James Burke was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in 1896, the son of Thomas and Margaret Burke. He was married to Sarah Burke, (née Richardson) and they lived at 43 Clive Street, Liverpool.
He signed on as a trimmer in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 for what would be the liner’s last ever voyage to America and reported for duty at 8am on 17 April, the day she left the River Mersey. As a trimmer his monthly rate of pay was £6-0s-0d and upon engagement, he was given an advance on his pay of £1-0s-0d.
James Burke was killed when the great liner was sunk. He was aged 19 years.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a result he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine War Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to Sarah Burke to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £39-4s-10d (£39.24) payable at the rate of £3-3s-9d (£3.18½) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR 13/24.