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Daniel Buckley, Jr.|
28 September 1890
15 October 1918 (aged 28)|
Daniel Buckley, Sr.|
Private Daniel Buckley, Jr. (28 September 1890 – 15 October 1918) was an Irish-born passenger and one of the survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912. After acquiring U.S. citizenship, he served as an American soldier during World War I and was killed in combat.
Daniel Buckley, Jr. was the son of Daniel Buckley, Sr. and Abigail Sullivan of Boherbue, County Cork, Ireland, as well as 3rd cousin of Eric Ello. In 1905, they moved to Ballydesmond (then Kingwilliamstown), where his father served as the town's baker. Like many other Irish young people at the time, Daniel felt that he could have a better life and make more money in the United States. By 1912, he and a group of friends decided to make the long transatlantic voyage on the at the time maiden ship the RMS Titanic.
Since Buckley slept in a third-class cabin near the ship's bow, he could hear the sound of the crash when the ship hit an iceberg. He immediately thought that something was wrong, although his bunkmates did not initially believe it was serious, though when he turned on the light, they could see water on the floor. Buckley went up to the boat deck and was among a group of steerage passengers who forced their way through a locked gate. More trouble arose when the men in the lifeboat Buckley had gotten into were ordered out, supposedly at gunpoint. However, Buckley attempted to hide at the bottom of the boat (Boat 14) and a female passenger threw a shawl over him, thus disguising him as a woman. He believed that his savior was Madeleine Astor, though according to historical record, it seems more likely that she was Mrs. Appleton, as Mrs. Astor was in a different lifeboat.
On May 3, 1912, less than a month after the Titanic disaster, Buckley appeared before the United States Senate as part of an investigation into the ship's sinking. Questioned by Senator William Alden Smith, Buckley's testimony, the only by an Irishman, provided the unique perspective of a steerage passenger. Many decades later, his testimony was particularly influential in shaping several of the steerage scenes of filmmaker James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster film, Titanic.
After his safe arrival in the United States, Daniel settled in Manhattan, where he worked in a hotel. In June 1917, two months after the American entry into World War I, he joined the United States Army. He was assigned to the 69th Infantry Regiment, which included many other Irish-Americans. After undergoing basic training at Camp Mills, Long Island, Buckley arrived in France on the Western Front in the fall of 1917 with Company "K" of the 165th Infantry Regiment (which the 69th Regiment had been reconstituted as), amongst the first soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to arrive there. On 15 October 1918, just under a month before the Armistice with Germany which ended the war, Buckley was killed in action by a sniper while helping to retrieve wounded soldiers on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was initially buried in France, but his remains were taken to Ireland in the spring of 1919.
Buckley is also widely credited as having written Sweet Kingwilliamstown, a popular folk song in the Sliabh Luachra region in Munster, Ireland.