William McAdam was born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1872, the son of William and Anne Jane McAdam. His family moved to Liverpool, Lancashire while William was a young child.
William married Julia Ann McCraith in Liverpool in 1893, and they lived at 25 Rockingham Street, Stanley Road, Liverpool, Lancashire with their nine children.
He engaged as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool on 12 April 1915 at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s.0d (£6.50). He reported for duty at 8am on 17 April, before the
Lusitania left Liverpool for the last time. His previous ship had been the Canadian Pacific steam ship Missanabie.
William was killed when the Cunarder was sunk, three weeks later. He was aged 43 years.
His body was not recovered from the sea and identified afterwards, so his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine War Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
In August 1915 his widow was paid the balance of wages owing to him in respect of his service from 17 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the liner had gone down. The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to Julia McAdam to compensate her for the loss of her husband, which amounted to £74-2s-4d (£74.11½) payable at the rate of £6-3s-7d (£6.18) per month.
In an interview with Granada Television News at a memorial service for relatives of
Lusitania crew, held near one of the liner’s original propellers at Merseyside Maritime Museum on 7 May 1999, Fireman McAdam’s 90 year old daughter Julia Feagan said of her father’s loss:
"My mother had nine children, she was left with nine children and never married afterwards - just stayed with her children."
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 English Census, 1901 English Census, 1891 English Census, 1881 English Census, Commonwealth War Grave Commission, Cunard Records. Julia Feagan, Granada Television, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.