Edward Brown was born in Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales on 20 March 1878. He was the son of Hugh Jones Brown (1833-1887) and Margaret Williams (1845-1898), both Holyhead-natives who had married in Bangor in 1869. Edward had at least three siblings: Thomas (b. 1871), Ann (b. 1874) and Hugh (b. 1882).
Edward first appears on the 1881 census living at 26 Cross Street, Holyhead with his mother and siblings. His seaman father is not present. They are still at this address for the 1891 and 1901 census returns but by the latter both Edward's parents were deceased. He was described as a barman in the 1901 census.
He initially signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on for the second time, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 43 Suffolk Avenue, Southampton, the home address of fellow crewmembers, brothers Arthur and Benjamin McMicken. Brown had served as a steward on board several White Star ships before the Titanic, among them the Cedric, Teutonic, Oceanic, Adriatic, and, most recently, the Olympic. As a first class steward he received £3 15s per month.
On the evening of 14 April, Brown was awakened by the collision with the iceberg, and after 20-25 minutes, was ordered up to the boat deck. He went to his assigned station, which was Lifeboat 5. Following the order of 'women and children first,' Brown helped load Lifeboats 5, 3, 1, and Collapsible C.
After helping see these boats off, Brown aided in the attempt to launch Collapsible A. He recalled seeing Captain Smith shouting orders through a megaphone, and then entering the wheelhouse at this time. After the boat was hooked up to the davits, the bridge submerged, and the water began to swirl around his feet. Brown leapt into the collapsible, and cut the aft falls. A wave hit the boat as he was standing in it, washing everyone overboard. Brown was wearing a lifebelt, and was eventually rescued in Collapsible A.
Edward returned to England and continued to work at sea. He was married in 1919 to Bertha Holden (b. 1891 in Liverpool) and the couple had a daughter the following year, Elizabeth Margaret. Family believe that the disaster had an adverse affect on Edward's health and this contributed to his early death in Liverpool on 3 June 1926.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Gavin Bell, UK
Tad Fitch, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Articles and Stories
The Courier News (1912)
Titanic Research (2008)