George Frederick Crowe was born in Stepney, London, England on 1 March 1882, the son of John (b. 1836) and Alice Crowe (b. 1846).
At the time of the 1891 census the family are living at 14 Canal Road, Mile End, London. Here George has three brothers: Ernest (b. 1866), Charles (b. 1884) and John (b. 1888). His father is described as a joiner and his elder brother as sorter in the savings bank at the GPO. Still at the same address by the time of the 1901 census, a 19-year-old George is described as a compositor's apprentice.
George was married in mid-1904 to Lydia Topp, a Southampton-native born 17 March 1882.
By the time of the 1911 census George is absent and his wife is living at 89 Milton Road, Southampton. This is the same address he used when signing on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 as a first class saloon steward.
The Titanic was on his first trip with the White Star line although he had been with I.M.M. on the American Lines, serving as steward, storekeeper and barkeeper. He had been at sea 11 years in all. His previous ship had been the New York.
At the time of the collision, he was off duty, in his bunk on E deck, when he felt a "kind of shaking" and thought they had dropped a propeller. Was then told by a saloon steward to "...come up on deck with as much warm clothes as I could get." He went to lifeboat 14, his assigned station, and assisted in putting women and children in the boat. A senior officer (he wasn't sure if it was Chief or First) asked him if he could man an oar, to which he replied 'yes'. Fifth Officer Lowe was put in charge of the boat.
He claimed to have seen the Titanic break in half before she sank.
Crowe stated to the American Inquiry that there were 57 passengers in the boat with 6 or 7 crewmen. He further stated that Lowe fired his pistol to keep the boat from being rushed. "He fired perfectly clear, upward or downward,not injuring anybody." There was no disorder after that. He also stated after the boat was lowered, water began coming in. Two men and a woman bailed it out with pails put in the lifeboats for that purpose.
Lowe wanted to go back for survivors but the ladies in the boat protested. When they did go back, Crowe testified they picked up a large man (William Hoyt) and a Japanese man (one of the Chinese sailors) on top of some wreckage. (See the Charlotte Collyer article in "The Semi-Monthly Magazine")
Lastly, Crowe stated there had been no boat drill on Sunday, 14th.
George and his wife later relocated to Ilford, Essex. It is here that George died on 4 August 1961. He left an estate of £268 6s. His widow Lydia died in London in 1973.
References and Sources
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
General Register Office, Index of Births, Marrriages and Deaths.
Gavin, Bell, UK
Pat Cook, USA