Mr William Nutbean

William Nutbean

Mr William Nutbean 1 was born in Sherborne, Dorset, England 2 on 16 September 1881.

He was the eldest child of William Lionel Nutbean (1864-1933) and Georgina James (1858-1933), both natives of Southampton who, at the time of his birth were unmarried. They were later married in early 1884 and went on to have a further four children. William's siblings were: Esmeralda (b. 1884), Lionel (b. 1886), Arthur (b. 1894) and Amy Ethel (b. 1897). At the time of William's birth his father was a gunner and dock labourer in the militia, later working as a general labourer and porter.

William first appears on the 1891 census living at 6 Castle Square, All Saints, Southampton. The family later moved to the Horseman's Buildings near High Street in Southampton, appearing there on the 1901 census. William was absent at this point, perhaps already at sea. When he appeared on the 1911 census he was again listed with his family at Horseman's Buildings and described as a married dock labourer. His wife, who was not listed at the address, was the former Emily Heard (b. 1883). They were married in 1908 3 and had no children.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, William gave his address as the Sportsman's Arms, High Street, (Southampton). He transferred to the Titanic from the Parana and received monthly wages of £6.

On 10 April 1912 he had been drinking with his watch-mate John Podesta as well as the Slade brothers Alfred, Bertram and Thomas Slade and trimmer Penney. Nutbean and Podesta just made it to the Titanic as she prepared to sail but the Slades and Penney were left behind when a passing train blocked their path.

On 14 April Podesta and William Nutbean went off duty at 8 pm and later had supper in the mess. As they left the mess they heard the ship's lookouts cry "Ice ahead, sir!" Podesta and Nutbean went out on deck to look around, but saw nothing and returned back inside 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.

After 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. Their 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.

Nutbean continued to work at sea after the Titanic. Ships he served on included the E J Reddy, Almanzora, Briton, Bayeskimo, Majestic, Brandenberg, Orca, Nictheroy, Metagma, Alcantara, Arlanza, Empress of Canada, Saxon, Andes, Berengaria and Braemar Castle.

He continued to live in Southampton for the rest of his life and was widowed in 1940. William himself died on 7 May 1947 aged 65.


  1. Birth registered as William James in third quarter of 1881 in Sherborne. Surname sometimes spelled as Nutbeam.
  2. He would later claim his birthplace as Southampton.
  3. Their marriage was registered at the same time as that of another Titanic crewman, William Robert Pusey.

References and Sources

Crew Particulars of Engagement
National Archives (CR1, CR2, CR10 Indentity Cards BT348, BT349, BT350 : Discharge No. 680419)

Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Andrew Williams, UK


Titanic survivor William Nutbean


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    (2015) William Nutbean Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1602, accessed 29th November 2015 11:05:34 PM)

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