Mr Alfred John Alexander Podesta
Mr John Podesta (full name: Alfred John Alexander Podesta) was born in Southampton on 14th September 1887 the son of John Giovanni Podesta (1830-c.1890) and Mary Jane Light (1858-).
By 1891 Mary was widowed and she and Alexander were boarding at 14 St George's Place, Southampton.
In 1893 Mary remarried to William Thomas Smith (1852-1902) a labourer in a gas works. A half sister Mary had been born in 1890. She was named Mary Smith while Alexander (by the time of the 1901 census listed as John) had retained Podesta as his surname. It may be that Mary and William had been together for some years prior to marriage.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6th April 1912, he gave his address as 21 Chantry Rd., Southampton. He transferred from the Oceanic. He received monthly wages of £6.
On the moring of 10th April Podesta together with his watch-mate William Nutbean, fellow firemen Alfred, Bertram and Thomas Slade and trimmer Penney, who lodged with the Slade brothers were all still sitting in a Southampton pub...
The officer in charge of the gangway heard the men call out, but knew that there were extra men waiting on board for just this opportunity and so, even though he could have waited, he ordered the gangway lowered and signed on the extras.
Podesta saw the New York incident take place, and was also present on deck when John Coffee deserted the ship at Queenstown (in order to visit his mother.)
On April 14 Podesta and William Nutbean went off duty at 8 pm and later had supper in the messroom. As they left the messroom they hear the ship's lookouts cry "Ice ahead, sir!" Podesta and Nutbean went out on deck to look around, but saw nothing. They went back inside and down to their bunkroom, where they talked together for a little while before turning in. (Podesta later said that the lookouts repeated their ice warnings to the bridge several times, but to no avail.) A short time later the collision occurred. Podesta and Nutbean tried unsuccessfully to get other crewmen out of bed, but soon Boatswain Nicholls came in and ordered everyone to their boat stations. Podesta and Nutbean went on deck and helped to lower lifeboat 7. Later Murdoch told the two men to lower themselves down the falls into a lifeboat (? lifeboat 3, after which he ordered the boat to remain close by in case it had to return to the ship. The boat was 500 yards from the ship when she went down. The boat was later picked up by the Carpathia, and Podesta and Nutbean did their best to help revive some of their half-frozen mates. The surviving crewmen later returned to England on the Lapland.
Podesta resided in Southampton for the rest of his life. He married Daisy Florence Chives (1888-1964) in 1913. After her death in 1964 he remarried in 1966 to Helen Diaper, he was 79 years old.
John Podesta died on 13th May 1968.
References and Sources
Crew Particulars of Engagement
Philip Hind (Editor)
George Behe, USA
Related Articles and Documents
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr Alfred John Alexander Podesta
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