Pawel Chwysink was believed to have been born in Tsarist Russia in 1894.
Sometime before the Great War, he left Russia and crossed the Atlantic to the United States of America, and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where he found employment as a labourer.
In the spring of 1915, however, he decided to return home, possibly because he was mindful of his patriotic duty in light of the setbacks being suffered by the forces of the Tsar against those of The Central Powers on the eastern front.
Consequently, he booked third class passage on the Lusitania from New York to Liverpool on the first part of his journey and having travelled from Chicago during April, on the morning of 1st May 1915, he boarded the liner at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York in time for her scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing. The liner did not actually leave the harbour, however; until just after mid-day, because she had to embark passengers and crew and load cargo from the liner
Cameronia which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for war service as a troop ship at the end of April.
Six days out of New York, on the early afternoon of 7th May, he was one of many third class passengers who were killed after the steamer was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of southern Ireland, by the German submarine
U-20. At that stage, the Cunarder was only fourteen hours steaming time away from the safety of her Liverpool home port.
As his body was never recovered and identified after the sinking, he has no known grave. He was aged 21 years.
Altogether, 69 Russian nationals sailed on the last voyage of the Lusitania, and of these, 40 were killed and 29 survived the sinking.
Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.