Henry "Harry" Vear was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in the summer of 1879. He was the son of William Vear (1841-1916), a labourer, and Hannah Maria Handcock (1844-1918). Both his parents were born in Mitchalmas, Romsey and had married in 1875 in Southampton.
Henry was one of seven children born to his parents, one of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: Naomi Jane (b. 1877), William (b. 1878), John (b. 1881), Rose (b. 1883) and Isabella (b. 1889).
Henry first appears on the 1881 census when he and his family were living at 62 Craven Street, St Mary, Southampton. They would appear at 2 Hanover Place, All Saints when the 1891 census was conducted. He was listed as a visitor at 3 New Buildings, All Saints, the home of his married sister Naomi, at the time of the 1901 census and he was described as an unmarried general labourer.
Henry was married in early 1904 to Rose Mary Alderman (b. 1883 in Kings Somborne, Hampshire). The couple would have two children, George (b. 1906) and Rose (b. 1908). Sadly, little Rose died after only a short time. Further loss would come when Henry's wife Rose died in 1908 only a few weeks after her daughter; she was aged 24.
When the 1911 census was conducted the widowed Henry and his son were listed as living at 2 Spa Gardens, Spa Road, All Saints, Southampton, the home address of his aged parents. Henry was described as a dock labourer and his 70-year-old father as a messenger at a relief office.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 2 Spa Gardens, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Braemar Castle. As a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6. Also serving aboard the Titanic as a fireman was his brother William Vear.
Both Henry and his brother were lost in the sinking. Henry's body, if recovered, was never identified.
His son George died before the end of 1912 aged just six years. Henry's father died in 1916 and his mother in 1918.
Gavin Bell, UK