Peter McNulty was born in the townland of Edenappa, Jonesborough, near Newry, County Armagh, Ireland, in 1882, the son of Bernard and Sarah McNulty.
On completion of his education he became a labourer, and then, on the 3rd March 1899, enlisted in the 3rd Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers at Newry. As 6545 Private Peter McNulty he served in South Africa during the Boer War, spending almost a year in South Africa. He returned to Newry in early 1901, and was discharged as being medically unfit to serve further on the 15th December 1901. The reason for his medical discharge is not known.
Following his military service, he then went to Liverpool to find work. On the 27th April 1908, he married Ethel White in Liverpool, and they subsequently had three children. The family resided at 3, Parr Street, Litherland, Liverpool, Lancashire. Sometime after his marriage, he joined the Mercantile Marine.
Having served previously on the Canadian Pacific steamer Missanabie, he engaged as a trimmer in the Engineering Department on board the
Lusitania on 12th April 1915 at Liverpool at a monthly wage of £6-0s-0d. He joined the vessel before she left Liverpool on her last ever crossing to New York, on the morning of 17th April.
Three weeks later, he was killed after the vessel was torpedoed and sunk. He was aged 33 years. As his body was not recovered and identified afterwards, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
His brother Steve was also on board the Lusitania’s final voyage, but as a second class passenger. He also perished in the sinking, but unlike his brother, his body was recovered and identified afterwards and on 10th May 1915, it was buried in one of the mass graves in The Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown.
This left their dependent parents without any immediate means of support, although Ethel McNulty was later able to claim some compensation under The Workmen’s Compensation Act, for the loss of her husband. In August 1915, she was also paid the balance of wages owing to her husband in respect of his sea service from 17th April until 8th May 1915 - 24 hours after the liner 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 £57-0s-5d. (£57.02p.) which was payable at the rate of £4-15s-1d. (£4.75½p.) per month.
Her in-laws, Bernard and Sarah McNulty, were also given some financial aid by The Lusitania Relief Fund, set up after the sinking, by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other local dignitaries.
On the 1st February 1919, Ethel McNulty married Evan Thomas Jenkins in Liverpool and had a further two children. She died in Coventry, Warwickshire, on the 5th February 1946, aged 57 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 Census of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Liverpool Record Office, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/11, UniLiv D92/2/272, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.