Faces of the Titanic: Daniel Buckley was saved after a woman hid him in a lifeboat
Woman threw her cloak of the 21-year-old as other men were turned away from the boats
Profile taken from Senan Molony's book "The Irish Aboard the Titanic"
Ticket number 330920. Paid £7 12s 7d, plus 3s 10d extra.
Boarded at Queenstown. Third Class.
From: Kingwilliamstown (now Ballydesmond), County Cork.
Destination: 855 Trement Avenue, Bronx, New York city.
Daniel Buckley lived because a woman in a lifeboat threw a shawl over him. Her action cloaked his presence as officers fired shots and ordered men who had rushed a boat to leave it – or die. A moment’s humanity had turned Dannie Buckley female.
He was an ambitious and enterprising young man who wanted to go to America to
make some money, as he told Senator William Alden Smith at the US inquiry. ‘I came in the Titanic because she was a new steamer.’
But his good luck lasted for only another six years. Daniel Buckley was killed in 1918, a month before the end of the First World War, while helping to evacuate American Expeditionary Force wounded from the front line on the French/Belgian border.
Buckley was born on 28 September 1890 and baptised the same day in the Church of
the Immaculate Conception in Boherbue, County Cork. His proud parents were Daniel Snr and Abigail Sullivan. The family moved to neighbouring Kingwilliamstown in 1905, where Daniel Snr became the town baker.
By 1912, Buckley and a number of young friends had decided on emigration to the United States, where opportunities would be better for a jobbing labourer like himself. The night before the party left for Queenstown to embark, there was an American wake in the town with strong drink, set-dancing and a singsong send-off. Buckley had penned a ballad to ‘Sweet Kingwilliamstown’, a tuneful tribute that endures in the area, but chose that night to sing an optimistic valediction: ‘When the Fields are White with Daisies, I’ll Return’.
Aboard the White Star vessel, Buckley and three friends found a Third-Class compartment near the bow. He shared the cramped room with his near neighbours Patrick O’Connell, Patrick O’Connor and Michael Linehan. Here is Buckley’s account in a letter to his mother composed three days after rescue:
On board the Carpathia, 18 March [sic], 1912.
I am writing these lines on board the Carpathia, the ship that saved our lives. As I might not have much time when I get to New York, I mean to give you an account of the terrible shipwreck we had.
At 11 p.m. on the 14th, our ship Titanic struck an iceberg and sank to the deep at 2.20
a.m. on the 15th. The present estimation is 1,500 lost, 710 saved. Thank God some of us are amongst the saved.
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