Marcin Czertowicz was born in Tsarist Russia in 1867. Some time probably before the outbreak of the Great War, he had emigrated to the United States of America and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In the spring of 1915, perhaps because of the setbacks being suffered by the Imperial Russian forces on the eastern front he decided to return to his homeland and as a result, booked third class passage on the
Lusitania for England, on the first part of his journey home.
He boarded the liner on the morning of 1st May 1915 at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York in time for the liner’s scheduled 10 o’clock departure but had to wait until the early afternoon before the liner left port. This was because she had to embark passengers and crew and load cargo from the Anchor Liner, 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, just twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and only about fourteen hours steaming time away from the safety of her Liverpool home port.
There were 69 Russian nationals on board the liner when she was sunk and only 29 of these survived. Marcin Czertowicz was one of the survivors, however and having been rescued from the sea, he was landed at Queenstown. Many pf the Russian survivors were later to complain to the Russian Ambassador in Liverpool of their poor treatment at the hands of the authorities, there, and it is likely Czertowicz received similar poor treatment.
It is not known what happened to him after this, or if he ever completed his journey to his homeland or even managed to survive the war!
He was aged 48 years at the time of the Lusitania's last voyage.
Cunard Records, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.