Mr Daniel Buckley was born in Boherbue, Co Cork, Ireland on 29 September 1890. He was the eldest child of Daniel Buckley (b. 1863), a baker, Abina O'Sullivan (b. 1866). One of seven surviving children from a total of nine, Daniel's known siblings were: Catherine (b. 16 August 1892), Mary Ellen (b. 20 July 1894), Cornelius (b. 1895), Julia (b. 7 December 1898), John (b. 26 May 1900), Hanora (b. 26 August 1901) and Timothy (b. 10 November 1902).
Daniel and his family appear on the 1901 census as residents of house 47 in Boherbue village, Co Cork. His father suffered from a heart ailment and passed away the following year aged 39 on 22 November 1902. His mother, who was left with a young family, was not remarried and relocated her brood to nearby Kingwilliamstown.
The remaining family appear on the 1911 census as residents of house 18 in Kingwilliamstown although Daniel was not present.
He boarded the Titanic at Queenstown (ticket number 330920 which cost £7, 15s, 17d) and was headed to an uncle and aunt at Tremont Avenue, New York. He led a group of passengers that consisted of Hannah Riordan, Bridget Bradley, Patrick Denis O'Connell, Patrick O'Connor, Nora O'Leary and Michael Linehan.
Buckley, who was asleep in a communal third class cabin near the bow when the collision took place, awoke to find seawater ankle deep on the floor.
"I heard some terrible noise and I jumped out on the floor, and the first thing I knew my feet were getting wet; the water was just coming in slightly. I told the other fellows to get up, that there was something wrong and, that the water was coming in. They only laughed at me. One of them says: "Get back into bed. You are not in Ireland now."
He hurriedly dressed and his three bunkmates eventually got out of bed; with it being a small cabin, Buckley left to give them room to dress themselves whilst he waited outside. Two crewmen passed by shouting "All up on deck unless you want to get drowned!" and Buckley immediately hastened to the upper decks and never saw his friends again.
Arriving in communal areas Buckley noticed other passengers wearing lifejackets but he had none so made his way back down to his cabin to retrieve it; he was stopped in his tracks as the water in the area was coming level with the third or fourth step of the staircase.
At one point Buckley was gathered with some other steerage men when one attempted to ascend a small flight of stairs into a first class area of the ship; a crewman came along and pushed the man back and snapped the gate shut and locked it. The same steerage passenger angrily chased after the man and broke the lock on the gate; he could not find the offending crewman and said if he had he would have chucked him into the ocean.
Buckley began to look elsewhere for a lifejacket and soon encountered a first-class passenger who had two; the man surrendered one to him and helped him to fasten it on. He made his way to the boat deck where he stated that he assisted in helping lower five lifeboats. He was standing by a lifeboat when a crowd of male passengers and crew jumped into the boat; Buckley made a split-second decision to join them and leapt in himself. Two officers came along with a crowd of steerage passengers and ordered the men out, most complied, leaving only he and five other men, firemen and sailors—he broke down and began to cry at the thought of his fate but a compassionate woman in the boat threw her shawl over his head and told him to hold fast. He mistakenly believed the woman to be Mrs Astor. The disguise worked and the boat was lowered to the water. His friend Bridget Bradley was apparently in the same boat and Buckley recalled her being very nervous and excitable, attempting to climb one of the falls when she thought the lifeboat was sinking, only to be subdued by a crewman.
As the night wore on those in the lifeboat spied the lights of Carpathia; such a welcome sight caused many to become hysterical and jump around; the crew attempted to control them and have them sit back down but many remained standing.
Daniel was later called upon to testify at the American Inquiry into the sinking, one of the few third-class passengers to do so.
It is not certain if Daniel ever returned to Ireland and he was later joined in America by his sister Catherine. He lived at 284 East 137th Street in Bronx, New York.
The Europe Buckley left behind erupted into war and when the USA became involved he voluntarily enlisted into the 69th New York Infantry (later the 165th Regiment) as a Private on 1 June 1917. He served in France from the end of October 1917 and was promoted to 1st Class Private on 1 September 1918. Of the various campaigns he was involved with, one of the most noteworthy was the Rouge Bouquet Campaign; on 7 March 1918 German artillery bombarded American trenches and the 165th Regiment suffered heavy losses; Daniel was one of the few survivors from that regiment. Only a few weeks later, on 21 March 1918 he was "slightly wounded".
Daniel Buckley met his end on 17 October 1918 1 during the Argonne Campaign—shot by a sniper whilst helping to evacuate the wounded at the Meause-Argonne front. Although initially buried in France, his body was later repatriated to Ireland and he was buried in Kingswilliamtown Cemetery. When his friend Nora O'Leary died many years later she was buried there, too.
His mother remained in Kingwilliamstown which became known as Ballydesmond after Ireland's partition. She died at the age of 83 on 1 March 1949.