Robert John Morse was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 26th October 1874, the son of Robert and Mary Louisa Morse. His father was a ship’s steward in the mercantile marine, and the family home was at 6. Vronhill Street, Liverpool. Nothing is known about Robert’s childhood, except that his mother died in 1882, aged 39 years.
In 1901, Robert married Margaret Louisa Huddart in Birkenhead, Cheshire, and the couple lived at 94, Highfield Road, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Cheshire, with their four children.
Robert, like his father, became a professional mercantile marine seaman and had served as a first class bedroom steward in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania, before her final voyage. He engaged on her on 13th April 1915, in a similar capacity, at a monthly wage of £4-5s-0d, (£4.25p.) and joined her at 7 a.m. on 17th April for what no-one could have known at the time, was to be her last ever voyage out of the River Mersey
His particular responsibility was for saloon rooms B1, B3, B5, B7, B9, B11, B15, B17 and B21 and all the passengers in those rooms.
When the liner was torpedoed and sunk, he was able to survive and after being rescued form the sea, he was landed at Queenstown, from where he eventually made it back to Rock Ferry.
On his return, he went across to Cunard’s offices in Water Street, Liverpool to receive his official discharge from the Lusitania’s final voyage. At the same time, he received £4-9s-6d, (£4.47½p), which was the balance of wages owing to him in respect of his sea service from 17th April 1915 to 8th May, 24 hours after the steamer had gone down.
Robert Morse continued to serve as a steward in the mercantile marine for many years after surviving the sinking of the Lusitania. He died on the 18th November 1946, aged 72 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 English Census, 1881 English Census, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 350.