Mr Albert Ernest Witcher was born in Everton, Hampshire, England over the Spring months of 1873.
He was the son of John Witcher (1830-1893), a farm labourer and shepherd, and Mary Ann Lancaster (1830-1898), Hampshire natives who were married in 1853. One of a dozen known children born to his parents, John's siblings were: John (b. 1850), Mary Ann (b. 1854), William (b. 1856), Fanny (b. 1857), Emma (b. 1859), Eliza Ellen (b. 1860), George (b. 1863), Susan Alice (b. 1865), Caroline (b. 1866), Harry (b. 1867) and Amelia Dorcas (b. 1869).
He first appears on the 1881 census living in Milford, Hampshire and on the 1891 census in Pennington, Hampshire and then described as a gardener.
Albert was married to Nellie Louise Gilbert at St. Thomas's Church, Lymington on 8 September 1893 at which time he was employed as a ship's steward. Nellie hailed form Lymington and was born in 1873 to James Gilbert, a sailor, and his wife Sarah. Together Albert and Nellie would have two daughters: Marie Louisa A (b. 1895) and Norah May (b. 1897).
Albert was not recorded on their the 1901 or 1911 censuses but his wife and daughters are listed on the earlier record as residents of 9 Nelson Place, Lymington, the home of a widowed aunt named Mary Jane Rumsey.
Witcher signed onto the Titanic on 6 April 1912; he had transferred from the Olympic and as a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
Albert Witcher died in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His wife and daughters and aunt Mary Jane Rumsey received financial aid from the Titanic relief fund as dependants.
Nellie Witcher never remarried and remained in Hampshire for the rest of her life. She died in 1950. What became of her two daughters is not clear.
Note: The agreement states only '9 Nelson Place'. Witcher's address has been wrongly transcribed in the following publications: The Lloyds Weekly News and Southampton Times 2 state he was resident at 9 Nelson Place, Southampton. Roster of Valour gives his address as 9 Wilson Place, Southampton.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259): 'A. Witcher'
British Census 1881: Ref: 1191 30 14. 'Albert E. Witcher'
Hampshire Independant, 4 May 1912, p.1. Death Notice. 'Aged 39.'
Lymington Marriage Register, 1893
Lloyds of London Reprint The Deathless Story of the Titanic
Southampton Times and Hampshire Express, 20 April 1912, p.9, co. 1. 3.
Watson, A. & B. (1984) Roster of Valour 7Cs Press, U.S.A.
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett" Including Bodies Buried at Sea and Bodies Delivered at Morgue in Halifax
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books: Case No. 269.
Gavin Bell, UK
Clare Church, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Bill Wormstedt, USA