Mr Charles Joseph Shorney
Mr Charles Joseph Shorney was born in Cannington, Somerset in 1889, the only child of Austin and Margaret (née Nelson) Shorney. Austin Shorney was, by trade, a cabinetmaker and following his marriage bought Clare House and the adjacent builder's and undertaker's business. The family prospered modestly and even employed a maid. By the turn of the century the Shorney family had moved to Sussex where they lived at Oak Cottage, Heron's Ghyll.
In 1905, when Charles was fifteen, his mother died suddenly in Uckfield Hospital from blood poisoning caused by pricking her finger with a rusty needle whilst sewing. This left Charles and his father alone at Oak Cottage, except for several servants. One day they had a visit from Rudyard Kipling whose motor car had broken down nearby. Kipling gladly accepted their invitation to lunch and a most enjoyable afternoon was spent at the cottage. Charles attended Uckfield Grammar School and won a scholarship to Christ's Hospital but was debarred from entering the institution, which was founded by Catholics, because he was a Catholic!
On 16th June 1906, at St John's
Church, Heron's Ghyll, Austin Shorney remarried. His bride was Mary Anne
Naughton, who was thirty years younger than him. By this time young Charles
was travelling the world working as a gentleman's valet. He spoke fluent
French and much of his time was spent in Paris, Cannes and Biarritz. During
his travels, Charles visited New York where he realized that he could
have a promising future
By this time, he had a step-sister,
Margaret Mary (Greta) born in 1907, and after spending some time with
his family, he travelled to Brighton. He visited the offices of Thomas
Cook there where the clerk was singing the praises of the new Titanic
and he was persuaded to purchase a ticket for the maiden voyage (ticket
no. 374910, £8 1s). Carrying with him his share of the family silver,
in order to finance the taxi business, he perhaps travelled to Southampton
with the Ford family from nearby Uckfield. Charles's last postcard, postmarked
Queenstown, 12th April 1912, and addressed to his father
Shorney died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was not identified.
Philip Hind (Editor)
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr Charles Joseph Shorney
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