Philate Bozenof was believed to have been born in Imperial Russia in 1880.
Some time before the Great War, he had emigrated to the United States of America and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where he obtained employment. His younger brother Denis was also with him in Chicago.
In the spring of 1915, perhaps because of the bad showing of the Tsarist forces on the eastern front the brothers decided to return to Russia and as a result, they booked third class passage on the
Lusitania bound from New York to Liverpool, on the first part of their journey home.
The two boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915 at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York in time for her scheduled 10 o’clock departure and then had to wait until just after mid-day for the liner to sail . 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. Then, six days out of New York on the afternoon of 7th May, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20.
At that stage of her voyage, she was within sight of the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from her Liverpool destination.
Both Philate and Denis Bozenof survived the action - only 29 of the 69 Russian nationals on board did so - and having been rescued from the sea, they were landed at Queenstown where it is hoped that they were treated properly by the Cunard authorities. Many of the Russian survivors later complained to the Russian Ambassador in Liverpool that they were badly treated in Queenstown!
It is not known whether or not Philate or Denis Bozenof ever completed their journey to their homeland or indeed if they managed to survive the war! Philate Bozenof was aged 35 years at the time of the
Cunard Records. Liverpool Record Office, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly