Mr Sidney Edward Daniels was born on November 19, 1893 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. He was the son of Walter James Daniels (1852-1920) and Louisa Mary Hunter (1857-1911), both natives of Hampshire who had married in Portsea in 1877. They would go on to have nine children: Walter James (b. 1878), Alice Louisa (b. 1879), George Alfred (b. 1881), Mabel Grace (b. 1883), Albert Frank (b. 1885), Ernest Frederick (b. 1889), Dorothy May (b. 1898) and Sid.
Sidney first appears on the 1901 census living at 29 Bessant Road, Portsmouth. His father was described as a beer retailer. Sid's mother died in early 1911 and by the time of the 1911 census Sid is living with his widowed father, two sisters and a brother-in-law at 119 Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth. Sid was described as single and at that time unemployed. He would later work on the Olympic and was on board that ship during her collision with the Hawke.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 119 Albert Road, Portsmouth. His last ship was the Olympic. As a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. He was acquainted with fellow third class steward Francis Edbrooke, son of a Portsmouth publican, perhaps through their respective fathers.
On the night of the sinking Daniels reported that he was in his bunk when a night watchmen came in and told them to get dressed and up on deck. He recalled assisting women and children to the boats until all but the last two collapsible boats remained. He assisted working at collapsible B until he described being up to his knees in water; following a quick glance around the deck he jumped up onto the rail beside a davit and struck out for the water where he swam around for a couple of minutes before climbing aboard collapsible B. Sid reported men saying the Lord's prayer in unison. He also said that he informed a man near to him that he was exhausted and needed to sleep; the man berated him and told him to stay awake otherwise he might not wake up again. The occupants of the upturned boat were later rescued and taken aboard Carpathia. Sid later returned home aboard the Lapland.
"I just stopped at home. After a couple of days I went down with quinsy, a reaction had set in apparently. I was on the dole for about six months and I went back on the Olympic and stopped right there. I did roughly two hundred voyages on the Olympic, backwards and forwards to New York each time."
During the 1914-1918 War, Sidney Daniels joined the Royal Army Service Corps, although he saw no direct combat, much to his chagrin, and he returned home in 1915. He was married in early 1916 to Gertrude Jessie Edbrooke (b. 1894 in Gosport, Hampshire), sister of his Titanic colleague Francis Edbrooke. They would have no children and Gertrude died in 1918.
Sid was remarried in 1920 to Alfreda Kathleen Clements (born August 15, 1895 on the Isle of Wight). They would have seven children: Kathleen (1922-1966), Sidney (b. 1925), Albert (b. 1928), Robert John (1930-1981), Marion (b. 1932), Richard (b. 1935) and Jean (b. 1938).
Sid continued to work at sea and would again serve during World War II for the merchant navy.
Sid Daniels was the last surviving member of Titanic's crew. He died in Portsmouth on 25 May 1983 aged 89. His wife Alfreda later moved to Surrey and died there in 1989.
1. He is sometimes listed as "Sidney Albert Daniels".
References and Sources
Crew Particulars of Engagement
General Register Office Certified Copy of an Entry of Death
Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (1997) Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage, Sutton Publishing, Southampton City Council. ISBN 0 7509 1436 X
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Gavin Bell, UK
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Articles and Stories
Daily Sketch (1915)