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Peter Buswell was born in  1888 in Canning Town, then part of Essex, and by 1915 was living with his wife and son at 75 Leigh Hall Road.

Peter was a shipping agent for the Anchor Line based in Glasgow, later to be closely allied to the Cunard Line.  His career was to be one of crossing the Atlantic in some of the greatest passenger liners of the day, such as the Aquitania and the Berengaria.

On 22 March 1915 he arrived in New York aboard the Cunard ship, Tuscania and was scheduled to return to Glasgow aboard the Cameronia.  For reasons that are not clear the Cameronia was  requisitioned on 1 May and so Peter, along with several others, was transferred to the ill-fated Lusitania.

On 7 May, Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 11 miles off the southern coast of Ireland inside the declared "zone of war".  She sank in just 18 minutes.

In firing on what was then held to be a non-military ship without warning, the Germans had breached international laws. The sinking caused huge protests in the US, as 128 Americans were among the dead, and helped shift public opinion in the US against Germany and influenced America's eventual declaration of war two years later, in 1917. It also invigorated the recruitment campaign at home.


A local poet, whose verse is often to be found in local newspapers of the time, wrote the following on the sinking of the Lusitania.



Later history shows that the munitions on board made the ship a legitimate target for the U-Boat and  although the blame was laid squarely on Germany for the loss of life, the British had been breaching the law themselves by shipping those munitions on a passenger liner.

Peter Buswell survived the sinking of the Lusitania and continued to travel back and forth across the Atlantic, sometimes taking Marion with him.  He lived in Leigh Hall Road until his death in 1945.

Did he ever pass the story of his experiences on to anyone in Leigh?

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