she was twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from her Liverpool destination.
Altogether, there were 69 Russian nationals on board at the time and 40 of these were killed as a result of the torpedoing. Siemion Babiczuk was, unfortunately, one of the 40! As his body was never recovered from the sea and identified, he has no known grave. He was aged 39 years.
Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly