John Kelly was born in Govan, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1879, the son of John and Margaret Kelly. The family home was at 53, Latham Street, Stanley Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool, Lancashire.
He was engaged as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania and was killed when she was sunk. He was aged 36 years.
His body was not found and identified afterwards and consequently, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
He is also commemorated on a memorial in St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church, in Great Mersey Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool, not far from where he lived.
In August 1915, the Cunard Steam Ship Company forwarded the balance of pay owing to John Kelly in respect of his sea service on the
Lusitania to his family. This was reckoned to be from 17th April 1915, the day the vessel had left Liverpool, until 8th May 1915, 24 hours after she had been sunk. In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted his mother a yearly pension to compensate her for the loss of her son, on whom she was obviously dependent upon. This amounted to £21-5s-3d. (£21.26p.) which was payable at the rate of £1-15s-6d. (£1.77½p.) per month.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, George Donnison, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.