John Richard McMullin was born in 1876 in Lymington, Hampshire, England and his birth was registered in the June quarter of that year. He was the son of John McMullin (b. 1845) and Mary Ann Coughlan (b. 1845). His father was a native of Dublin and his mother from Southampton and the couple had married in 1873 in Lymington, going on to have four children: Katherine Bertha (b. 1875), William Albert (b. 1878), Ernest Fairfax Sutherland Victor (b. 1887) and John.
John first appears on the 1881 census living at the Coastguard Cottage in Binsted, Hampshire where his father was a Coastguard for the Royal Navy. By the time the 1891 census was taken John was visiting his uncle and his family at 545 Old Kent Road, Camberwell, London but is totally absent for the 1901 census, apparently already working at sea. On the 1911 census he is back with his family, this time at 120 St Mary's Road, Southampton, his father having retired. John is described as a ship's steward and as unmarried.
John initially signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 120 St. Mary's Road,. His last ship had been the Olympic. As a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
John Richard McMullin died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His father would die only weeks after him. His mother died in Southampton in 1917.