Oswald George James was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 16th December 1860, the son of George Frederick and Janet James. His employment record varied from being an insurance agent for the Liverpool United Legal Friendly Society, to being a fruit salesman, before becoming a waiter in the mercantile marine.
He was married to Frances Thompson in Liverpool on the 29th February 1888, and they lived at 76, Knoclaid Road, Clubmoor, Liverpool. Lancashire. The couple had seven children.
Oswald was employed as a first class steward in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania and lost his life when she was sunk. His body was not recovered and identified after the sinking. He was aged 55 years, although the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission mistakenly state that he was aged 39 years!
In August 1915, he was officially discharged from the last voyage of the Lusitania
and his widow, Frances, was paid the balance of wages owed to him, in respect of his service on board the
Lusitania from 17th April 1915, until 8th May, 24 hours after the vessel had gone down! In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £26-1s-5d. (£26.07p.) which was payable at the rate of £2-3s-6d. (£2.17½p.) per month.
As he has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show his rank to be that of waiter, but he appears on a Cunard crew list, published in March 1916 and probably a more reliable source, as First Class Steward.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1861 Census of England and Wales, 1871 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.