Frank Herbert Morris was born in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England on 30 November 1883 and his birth was registered in the first quarter of 1884 in Hackney. He was the son of William Barton Morris (1833-1918), a native of Pembrokeshire, Wales, and the former Esther Mary Lawson (1850-1916), a native of Poplar, Middlesex who had married in St Botolph's Church, Bishopsgate, London on 31 May 1873. At the time of marriage Frank's father was a coffee house proprietor.
Frank was, as per the 1911 census, one of five children born to his parents, four of whom lived past infancy. His only identifiable sibling was Alice Maud Mary (b. 1881).
There is no sign of the family on the 1891 census. On the 1901 census Frank, his mother and sister are living at 46 Delorme Street, Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, South West London and he was described as a commercial clerk. By the time of the 1911 census Frank is absent from home but his elderly parents are still resident at 46 Delorme Street. Frank was listed elsewhere at 5 Shirley Road, Southampton and was described as a sea steward. Also listed at this address were his fellow Titanic crewmen Wilfred Seward and Ernest Hamilton.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4th April, 1912 Frank gave his local address as 5 Shirley Road, (Southampton) but his home address was 46 Delorme Street, Fulham, London. His last ship had been the Olympic. As a bath steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
At 11:40 on Sunday night Morris slept through the shock of the collision, only to be awakened by one of the saloon stewards shortly afterwards. He was told to dress and go on deck. After sitting on his bunk for about ten minutes second steward George Charles Dodd popped in and told the men to get up to the Boat Deck. He sent Morris aft to the baker's pantry to get some bread for the lifeboats. As Morris made his way he met Herbert Henry Thompson, the second storekeeper, and several other stewards engaged in the same activity. Finding there was no bread left, he made his way up to his boat station at No. 16 (he had seen his boat assignment on a list placed in the first-class pantry the previous Thursday). He worked helping load women and children into the boat then went to No. 12, helping there, and finally No. 14.
He recalled having trouble getting the women to enter the lifeboats, as well as some trouble with some third-class passengers who were "foreigners" trying to get into No. 14. Fifth officer Harold Lowe took command of lifeboat 14 and called on Morris to help man her. The boat was lowered with orders to pull away from the ship, but to remain close by. Morris recalled some bit of trouble with the falls as boat 14 was being lowered down the ships side, the tackle possibly getting twisted. He recalled the ship listing slightly to port at the time. After rowing away from the ship some quarter of a mile they came upon a knot of four lifeboats, which Lowe took charge of. Then women and children of boat 14 were transferred into these other boats, and, following the sinking, after waiting some time for those in the water to thin out, boat 14 went back and sought to rescue those it could. They managed to pick up four. During the course of the morning as the boat made their way towards the Carpathia they came upon the swamped Collapsible A. After transferring the living from the collapsible boat they set sail towards the rescue ship, coming across another lifeboat, which was taken in tow.
Morris was called to appear as a witness during the British Enquiry on Friday, 10 May 1912.
Frank apparently returned to sea. He was married in Southampton in 1920 to Isabel Margaret Maddick (b. 2 August 1888 in Portsea, Hampshire) and they relocated to Poole, Dorset and had four children: Marion (b. 1922), Freda Dorothy (1923-1989), William (b. 1928) and Ernest Frank (1929-2005).
Frank died in Poole in 1954. His wife passed away in Somerset in 1975.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
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
Rob Ottmers, USA
Linda Ridd, UK
Articles and Stories
Fulham Chronicle (1912)