Nicholas Orwin was born in Morpeth, Northumberland, in the latter part of 1878 the son of John and Mary Jane Orwin (née Rogerson). His father died in 1880, leaving his mother to raise a young family; however, she married William Moffatt, who was a broker and money lender, in 1884.
Nicholas became a farm labourer and then a loan office clerk. He married Sarah Swallow Baty in 1901, and although he continued as a clerk, he also kept animals, which included sheep and horses. In January 1905, he was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment with hard labour, for cruelty to an animal when he permitted a mare to starve to death. In October 1907, he was again convicted of cruelty to animals, this time for neglecting sheep which resulted in them going lame and suffering foot rot. He was convicted on two charges and was sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour on the first charge, and fined the sum of £3 and costs on the second.
By 1911, Nicholas and his wife were residing in Brighton, Sussex, where he was again working as a farm labourer. It was sometime after this that he enlisted as a steward in the mercantile marine and he and Sarah re-located to Liverpool where they lived at 23, Isabel Grove, Tuebrook, Liverpool, Lancashire.
He engaged as a Deck Steward in the Stewards Department on board the Lusitania at Liverpool, and reported for duty at 8 a.m. on 17th April 1915, the morning that the liner made her last ever departure from the River Mersey.
Three weeks later, on the afternoon of 7th May, on the vessel’s return journey to her home port, he lost his life after she was torpedoed and sunk off the southern coast of Ireland, by the German submarine
U-20. He was aged 36 years.
His body was never found and identified afterwards and as a result, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine War Memorial at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 36 years.
In August 1915, the balance of wages still owed to him in respect of his service on the
Lusitania was paid to his widow, Sarah. It covered the period from 17th April until 8th May 1915, 24 hours after the great ship had foundered. In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension which amounted to £30-9s-8d. (£30.48½p.) which was payable at the rate of £7-13s-5d. (£7.67p.) per quarter.
When his will was proven on 10th November 1915, administration was granted to his widow and his effects amounted to £75-17s-8d, (£75.88p).
His younger half-brother, John Herbertson Bernstone Hyman Moffatt, also served on the final voyage of the
Lusitania in the Stewards Department, as a First Class Waiter, and was also killed when she was sunk. Like Nicholas Orwin, his remains were not recovered or identified and as a result he is similarly commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, The Yorkshire Post, The Lancashire Evening Post, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, David Irving, Robert O'Brien, Probate Records, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.