Mr Richard May (later known as Mr John Adams), 26, was born in the village of Pancrasweek, West Devon in 1886. He was the son of John May (agricultural labourer) and Mary Elizabeth May. He was the brother of John Henry and Ethel Mary Elizabeth.
Richard worked as a farm hand and at some time moved from Devon to live in Yeovil, Somerset. By 1912 he had moved to live at Heath Cottage, Alum Chine Road, Bournemouth, Dorset.
He boarded Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 341826, £8 1s) under the new name of John Adams. The apparent reason for this was that he was escaping a failed relationship. His destination was given as Indiana.
Richard May (aka John Adams) died in the sinking. His body was recovered by the cable ship MacKay Bennett (#103) on 23 April 1912 and buried at sea the following day.
NO. 103. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 28. - HAIR AND MOUSTACHE, LIGHT.
CLOTHING - Grey suit; soft striped shirt; brown boots.
EFFECTS - One silver watch; one nickel watch; two coin chains; pouch; two knives; purse $15.00 in gold; $3.00 in bills and coins.
THIRD CLASS TICKET NO. 341826.
NAME - JOHN ADAMS.
The Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund paid £20 to his mother Mrs Adams, "Heath Cottage", Alum Chine Road, Bournemouth, Hampshire.
Richard has a memorial on his parents gravestone which is located in the churchyard of the Methodist Chapel in the small hamlet of Lana near Pancrasweek, Devon. The inscription reads:
© Steve Coombes, UK
Beloved husband of
of Week Park, Black Torrington
died January 8th 1918
aged 56 years. - Also of Richard, beloved
son of the above
who lost his life on the Titanic
April 15th 1912
aged 28 years. - Thy Will Be Done.
Record of Bodies and Effects (#103)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia)
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books (p.25)
Stephen Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Craig Stringer, UK
Brian Ticehurst, UK
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