Martin Casey was born in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1867, the son of Martin and Jessie Casey. He was married to Georgina Casey (née Dennett) and as he was a professional sailor in the British Mercantile Marine, by 1915 the family was living at 13 Walker Street, Liverpool, Lancashire. They had seven children.
On 12 April 1915 he engaged as a second cabin bedroom steward in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool, at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d (£4.25). He reported for duty on board the vessel five days later, on the morning of 17 April, before she left the city for New York. It was not the first time that he had served on the liner.
Having reached New York without mishap he was on board when the vessel left New York on the early afternoon of 1 May 1915 for her return voyage to her home port. This was never completed, for six days out, on the afternoon of 7 May, she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger, twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland. She sank within 18 minutes taking two thirds of her passengers and crew with her. At that stage of her voyage she was only about 14 hours steaming time away from Liverpool.
Martin Casey was killed as a result of this action and as his body was not found and identified afterwards his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing of the Great War, at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 48 years, although for some reason he gave his age on engagement as 50.
He is also commemorated on the family grave in St Malew churchyard extension near the village of Ballasalla on the Isle of Man. The inscription on the headstone reads:
LOVING MEMORY OF
TORPEDOED S.S. LUSITANIA
MAY 7. 1915 AGE 48.
In August 1915 his widow Georgina was paid the residue of wages owed to him in respect of his service on the
Lusitania, from 17 April 1915 until 8 May - 24 hours after the ship had foundered. In addition the Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited also granted a yearly pension to Georgina Casey to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £32-16s-10d (£32.84) payable at the rate of £4-8s-1d (£4.40½) per month.
His widow died in June 1954, aged 86 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Barry Bridson, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR 13/24.