Mr. Patrick Callan

Patrick Callan (1868 - 1915), 46, was naturalized United States national from Ireland living in Chicago. He traveling aboard Lusitania to see his father in Ireland, who was ill. Aboard the ship, he befriended Flor and Julia Sullivan and Robert Dyer. When the ship was sinking, he entered a lifeboat that upset and was killed.


Patrick Callan was born in County Monaghan, Ireland on 9 October 1868. He emigrated to New York to via Queenstown, Ireland on the SS Urania around 1 October 1880. He became a naturalized American citizen on 22 June 1894. Callan lived at 3028 West Taylor Street, Chicago, Illinois, United States.  He supplied cattle to meatpackers in Chicago.  Callan had a wife named Mary and was the father of three children:  Peter, Thomas, and Catherine.  In the spring of 1915, Callan had received a letter from his father in Ireland stating that he needed help getting his affairs in order because he was very ill.  His father was a man of some wealth. Patrick had not been back to his native Ireland in 30 years.


Patrick Callan booked second-cabin passage on Lusitania and made friends with Flor and Julia Sullivan.  During the voyage, Callan enjoyed playing poker.  On the morning of 7 May, Callan stood on deck with the Sullivans as Lusitania neared Ireland and recited the poem "A Dream of Ireland":
I feel the touch of a Munster breeze Thank God my exile has ended
Due to the cold and fog, however, the three quickly went back inside. Callan was probably the Irish Chicagoan who fellow passenger Robert Dyer recalled as being "Patrick Carroll," from Dundalk, County Louth. Dyer recalled that Carroll (Callan) looked like “a man who saw Heaven” when he saw the Irish coast. Dyer and Carroll (Callan) were in the second cabin dining room having beer when the torpedo struck the ship. The crash knocked them off their feet and one of their friends exclaimed, “That’s these damnable German submarines, and I’ll bet they have done for us at last.” After the torpedo hit, Callan met up with the Sullivans on the port side Boat Deck.  He was waving his arms to get their attention.  Callan had saved the Sullivans room in a lifeboat that was already swung out.  Pat and Flor jumped in, but Julia refused.  She moved back into the crowd and pleaded to her husband that he must stay with her.  Flor jumped out of the boat, and pushing through the crowd trying to get into the boat he reached Julia and said to her, "I'm mad at you." Flor tried to pull her back to the boat but Julia refused to budge.  As the lifeboat was being lowered the Lusitania lurched again and the lifeboat dropped by the bow, its occupants "spilling like apples into the water".  Pat Callan was killed.  His body was never recovered or never identified. Dyer recalled seeing "Carroll"'s body floating in the water.


Patrick's father died of shock when he heard that his son had perished in the Lusitania disaster. As reported in the New York Times on 3 December 1918, Patrick's daughter, Catherine Hayden, applied to the United States District Attorney to indict Germany's ex-kaiser, William (Wilhelm) Hohenzollern on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder. She had hoped that the former kaiser would be extradited to the United States for trial for his role in the Lusitania sinking. "The only thing I object to," Catherine is reported to have said, "is that hanging is the severest penalty that can be inflicted." The former kaiser was never extradited or charged with war crimes, as he sought asylum in Doorn, The Netherlands. In the Callan family lawsuit against Germany, on 8 October 1924, the Mixed Claims Commission awarded Patrick's wife Mary $7,500.00, his daughter Catherine $2,500.00, and his son Peter as administrator of Patrick's estate $790.50.

Related pages

Patrick Callan at the Mixed Claims Commission
Contributors Cliff Barry, UK Senan Molony, Ireland Judith Tavares References Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Molony, Senan.  Lusitania:  An Irish Tragedy, pgs. 24-25.  Mercier Press, 2004. "Start Move to Indict Ex-Kaiser in Chicago." New York Times. 4 December 1918.

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