Master Sibley George Richards was born in Newlyn, Cornwall, England on 17 June 1911.
He was the second son of James Sibley Richards (1887-1939), a general labourer, and Emily Hocking (1887-1972). His parents were both Cornish and had married in 1908. By 1912 he had one sibling, his elder brother William Rowe (b. 1909).
Just prior to his birth, his family were shown on the 1911 census living at 6 St Mary's Place, Penzance, a boarding house ran by his grandmother Eliza Hocking. His parents later moved to 'The Meadow' in Newlyn, Cornwall where he was reportedly born.
His father and uncle George Hocking subsequently emigrated to Akron, Ohio and Sibley, his mother and brother boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers under ticket number 29106 costing £18, 15s, having been transferred from the Oceanic. Travelling with them was his grandmother Eliza Hocking, aunt Ellen Hocking, uncle Richard George Hocking, who had returned from Akron to accompany them, and his great-aunt Ellen Wilkes.
On the night of the sinking Sibley and his brother were asleep in their cabin with their mother when their grandmother came to alert them of the danger. The family escaped in lifeboat 4 but his uncle was among the lost. Arriving in New York, he was met by his father who had travelled from Akron.
He and his family settled in Akron, Ohio but the death of his grandmother in April 1914 perhaps compelled the family to return to England and they did so before the end of the year. Back in England, his mother had another child, a daughter named Emily Needs (b. 1914). He and his brother William Rowe, with whom he had been saved from Titanic, reportedly became estranged from each other in later years.
Sibley later worked as a fish worker in Newlyn and in 1938 was married to Lizzie James (b. 2 August 1907) and they had one son, Anthony George. During WWII he served in the Royal Navy aboard the battleship HMS Duke of York and was present during that ship's battle with the German Battle-Cruiser Scharnhorst. Later he was present at the surrender of the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1981 he was a special guest at the London premier of Raise the Titanic.
Sibley George Richards died in Penzance on 4 December 1987 aged 76 and was buried in St Paul Cemetery, Cornwall. His widow Lizzie passed away on 7 April 1995.
References and Sources
Cornish Life Magazine, 1981, Article
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
Gavin Bell, UK
Stephen Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Jeannette Francis, UK
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK
Homer Thiel, USA
Articles and Stories
Primitive Methodist Leader (1912)
Western Morning News (1912)
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (1912)