Albert Ernest Fryer was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 10 June 1882. He was the son of Charles Hickman (b. 1853) and Mary Ann Watts (b. 1851). His father, a marine fireman, was a native of Gosport, Hampshire and his mother from Tunbridge Wells, Kent and they had married on 15 December 1877.
Albert was born as Albert Ernest Hickman. His father, Charles Hickman, was born in 1853 in Gosport, the son of Charles Hickman and Dinah Elizabeth Fisher. Following the loss of his father is 1862 his mother was remarried to George Fryer, a mariner. Charles' 1877 marriage to Mary Ann Watts would see his first use of the name Fryer and he even listed the name of his deceased father as Charles Fryer. On the 1881 census Charles, his wife and first child are listed as Hickmans whilst living at 24 Paget Street, St Mary, Southampton but would adopt the name Fryer for future census returns.
Albert Fryer had two known siblings: James Sydney Charles (b. 1879) and Alfred Thomas (b. 1885).
There is no trace of the family on the 1891 census. By the time of the 1901 census an 18-year-old Albert is already at sea as a fireman and still living with his family, now at 24 Bond Street, Southampton. His mother died around 1905. His father never remarried and by the time of the 1911 census he was still working as a fireman and boarding at 2 Nelson Place, Cross Street, Southampton. What became of him thereafter is uncertain.
Albert was married in Southampton in 1906 to Louisa Jessie Pearce (b. 1886 in Southampton). The couple would produce thirteen children: Albert Ernest (1906-1977), Jessie Louisa (1907-1960), Charles Sidney (1910-1987), Lily Beatrice (1912-1957), Rosina (1914-1992), George (1916-1916), Ethel Louisa (1917-2004), James Sidney (1919-1993), Elsie Louise (1921-1976), Doris Violet (1923-1990), Henry (1925-2010) and Ernest Albert (1928-1999) and Maud (b. 1930).
Albert, his wife and first three children appear on the 1911 census living at 1 China Place, Charlotte Street, Southampton and at the time he was described as a trimmer.
When he signed on to the Titanic in Southampton on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 1 Charlotte Place (Southampton) and his age as 26. He had transferred from the Olympic. As a trimmer he received monthly wages of £5, 10s.
Fryer survived the sinking in lifeboat 13. He was photographed with other crewmen upon his arrival home aboard the SS Lapland.
He returned to England and signed-on to the Oceanic on 10 July 1912 but failed to join the ship when it sailed. How long he continued to work at sea is uncertain.
Family report that Albert was deeply haunted by his experiences on the Titanic and that any mention of the subject would cause him to get very angry. He died in the Royal South Hampshire Hospital on 15 November 1944 and is buried at Holy Trinity, Weston. His wife later passed away on 2 September 1955.
References and Sources
Crew Particulars of Engagement, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, Agreements and Crew Lists Oceanic January August 1912
Gavin Bell, UK
Russ Fryer, UK
Inger Sheil, UK
Kerri Sundberg, USA
Bill Wormstedt, USA