John Feerick was born in Cloondaver, Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland, on the 15th October 1888, the son of Anthony and Bridget Feerick (née Feerick), His father was a farmer, and John was one of nine children. He was unmarried and worked as a labourer.
He went to the United States of America in 1909, arriving on board the Teutonic on 8th April, accompanied by his younger sister, Margaret. Their destination was the home of their sister, Annie, who lived at 788. Columbus Avenue, Manhattan, New York City.
In the spring of 1915, the couple decided to return home to Ireland for a holiday and as a result, stating that they were married to one another, they booked third class passage on the May sailing of the
Lusitania, which was scheduled to leave the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York, for Liverpool, at 10 o’clock on the morning of 1st May 1915. Consequently, the couple joined her on that morning but had to wait until just before 12.30 p.m. before she sailed out of the port for the last time. This was because she had to wait to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the Anchor Liner the S.S.
Cameronia which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for war service as a troop ship.
Six days later, when the vessel was torpedoed and sunk, both John and Margaret Feerick were killed and as no trace of either body was ever found and identified later, neither has a known grave. John Feerick was aged 26 years.
After news of the sinking reached their family in County Mayo, their father, Anthony Feerick, applied to The Lusitania Relief Fund for financial help. This fund was set up by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other local businessmen, immediately after the sinking to help those survivors or relatives of the second and third class dead who found themselves in financial difficulties. The award committee granted him the immediate sum of £5-0s-0d., to be paid in weekly instalments of £0-10s-0d., (£0.50p.).
Cunard records published in March 1916, incorrectly recorded his surname as Ferrick, but official documentary sources prove it to have been Feerick.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, Cunard Records, Connaught Telegraph, Liverpool Record Office, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/294, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.