Fred John Benham was born in Wokingham, Berkshire, England in 1882 and his birth was registered in the third quarter of that year. He was the son of John Benham (1857-1935) and Jane Hazell (1851-1940), both natives of Berkshire who had married in the latter half of 1881 in Wokingham.
Fred was one of five children, his siblings being: Gertrude Alice (b. 1884), Annie (b. 1886), Frank (b. 1888) and Amy (b. 1892).
Fred first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at 61 Peach Street in Wokingham and his father was described as a jobmaster (?). The family are still in Peach Street on the 1901 census but Fred is absent, being listed elsewhere as a servant (domestic footman) at Pakyns Manor, Hurstpierpont, Sussex, the home of a Mr and Mrs William Borrer. By the time of the 1911 census Fred's parents and younger brother Frank are still living at 61 Peach Street, Wokingham. Fred is again listed elsewhere at 56 Bridge Road, St Mary, Southampton and is described as an unmarried ship's steward. Also listed at this address was his colleague Edgar Maurice Rowe, another future Titanic crewman.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4th April, 1912 William gave his local address as 56 Bridge Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the St Paul. As a steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Benham, who was unmarried, was lost in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Gavin Bell, UK