Mr Charles Reginald Burgess was born in London on 26 August 18931, the son of Frank Burgess2. In 1912 he was unmarried.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 65 Bridge Road, Southampton.
His last ship was the Olympic. As extra third baker he received mothly wages of £4 10s.
Burgess was rescued in lifeboat 15.
Stringer (2003) notes:
Charles Burgess was in bed when the ship struck the iceberg, and slept through the collision. He was woken, along with the other men in his room, at just after midnight, when Second Steward George Dodd opened the door of his room, and called to the men, “Come on lads, the ship has struck an iceberg and is sinking. Get dressed and go up to your lifeboats.”
Burgess did as directed, but others in the room preferred to remain where they were. Charles made his way to his lifeboat station, number 15, and waited for further orders. As he looked out into the night he saw the lights of another ship, passing by not more than five miles distant. Burgess walked up and down to keep warm, and it was only through the intervention of a junior officer that he finally left the sinking ship. The officer tapped him on the shoulder, and asked him what boat he was assigned to. When Burgess replied number 15, the officer said, “What the hell are you doing here, get to it as they are just going to lower it down!”
Burgess made it to number 15, and the senior officer, Murdoch, ordered him to take a seat. There was quite a scramble as the boat was lowered, with people trying to get into the boat, so that many were left behind on deck. As the boat was lowered it nearly came down on top of lifeboat 13, which had been carried aft by the force of a discharge of water from the ship. Just in time someone in the boat found a knife, and both lifeboats made it to the sea safely.
From the boat, Burgess watched as the ship sank. It was dark and cold after, and Charles remembered watching the green lights burned by Officer Boxhall in lifeboat number 2, they were the only thing visible in the darkness.
At dawn, Burgess, and the others in lifeboat 15, spotted the Carpathia. They rowed to meet her, being picked up at around 7.30a.m. On board the rescue ship Burgess was led to saloon where he was given coffee to restore him after the cold of the boats.
Brought to New York on the Carpathia, Charles returned to England, with other surviving crew members, on Saturday April 20th, on board the steamer, the Lapland. On arrival in Plymouth, England, the crew were detained by the authorities while statements were taken. Charles was finally released on Tuesday April 30th, at around midday, when he signed off the ship’s articles. His pay had stopped when the Titanic sank, and he received just 18 shillings in wages.
He also described his experience in this article.
After recovering from his experience Burgess returned to the sea and served for 14 years abourd RMS Majestic. He retired in 1957
He settled in Townhill Park, Southampton, and celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in November 1968.
He died in Southampton on April 7th 1972.
1. When he signed onto the Titanic he gave his age as 20 years.
2. He had a sister Elsie.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People CDROM
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Articles and Stories
The Daily Banner (1912)
Bournemouth Echo (1912)
The Daily Banner (1912)