Alfred John Quin was born in Dublin, Ireland on the 14th February 1874, the son of John D. and Emily Quin. His father was a general medical practitioner and the family moved to Liverpool, from Ireland, when Alfred was a child.
In 1915, Alfred lived at 81, Mansell Road, Kensington, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, with his wife, Elizabeth, whom he married in 1904, and their children.
As a professional seaman, he engaged as a second class waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool on 12th May 1915, at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d., (£4.25p.). He reported for duty at 7 a.m. five days later, before the Cunarder left the River Mersey for the last time. His previous ship had been the
Lusitania’s sister ship Mauretania.
He survived the sinking on 7th May by jumping into the sea as the liner went down and after clinging to an upturned lifeboat for a while, eventually manage to scramble into a collapsible boat which was floating past. In this, he was to help in the rescue of some thirty or forty people. One of these was saloon passenger Mr. J.J. Battersby, a hat manufacturer from Stockport, Cheshire, whose experience was related in
The Cheshire Daily Echo of 14th May 1915.
How long he was actually in the water he does not know, but he heard someone in a boat say “Leave that man, he’s done for.” This was a collapsible boat with Mr. A. Quinn, the head bedroom steward of the second class, in charge. Mr. Battersby heard Mr. Quinn say, “No, we will pick him up.” and he was then drawn into the boat. Mr Battersby owes his life to Mr. Quinn who when the Lusitania was sinking dived into the sea and clung with a few others to an overturned boat.
They afterwards got hold of a collapsible boat which came floating by, and in this picked up thirty or forty including Mr. Battersby. Sometime later they were taken on board the mine trawler Brock, but it was not until nearly 11 o’clock at night that they got into Queenstown.
Mr. Battersby was still recovering from his ordeal on his return to Stockport three days later and Alfred Quinn accompanied him until he was safe home. On his eventual return to Liverpool, he was officially discharged from the
Lusitania’s final voyage, his wages being paid up to and including 8th May, 24 hours after the liner sank.
A photograph of six crew member survivors at the official enquiry conducted into the sinking, chaired by Lord Mersey, in June and July 1915 appeared in the national press at the time and one of the men is named as
G. Quinn. It is possible that this was Alfred Quinn, wrongly named.
Alfred Quin continued to serve as a steward in the mercantile marine for many years following his survival of the Lusitania sinking, and died in Liverpool on the 23rd September 1947, aged 72 years.
Cunard records erroneously spell his name as Quinn.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cheshire Daily Echo, Cunard Records, Roy Makinson, PRO BT 334.