People's Stories

Everyone on the Lusitania's last voyage, including passengers and crew.

Francis James Hagan

Francis James Hagan

About Francis James

Francis James Hagan was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on the 18 August 1883, the son of Henry and Ellen Hagan. He was a professional waiter in the mercantile marine.

He engaged as a first class waiter in the Stewards’ Department on the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 at a monthly rate of £4-5s-0d (£4.25) and joined her at 7am on 17 April before she left Liverpool Princes Landing Stage for the last time ever.

Having completed the liner’s outward journey to New York, he was serving in the same capacity when she left on the return journey in the early afternoon of 1 May 1915.

Six days later, on the afternoon of 7 May, the Lusitania was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 12 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale in southern Ireland and sank 18 minutes later. At that stage of her voyage she was a mere 12 or 14 hours away from her Liverpool destination.

Francis Hagan survived this action and having been rescued from the sea he was landed at Queenstown. On his return to Liverpool, at the offices of Cunard in Water Street, he was paid the balance of wages owed to him, which was reckoned from 17 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the great ship had foundered.

On 11 June 1918 Francis enlisted as 110173 Private Francis Hagan, 1st Battallion King’s Liverpool Regiment, and following his basic training was sent to France in late October 1918. Shortly after his arrival the war ended and he marched to Germany as part of the occupying forces. His military service came to an abrupt end when he fell victim to the great influenza epidemic sweeping Europe at that time and was hospitalised in a military field hospital in Boulogne, France before being transferred back to England, where he spent time in a number of hospitals. He was discharged from the army in late 1919 with permanent damage to his lungs following his illness.

Francis Hagan returned to his profession as a waiter on ocean-going liners, until he died at the relatively young age of 47 years in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 16 November 1931. His address at the time of his death was 23 The Polygon, Southampton. On 5 April 1934 administration of his estate was granted to his sister, Georgina Winters, who was married to a William Winters. His effects amounted to £94-4s-3d.

Official Cunard records published in March 1916 spell Francis Hagan’s surname of Hagen, but this was an error.


Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, PRO BT 350, Probate Records..

Francis James Hagan



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