John Niven McPherson was born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on the 16th July 1871, the son of John and Mary Ann McNiven McPherson of 29, Wallace Grove Place, Shields Road, Glasgow.
He engaged as a waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the Lusitania at New York, on 30th April 1915 at a rate of pay of £4.05s.00d, (£4.25), just in time for her last trans-Atlantic crossing. It proved a costly decision for him, as he was killed when she was sunk, exactly one week later. He was aged 44 years.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a result 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 fireman in the Engineering Department, but those of Cunard, compiled for the Lusitania's last voyage and published in March 1916 are more likely to be reliable for ranks held on board at the time.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of Scotland, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, UniLiv. D92/6/1, PRO BT 334.