Mr Edwy Arthur West, 36, known as Arthur, was born in Perranzabuloe, a village located few miles inland of Perranporth on the North Cornwall coast in late 1875, the son of Edwy Alfred West (Customs Officer) and Elizabeth M West. Prior to his birth the family had previously lived in St Ives and before that in Essex. Arthur was the younger brother of Mary, William, Frank and Edgar. By the 1881 census date the family had moved southward from Perranzabuloe to a small hamlet called Point, not far from Feock. By 1889 they had moved to Newham an area of Truro where his father is shown as a timber measurer in the trade directories of the time.
Edwy West married Ada Mary Worth, also of Truro in 1905. From Cornwall they moved to Bristol where their first child, Constance was born in 1907 From here they moved to live in Bournemouth, Dorset where Edwy worked for the department store of J. J. Allen as a shopfloor walker. Their second child, Barbara was born in Bournemouth on 11th March, 1911. At this time they were living at 'Livadia', Paisley Road, Southbourne.
Looking forward to starting a new life in the fruit culture business the decision was made to emigrate to Florida. For their journey they travelled on 'Titanic' embarking at Southampton. Travelling 2nd class under ticket number 34651 had cost £27 15s. Edwy was lost in the sinking, aged 36. His wife Ada later gave the following account:
'We were all asleep when the collision took place, but were only jolted in our berths - my husband and children not even being awakened, and it was only the hurrying of passengers outside the cabin that caused alarm. The steward bade us all get up and dress thoroughly with plenty of warm things. Arthur placed lifebelts upon the children and then carried them to the boat deck. I followed carrying my handbag. After seeing us safely into the lifeboat Arthur returned to the cabin for a thermos of hot milk, and, finding the lifeboat let down he reached it by means of a rope, gave the flask to me, and, with a farewell, returned to the deck of the ship.'
The paper Mining World said of Arthur West:
'It is impossible to write without emotion of the conduct of this heroic Cornishman who unquestionably might have saved his life had he chosen to take the place that, we suppose, was subsequently occupied by one of the women saved. Of such heroes the world is not worthy. Arthur West may be one of the least known of the Titanic heroes, but none will deny him the distinction of being one of the noblest'.
Arthur had served as a chorister for many of his young years in Truro Cathedral and to mark his passing a memorial to him was placed within the Cathedral by his wife and daughters who, after the tragedy, returned to live in Cornwall. The inscription reads: In Loving Memory of Edwy West, formerly a chorister in this church, who in the wreck of the SS Titanic, passed through great waters. April 15th 1912 aged 36. He is not dead, but sleepeth. Also of his wife, Ada Mary, re-united with him, April 20th 1953, aged 74.
(Courtesy: Phil Ellery, UK)
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Articles and Stories
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (1912)