John Benjamin Hine was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 14 January 1891, the son of Foster Lancaster and Mary Jane Hine. He was educated at St Michael's in-the-Hamlet School, Aigburth, Liverpool and the family home in 1915 was at 23 St Michael's Road, Aigburth.
He was employed as an extra vegetable cook in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania and engaged at Liverpool on 15 April 1915 for what would be her final voyage, at a rate of £6-0s-0d per month. He joined the vessel before she left Liverpool landing stage for the last time on 17 April 1915.
Having completed the Lusitania’s voyage to New York, he was killed six days out of the port on the afternoon of 7 May 1915, when the liner was sunk by the German submarine
U-20, within sight of the coast of southern Ireland.
On 10 May 1915 17 bodies were recovered from the sea between Baltimore and Castletownshend, about 30 miles from where the liner went down by the Queenstown tender
Flying Fish. Eight of these bodies were those of women and nine of them were men and it was reported in 'The Cork Examiner' on Thursday 12 May 1915 that one of them was that of John Hine, although it names him as "Hynes".
The bodies were later landed at Queenstown and taken to one of the temporary mortuaries there, where that of Extra Vegetable Cook Hine was given the reference number 171 and described as:
"Man, supposed crew John Hines, (sic), Veg. Cook 25 to 30 years, fair hair, clean shaven, blue eyes, hooked nose, thin face, slight make, boots and socks, 5’ 8” or 9”, supposed steward"
On 14 May 1915 John Hine was buried in the Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown, in Mass Grave B Row 6, Upper Tier.
Despite the fact that John Hine has an identified grave, the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission did not originally recognise this and as a consequence, he is also commemorated on the Mercantile Marine War Memorial at Tower Hill, London. As a result of the author's research, however, the Commission has accepted that he has an actual burial site and in November 1998, erected a permanent memorial to him and other crew members, where he is actually buried.
It takes the form of a monument of Irish limestone, sited at the head of Mass Grave B, the centre one of the three. The names of crew members buried in the three mass graves are incised on two black granite panels on the memorial, with a legend in between them, which reads:
"1914 - 1918
IN HONOURED MEMORY
OF THOSE NAMED WHO,
SERVING ON THE
DIED WHEN THE SHIP WAS
SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION
ON 7 MAY 1915
AND ARE BURIED NEARBY"
The name of Extra Vegetable Cook Hine is incised on the left hand panel.
The Commission has also stated that should it ever be necessary to renew the panel bearing his name on the Tower Hill Memorial, his name would be omitted from its replacement and his name removed from the Tower Hill Memorial register.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cork Examiner, Cunard Records, PRO BT100/345, May Wills, PRO BT 334.