Photo: Alex Glendinning
Mr John Thomas "Jack" Poingdestre (aka Poindexter) was born at 27 Old St John Road, St Helier, Jersey on 6 November (? April) 1886, the son of Philippe George Poingdestre (carpenter) and his wife Eliza Jane Warr. He was one of twelve children and left Jersey at an early age in order to go to sea.
He was settled at 4 Elm Road, Shirley, Southampton with his wife Florence Maud Gallagher and five children of his own by the time he signed up for the Titanic's maiden voyage.
Jack's life has not been without drama - only a month before the sailing he had been serving aboard the Oceana when it sank off Newhaven on 16 March 1912. This experience may have helped to steady his hand when he was put in charge of lifeboat 12. Beforehand he had gone below to collect his rubber boots and was forced to wade back through waist high water as a bulkhead fractured.
After the sinking, as the boat was nowhere near to capacity, he collected other survivors and had almost 70 people aboard when picked up by the Carpathia.
Jack returned to his family in Southampton after 2½ weeks but went back to sea on the outbreak of WWI - where a third ship sank under him after being torpedoed!
He always refused to talk about the disaster and was not close to his children, who at one stage were placed in a home as their mother could not manage them. Consequently his date and place of death have not yet been ascertained.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
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
Articles and Stories
Guernsey Evening Press (1912)