Mr James Alexander Beattie was born in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, Ireland on 15 August 1883. Little else is known about his family or early life.
Initially working as a messenger boy, Beattie enlisted with the Royal Navy in January 1899, rising to become an able seaman within the next two years and serving aboard a host of different ships until he went ashore in November 1906, joining the merchant fleet thereafter.
In April 1912 Beattie was an able seaman aboard the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic disaster.
Following the outbreak of WWI Beattie re-enlisted with the Royal Navy in January 1915, albeit as a stoker, and served throughout the conflict. He was then described as standing at 5’ 5½” and with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion, sporting a number of tattoos including a harp and a shamrock on one arm and a maple leaf and a woman’s bust on the other. He was invalided from service in August 1918 on account of “insanity.”
James Beattie continued work in the merchant fleet, again as an able seaman, and by 1939 was a resident of Liverpool Sailors’ Home, at which point he was serving aboard SS Auditor. Having never married, Beattie spent his final days in the Mersey Mission for Seamen hostel and he died there in October 1946 and was buried in Allerton Cemetery.