Richard McCabe was born in Barlow Street, Walton, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, in 1894, the son of Andrew and Mary McCabe. His father was a cobbler. Richard was educated at St. John’s Roman Catholic School, Walton and lived with his brother Andrew and his sister-in-law Catherine, at 34, Lancaster Street, Everton, Liverpool.
He was an excellent swimmer and had won medals for his prowess in it, before he went to sea as a professional seaman. On 12th April 1915, he signed on at Liverpool, as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the
Lusitania, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s.0d, (£6.50p.). His previous ship had been the Cunarder Caronia. He reported for duty on the morning of 17th April, for the
Lusitania’s last sailing from England and he was killed when she was sunk.
His brother Andrew McCabe also served as a fireman on the liner and according to family tradition, Richard was on duty in the engine room when the torpedo struck and his brother, who was off watch, went below to find him. In the event, they both perished. Richard McCabe, whose ability to swim very well didn’t help him at all, was aged 21 years.
His body was not recovered and identified after the sinking and as a result, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
The Cunard Steam Ship Company paid his wages until 8th May, like all other crew members and eventually the balance of money owing to him, £5, was sent to his surviving relatives.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 English Census, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, Catherine Smith, PRO BT 334.