James Murphy was born in Swords, County Dublin in 1860. At some stage he had gone to Liverpool to work in the Mercantile Marine and in 1915, he lived at 116, Miller's Bridge, Bootle, Lancashire, just along the River Mersey from Liverpool.
He engaged as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the Lusitania, at Liverpool, on the 12th April 1915, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d, (£6.50p.), £1-0s-0d., of which was advanced to him at the time. His cousin, William Sinnott, and his uncle, Matthew Murphy also engaged as firemen at the same time. James Murphy’s previous ship had been the
Having completed the Lusitania’s voyage to New York, Fireman Murphy would have been stoking the furnaces when the liner left New York on the afternoon of 1st May 1915, for her return journey to Liverpool. This was never completed, however, because on the afternoon of 7th May 1915, she was torpedoed and sunk within sight of the coast of southern Ireland, by the German submarine
James Murphy survived this action, however and having been rescued from the sea, he was landed at Queenstown, from where he eventually made it back to Liverpool, having been treated for injuries at Queenstown Infirmary. Once there, he was officially discharged from the last voyage of the Lusitania and was paid the balance of wages owing to him. This sum was in respect of his service on board from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down!
His cousin William Sinnott also survived the sinking of the Lusitania; however his uncle, Matthew Murphy was less fortunate and was lost. Fireman Murphy was aged 55 years at the time of his ordeal.
Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv.D92/1/6.