John Ernest Keegan was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, on the 19th February 1889, the son of Patrick James and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keegan. His father, who was always known as ‘James’, was a Ship’s Cook. The Keegan family resided in Admiral Place, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, for many years, and on completion of his education, John followed his father into the mercantile marine, working as a fireman and trimmer. On the 27th January 1912, John married Jane Davidson in Liverpool, and they lived at 47, Tay Street, Liverpool.
He engaged as a trimmer in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12th April 1915, at a monthly wage of £6-0s-0d. and joined the vessel at 8 a.m., on the morning of 17th April, before the vessel left Princes Landing Stage for the last time.
He was killed, three weeks later when the vessel was torpedoed and sunk. He was aged 25 years.
As his body was never recovered and identified later he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
In August 1915, he was officially discharged from the last voyage of the Lusitania
and his widow, Jane, was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service on board the
Lusitania from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down! In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £48-10s-9d. (£48.54p.) which was payable at the rate of £4-0s-11d. (£4.04½p.) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.