Robert Lucas Stark was born in Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland on the 16th October 1855, one of three children of William and Ann Stark. His brother, James Stark was a well known solicitor in Dumfries and his sister was married to a Mr. John Cradock and lived at ‘Glencoe’ Ardwell Road, Dumfries.
Robert married Mary Robertson in Liverpool in 1886, and in 1915, they lived at 38, Cecil Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, Lancashire. They had no children.
By 1915, he had worked for The Cunard Steam Ship Company for many years and before he joined the
Lusitania, his previous vessel had been her sister ship, the Mauretania.
He engaged as a second cabin bedroom steward in the Stewards' Department on board the
Lusitania at Liverpool on the morning of 17th April 1915, just before she left Liverpool for the final time. The
Particulars of Engagement Register for the voyage, which is in the Public Record Office, shows that his monthly wage was a mere £0-1s-0d., (£0.5p.), which must have been a token amount because he joined the ship’s crew so late and his actual pay had not been regularised at that point.
Having completed the liner’s voyage to New York, he was killed on the afternoon of 7th May 1915, six days out on her return leg to Liverpool, when the vessel was sunk off the coast of southern Ireland, by the German submarine
U-20. At that stage of her voyage, she was only about fourteen hours steaming time from the safety of her home port.=
As his body was never recovered and identified, he has no known grave and as a consequence, his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 59 years, although he gave his age when signing on for the voyage as being 54 years!
His widow was eventually paid the balance of wages owing to him in August 1915, in respect of his sea service form 17th April until 8th May 1915, 24 hours after the ship had gone down. It is not recorded what the exact amount was! In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her an annual pension of £27-6s-8d. (£27.33½p.), payable at the rate of £2-5s-7d. (£2.28p.) per month.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1861 Census of Scotland, 1871 Census of Scotland, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Dumfries and Galloway Standard, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.