John Roach was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, on the 10th November 1881, the son of Gerald and Catherine Roach. The family home was at 129. Great Mersey Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool, and later at 65. Delamore Street, Kirkdale.
In 1915, he lived at 11, Red Cross Drive, in Liverpool.
He engaged as a first class waiter in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool on 12th April 1915, although he actually served as a first class bedroom steward. His monthly pay in either rank was £4-5s-0d., (£4.25p.). He reported for duty on the early morning of 17th April, for what became the liner’s last voyage out of the River Mersey, on her way to New York.
It was not the first time that he had served on the liner and his previous voyage had also been on the
Lusitania. His duty on board gave him responsibility for fifteen saloon rooms on ’B’ deck, which were the even numbers from B46 to B74.
When the liner was torpedoed and sunk, three weeks later, on her return journey to Liverpool, John Roach was lucky enough to survive and having been rescued from the sea and landed at Queenstown, he eventually made it back to Liverpool where he was paid the balance of wages due to him for his time spent on the ship. This amounted to £4-9s-6d., (£4.47½p.). and was reckoned from 17th April, when the vessel left the River Mersey, until 8th May, 24 hours after she had been sunk.
John Roach was aged 34 years at the time of the sinking.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Cunard Records, PRO 22/71, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 350.