Cusick, Christopher

Christopher Cusick/Cusack, Private 27213, 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 11th April 1916 in France, aged 26

 

EARLY LIFE

Christopher Cusick was born on 23rd March and baptised on 6th April 1890 at St Alban’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Eliza and John Cusick (Kusick), a general labourer. The following year, one year old Christopher was living at 27 Nixon’s Yard, Macclesfield with his parents and older sister Mary (6). Another sister, Alice Winifred, was born on 17th December 1891.

Christopher’s mother Eliza died on 21st October 1893, most likely in childbirth, as a ten day old baby, Thomas Kusick, died on 1st November. Both were listed in the St Alban’s Church burial register. Two years later, on 23rd September 1895, Christopher’s father John married Annie Murphy at St Alban’s Church; a son, James, was born on 26th July 1896.

Christopher was educated at St Albans School.

Christopher and his sister Alice sailed for America on the SS “Baltic”, leaving Liverpool on 7th May 1909 and arriving in New York twelve days later. They named their father, John Cusick of 33 Nixons Yard, Macclesfield, as their next of kin and stated that they were visiting their uncle, Andrew Owen Ferguson, of 307 Neptune Place, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Christopher and Alice returned to England aboard the SS “Celtic”, arriving at Liverpool on 11th July 1909.

In 1911 Christopher was employed as a labourer and lodging at 20 Derby Street, while Alice was living at 33 Nixon’s Yard with her father, step-mother and younger half-brother James; but not long afterwards they made a second journey to America, leaving Liverpool on the SS “Campania” and arriving in New York on 22nd July 1911. This time, Christopher was travelling to visit his uncle, Peter Cusick, at Pleasant Street, Jamesville, Connecticut, while Alice went back to Scranton to see her aunt, Mary Ferguson, at 509 Alden Street. It is not known when the return journey took place.

The newspaper report of Christopher’s death states that he later served as a sailor; this may have been in the Merchant Navy but no evidence can be found.

 

WW1 SERVICE

Christopher enlisted in Liverpool soon after the outbreak of the war and, following a period of training, he was drafted with the British Expeditionary Force to France. On 11th April 1916, A and C companies of the 1st Cheshire Regiment were billeted in Arras, while B and D companies were in K2 fire trenches near Roclincourt Garrison. The Battalion war diary for that day reads:

A quiet day. Only three aerial torpedoes were sent over in the morning, casualties 7 men wounded & 1 killed. Enemy showed a little activity in the evening but were silenced by our artillery fire.

It is assumed that the man recorded as being killed that day was Christopher Cusick. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 19th May 1916:

KILLED BY A BOMB – A SOLDIER AND A SAILOR TOO
Official information has reached Mr John Cusick, 33 Thomas Street, Macclesfield, that his son, Private Christopher Cusick, 1st Batt. Cheshire Regt., was killed in action in France on April 11th. A letter has also been received from a soldier comrade of the deceased, stating that he was killed by an exploding bomb. Private Cusick was himself a bomb-thrower.

Private Cusick was 26 years of age and was born in Macclesfield. He went out to some relatives in America six years ago, and subsequently served as a sailor. On the outbreak of war he obtained his discharge and enlisted in the Army. He underwent a course of training and proceeded to France about six months ago… His brother, Private James Cusick, is in training at Oswestry with the 3/7th Cheshires.

In letters home the deceased stated: “We are only about ten yards from the Germans, and I have got some souvenirs which I picked up in a house that had been blown down. We have been to a city where there is not a house standing…”

 

COMMEMORATION

Private Christopher Cusick is buried in Grave Ref. I. A. 29. of Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery in France. His step-mother requested that a cross and the following inscription should be added to his headstone:

“WORTHY OF EVERLASTING LOVE”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Christopher Cusick.

In Macclesfield, Private Christopher Cusick is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church and St Alban’s Church war memorials.


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