Henry Christian was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in late 1855, the son of Henry and Eleanor Jessie Christian. While still a child his father died and, coming from a large family, Henry began working as a waiter while still in his early teenage years. By 1872 he began serving as a ship’s steward.
He had married Katie Christian (née Coates) who died on 20 April 1906, and in 1915 he lived at 24 Blythswood Street, Aigburth, Liverpool.
He was a professional steward in the British Mercantile Marine and on 12 April 1915 he engaged at the Cunard office at Water Street, Liverpool as a second cabin bedroom steward on board the
Lusitania. His monthly rate of pay in this rank was £4-5s-0d, (£4.25). His engagement was for a return visit to New York and having arrived there on 24 April, the liner began her return on the early afternoon of 1 May 1915.
Six days out of New York she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20 whilst only about 12 miles off the coast of southern Ireland, with heavy loss of life to passengers and crew. Henry Christian was onE of those killed as a result of the action. He was aged 59 years, although he gave his age on signing up for the voyage as 48.
His body was not found and as a result he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
Cunard records show him to have the initial 'K', but this is probably a misprint.
On 7 July 1915, administration of his estate was granted to his eldest daughter, Mrs Katie Pauline Redfearn, wife of Alexander George Redfearn. His effects amounted to £40-8s-11d (£48.45). The following month his family received from Cunard the balance of pay owed to him in respect of his service on the Lusitania’s last voyage. This was reckoned to be from 17 April to 8 May 2015, 24 hours after the liner had been sunk.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1861 Census of England and Wales, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 334, Lawrence Evans, David Irving, Robert O'Brien, Probate Records, PRO BT 334.