Mr James McArthur was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1880. He was the son of Peter McArthur, a Glasgow-born joiner who had a Presbyterian background, and Teresa O’Shea, an Irish Catholic from Dublin.
The eldest of three children, James was brother to two sisters, Elizabeth and Christina.
The family are shown on the 1881 and 1891 census records as residents of the Govan area of Glasgow. By 1901 they were living at 31 Newcastle Street in east Belfast and James was then described as a labourer in an ironworks. His mother died in 1906 and by 1911 the remaining family were living at 66 Church Street, Belfast and James was described as an unmarried shipyard labourer.
McArthur’s ship prior to Titanic had been the Lackawanna. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
In September 1912 James McArthur was a signatory of the Ulster Covenant, a petition signed by nearly 500,000 citizens opposing Irish Home Rule.
How long James remained at sea is not certain. He never married and in later years lived with his father at 15 Harkness Parade in Belfast. He died there on 8 October 1942 and is buried with his father (who died in 1938) at Dundonald Cemetery (plot E1 278).