Mr. Patrick Vincent McGinley

Patrick McGinley, 32, was a second cabin passenger and Irish national aboard Lusitania traveling with his sister, Rose Ellen Murray. Brother and sister had been separated in the sinking, and though both survived, each thought the other lost until they saw each other in Queenstown.


McGinley was originally from Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland (present-day Northern Ireland). He had later moved to Belfast in County Antrim, where he is listed as living at 233 Albert Bridge. He had also been a schoolteacher at St. Gall’s National School, Clonard. As of May 1915, he had been an employee of Park and Telford in New York City for five years and was returning to Belfast for his first visit home since emigrating: McGinley emigrated to the United States in March 1910, when he had also sailed aboard Lusitania. During that visit, he had stayed with a friend in the naval training academy in Newport, Rhode Island, presumably Christopher Murray, a naval officer who would marry his sister.


For the voyage, McGinley had given $5,000 to the purser to place in the ship's safe. According to the Irish Times of 10 May 1915, McGinley claimed "to have seen the first torpedo actually fired." He and Rose were standing together at the moment of impact and said that he saw the submarine about 400 yards from the Lusitania. He saw the periscope and then the turret, and then it disappeared quickly just before the ship was struck by the torpedo. Patrick also believed that the ship was hit by a second torpedo just before sank from beneath him
I had lunched at the first table at one o’clock, and then I came on deck and chatted with a gentleman friend. Everyone around was in the best of spirits. Shortly after two o’clock as I was still talking to my friend, I noticed a white object about 100 yards off on the land side. It was directly at right angles to the liner. I called my friend’s attention to it, and he said 'That appears to be a periscope.' I saw a white streak coming towards the vessel. 'My God, there’s a torpedo' exclaimed my friend.  I saw it come quickly through the water until it struck the ship, which shook like a reed in the wind and heaved to one side. Everyone was rushing to and fro and there was a good deal of excitement but not all that much under the circumstances. The people got into the boats as quickly and with as little crushing as possible. When they had been there for about five minutes, an order came from the captain, indirectly, that the passengers should leave the boats as everything was safe and they were going to make for land. I at once went down to my stateroom and secured two lifebelts, thinking they were the best thing in the circumstances. On coming up, I fixed one on my sister, Mrs. Murray, who was already in a lifeboat and I fastened the other on myself. I remained in the boat, which contained about one hundred people. Orders were then given to lower all the boats quickly, as the ship was sinking very fast. Something went wrong with the pulley on the boat in which we were, and a young man cut the ropes thinking, of course, that the boat would fall on its keel in the water. Instead of that, however, it turned upside down and we were all precipitated headlong into the water. I went down ever so far in to the sea, and at last I began to rise again. On coming up, I felt something resting on top of my head, and on putting up my hand I discovered it was the upturned boat from which we had fallen.  With great difficulty, I managed to get from under it, and I then started swimming around in the hope of finding my sister. I could find no trace of her, though bodies were drifting past me all the time. In the meantime, the Lusitania had disappeared. After I had been swimming for a considerable time, I managed to get onto a raft and drifted for about half a mile. I saw a lifeboat upside down and with about forty people clinging to her, and I thought if I could get to that boat I should be alright. I sprang from the raft and swam the one hundred fifty yards which separated me from the boat, and I was dragged aboard.
This was overturned lifeboat 22A.
We were on that boat almost an hour--seven women and the rest all men. One of the men had his arm torn almost completely off, and a young man severed it for him with a pocket knife. As we were floating about, I saw a lady and a gentleman clinging to a piece of raft and coming in our direction. When they came near the boat, the lady lifted one hand and said 'For God’s sake, save me!'  One man on the boat said 'If you bring any more on the boat, it will go down' I said 'We can’t see people drown, let’s get them on!' Mr. Wyle, a steward, and I helped the lady on, and also the man. The lady, it afterwards transpired, was Lady Allan.
In a letter to Gertrude Prichard, the mother of Richard Preston Prichard,  McGinley stated:
I was picked up with about forty others, after being four hours in the water, by an old tramp steamer called the Caterina [sic, actually a British ship called Westborough disguised as a Greek steamer named Katrina to evade the submarines], which was flying the Greek flag and was bound from Havana, Cuba, to Liverpool with a cargo of sugar . . . I had the satisfaction of saving several lives, including Lady Allan, who unfortunately lost her two beautiful daughters, and Miss Rita Jolivet--principal or leading lady in Seymour Hicks' Company.
Later on in Queenstown, from the Cork Free Press of 10 May 1915:
An interesting reunion of brother and sister occurred in the lace shop of Mrs Aherne, on the Beach, Queenstown. Mrs Murray, while making purchases in the shop, saw her brother Mr McGinley enter the same establishment. Both belonged to New York, and each thought the other drowned.
McGinley later wrote, "Needless to say, it was a joyful meeting." Patrick McGinley died in 1951 in Cathcart, Scotland.

Links of interest

The Price of Fame : Rose Ellen Murray, the Lusitania's Titanic Survivor
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Senan Molony, Ireland Mike Poirier, USA References: Cork Free Press, 10 May 1915, page 7. "Belfast Man Sees Torpedo Fired." Irish Times. 10 May 1915, page 8. Kalafus, Jim, and Michael Poirier. "The Price of Fame : Rose Ellen Murray, the Lusitania's Titanic Survivor." Gare Maritime.  Accessed 12th March 2015 05:14:18 AM. <> Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy. Mercier Press, 2004, pages 55 and 65.

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