Mr. Joseph Aiston

Joseph Aiston, 20, was a British national living in Brooklyn, New York, United States, returning to England aboard Lusitania to join the British Army. Aiston survived the sinking. Joseph Aiston was born in Blaydon-on-Tyne, Winlaton parish, County Durham, England, United Kingdom in September 1896, the ninth of eleven children. His records appear on the 1901 British census. Joseph emigrated to the United States in 1912. Unable to take up his booking on Titanic because his papers had not come through, he traveled third class on Lusitania. He was detained on Ellis Island until he was rescued by his eldest brother William, who was by then a US citizen. Joseph lived in Brooklyn, New York, and worked in the shipyards. When war broke out, the Anglophile community in which lived raised money for British troops and ambulances. Joseph decided to go back to England in May of 1915 to join the British Army. He was unable to go before this, as he had lost the tip of a finger in an accident at work and was waiting for his compensation claim to be settled. Aiston booked second cabin on the Lusitania. Aiston was on the deck after lunch when the Lusitania was struck, and believed that two torpedoes had hit the ship. He got a lifejacket from those available on deck, and he was on the deck when the ship went down. He was in the water for some time, clinging to a log, before being picked up by a lifeboat and then transferred to a fishing boat and taken ashore. He subsequently joined the army (Essex Regiment) and served in Palestine. In 1923, he married the younger sister of his brother William's wife and eventually settled in Worcestershire. He died in March 1974 leaving a widow, a daughter and four grandchildren. Contributors: Sue Hancock Lena Kaltenbrunner

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