Mr Richard Paul Jozef Pfropper 1 was 19 March 1882 Breslau, Germany 2 the son of August Pfropper 3. He came to England as a young man.
In 1901 he was living as a boarder at 292 Victoria Dock Rd which runs alongside the giant docks in London's East End. His occupation was Ship's Steward.
He signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April as a second class saloon steward. His previous engagement was on the New York. He came aboard the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912. His monthly wages were £3 15s. He gave as address: 8 Washington Terrace, Southampton.
On the night of 14 April 1912 after the Titanic collided with an iceberg, Richard Pfropper headed for the boat deck, probably in the company of fellow saloon steward William Ryerson. At lifeboat 9, an officer asked Ryerson, “Can you handle an oar? Then in you go!”
Ryerson and Pfropper took seats in the lifeboat and were later rescued by the Carpathia. He boarded the Lapland along with other surviving crew on 20 April 1912 and, upon arrival at Plymouth, made a statement to the British Authorities. He received 15s in outstanding wages.
Pfropper appears to have continued working at sea but to have made New York his base.4,5
In 1958, along with several other survivors, he attended the New York premiere of the film A Night to Remember.
He appears never to have married and died in New York on 25 February 1964
- His name is sometimes listed as Fropper, Prapper, Proffer, Pruffer etc. due to phonetic spelling , Anglicization and transcription errors.
- Now part of Poland.
- WW1 Draft registration papers filed 12 September 1918 indicate his next of kin as Anna Proffer, Breslau, Germany. This may have been his mother.
- In 1930 he was listed aboard the Southern Pacific Steamship Lines' Creole working as a porter and gave his address as 162 West 11th Avenue, New York City. Ten years later he was still resident in New York, his address was given as Dixie, which was a ship mooored in Mahattan. In 1947 he was listed as a seaman aboard the SS Cities Service Koolmotor travelling from Linden, New Jersey to Tampico, Mexico.
- He appears to have become a naturalized US citizen on 27 June 1945, his application filed under Rochard Proffer. His address at the time being 507 West Street, New York City.
References and Sources
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Discharge list, 1912 - PRO London BT 100/260
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People (CDROM)
1901 England Census, West Ham
1940 US Federal Census, New York City
1930 US Census of Merchant Seamen
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Philip Gowan, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany