Martin Geraghty was born in Banagher, King’s County, now known as County Offaly, Ireland on 1 May 1877. In 1899 he married Christina Fanning in Dublin, and they lived with their family in Dublin.
Martin’s brother William was living and working in New York and in July 1910 Martin went to do likewise. It is not known what employment he found there, but by the spring of 1915 he had decided to return home to his family in Dublin. Rather than pay his passage, he decided to seek employment on a transatlantic liner.
He engaged as an assistant butcher in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania, at New York on 30 April 1915, at a monthly wage of £4.10s.00 (£4.50). It was to prove a tragic decision for him, as he was killed in the sinking, exactly one week later. He was aged 38 years.
His body was never recovered and identified afterwards, so his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show his rank to have been that of waiter, but the crew list compiled by Cunard at the time of the ship's last voyage and published in March 1916 shows him to have been an assistant butcher. This is likely to be the more reliable source.
In August 1915 Martin Geraghty was officially discharged from the last voyage of the
Lusitania and his widow was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service from 30 April to 8 May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down. In addition the Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted an annual pension to Christina Geraghty to compensate her for the loss of her husband, which amounted to £63-5s-10d (£63.29) payable at the rate of £5-5s-6d (£5.27½) per month.
In November 1917 the terms of his pension were altered and an annual pension of £32-10s-0d (£32.50) was made payable to one Stan Keogh at a monthly rate of £2-14s-2d (£2.71). Although no details are known, it would appear that this pension was payable for the benefit of Martin’s children who must have been under the guardianship of Mr Keogh, and either Christina Geraghty was deceased or had re-married.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1901 Census of Ireland, 1911 Census of Ireland, New York Passenger Lists 1820 -1957, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. D/92/6/1, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.