Mr Robert Henry Cannon1 was born in Onchan, Isle of Man on 21 June 1861 and baptised on 4 July that year. He was the son of native Manx-Islanders John Cannon, a farm labourer, and Jane Cowin. He had at least six siblings, including: Charlotte, Margaret, William, Elizabeth, James and Jane.
Initially working as a farm labourer in his native Isle of Man, sometime after 1881 Cannon relocated to Liverpool where he became a police constable. He was married in 1888 to Anne Whelan (b. 4 November 1864 in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Ireland) but they had no children of their own; census records show that Robert and Anne cared for a succession of nieces and nephews. By 1901 the couple lived at Jupiter Street in Everton and by 1911 at 51 Hannan Road, West Derby.
Exactly when Cannon first went to sea is not certain although he is known to have retired from the police in May 1910; he appears on crew manifests between 1911 and 1913 as “inspector” aboard both Carmania and Franconia. In April 1912 he was serving in the same capacity aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
Robert Cannon remained at sea and in May 1915 was serving as inspector aboard the last voyage of the Lusitania. After Lusitania was torpedoed on 7 May 1915, Cannon was among the lost. His body was later recovered and was returned to his family in Liverpool and was buried in Ford Cemetery (grave J290). His widow Anne died in New York on 8 December 1916.
CANNON, Insp. Robert Henry. S.S. "Lusitania" (Liverpool). Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 7th May 1915. Age 53. Son of the late John and Jane Cannon; husband of Annie Cannon (née Whelan), of 51, hannan Rd., Kensington, Liverpool. Born at Onchan, Isle of Man. – Commonwealth War Graves Memorial Register