John Ferris was born in County Kerry, Ireland in the latter half of the 19th century and served as an assistant steward in the Stewards' Department on board the final voyage of the
Lusitania. He was a professional merchant seaman and his usual ship was the SS Cameronia. He engaged on her at Glasgow on 15 April 1915.
However the Admiralty requisitioned SS Cameronia for war use as a troop ship at the end of April 1915. On 1 May nine crew members not needed for her new rôle (stewards, stewardesses and a matron) were transferred to the
These included John Ferris who re-engaged as an assistant steward in the Stewards' Department for the
Lusitania's final voyage. What must have seemed at first to be a stroke of good fortune certainly turned sour when she was sunk.
Fortunately he survived the sinking.
On 22 May 1915 he was mentioned in a report about the sinking in 'The Kerry Advocate' newspaper. It stated that he was a former railway stationmaster at Fenit, a small sea port on the Kerry coast, approximately ten kilometres west of Tralee, and that he attributed his survival to his knowledge of swimming and floating.
Cunard Records, UniLiv. D/92/6/1, The Kerry Advocate.