Mr Leonard Hodgkinson was born on 20 February 1866 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.
He was the son of John Hodgkinson (1833-1898), a potter's presser, and Caroline Steele (1834-1914), both Stoke natives who had married on 21 February 1853. He had six known siblings: Martha (b. 1854), Rose (b. 1855), John (b. 1859), Agnes (b. 1864), Lawrence (b. 1873) and Mary (b. 1876).
He first appears on the 1871 census living at 20 North Street and on the 1881 census at 5 Knowl Street, both in Stoke. By the time of the latter census he is described as an engine fitter's apprentice and aged 15. After schooling at St. Thomas's School, Stoke, Leonard become an apprentice engine fitter with the firm of Hartley, Armour and Fanning in Stoke.
Leonard first went to sea with the Beaver Line and then Rankin, Gilmour & Co. He achieved his First Class Engineer's Certificate and served as Chief on the Saint Jerome. By 1901, during a temporary break from seafaring, he was running his own business as a mechanical engineer and living at 40 Oakfield Road, Walton on the Hill, Liverpool. He was back at sea with the White Star Line in 1905 as Assistant Engineer in the Celtic. According to family lore Hodgkinson had aimed to serve on as many different liners of the White Star Line as possible before retirement, so was keen to transfer to Titanic prior to which he had served aboard the Olympic.
He had been married in Liverpool on 14 February 1891 to Sarah Clarke (b. 1867), a native of Birmingham, and for a while they may have lived with his sister and brother in law at 10 Helena Street, Walton on the Hill, Liverpool. The couple had three children, all born in Liverpool: Marion (1893-1979, later Mrs Arthur Pinnington), Caroline (1895-1924, later Mrs Albert Portch) and Leonard Stanley (1898-1947). The family show up on the 1901 census living at 40 Oakfield Road, Walton, Liverpool and on the 1911 census at 7 Thurnham Street, Anfield. Leonard is absent from the latter census and likely at sea.
On 2 April 1912 Hodgkinson signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again (6 April) as Senior 4th Engineer, for the maiden voyage he gave his local address as 67 Arthur Road, Shirley, Southampton although his permanent residence appears to have been Thurnham Street, Liverpool.
Hodgkinson was the most senior of five Fourth Engineers (one of whom was a specialist for the refrigeration equipment). The qualified engineers on Titanic ensured that routine adjustments and regular maintenance of the machinery were properly carried out, dealt with any unexpected problems that might arise, and responded to orders telegraphed from the bridge. They also supervised the firemen, trimmers and greasers who worked in the boiler and engine rooms.
Hodgkinson, along with all the engineers, died in the disaster and his body was never recovered.
His estate, valued at £116, 10s, 10d, was administered to his widow Sarah on 8 July 1912.
Leonard Hodgkinson is remembered on the Southampton Engineers Memorial, East Park; the Liverpool Titanic and Engineers memorial; the Glasgow Institute of Marine Engineers memorial; the Institute of Marine Engineers memorial, London and there is a brass memorial plaque in the church of St. Faithful, Crosby, Liverpool, to the memory of the Chief Engineer and his Engine Room staff.
His widow Sarah did not live long past her husband. She later moved to 34 Auburn Road, Liverpool and died on 25 February 1914. His last surviving child was his eldest daughter Marion who died in Cheshire in 1979.
- His mother lived for a time at Shelton Old Road, Stoke she is thought to have died in mid 1914.
- His daughter Marion moved to Manchester in 1916. She married William Arthur Pinnington on the 23rd December, 1920 in Urmston, Lancashire. They had 2 children Renee (born 1921, Chorlton) and William (Bill) A. (born 1924, Barton upon Irwell).
- His son Leonard Stanley also became a marine engineer with White Star and later Cunard. He served on the Transatlantic run most of his career mainly on RMS Majestic befoe the war and later on the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. He married Elsie H. Murray in Southampton in 1922. Their first son Leonard W. Hodgkinson (born 1923, Southampton) died his home town in 1926 at the age of just 3. A second son Allan S. Hodgkinson (born 1924, Southampton) would later join the Hampshire police.
- Younger daughter Caroline married Albert Portch 1919 in Bath she died in 1926. Their only son was Albert Leonard Stanley Portch (born 1920, Melksham) he served as Pilot Officer Royal Air Force during World War 2. He was killed in Action 4th April, 1943 whilst serving with 156 Pathfinder Squadron and was buried in Kiel War Cemetery.
- Leonard Hodgkinson's younger brother Lawrence lived in Seaford Street, Stoke and worked at Sherratts outfitters in Piccadilly, Hanley. In 1898 he married Elizabeth Heath and by 1901 they had a son Cecil.
- Hartley and Co works were later taken over by Messrs Kerr, Stuart & Co, locomotive engineers. In the 1920's they had another local young man as an apprentice named Reginald Mitchell, who later went on to design the Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane.
- According to contemporary reports Hodgkinsons's 14-year old niece had a premonition of the disaster.
References and Sources
Hogkinson Family Tree (subscription required)
Crew Particulars of Engagement
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
1871 Census ("Scholar")
1881 Census ("Engine Fitter's Apprentice")
1901 Census ("Mechanical Engineer")
Probate Administration: 8th July 1912
Stevenson, I. (1965). Seven More Paranormal Experiences Associated with the Sinking of the Titanic. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59, 211?225.
Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board Fourth Engineer Leonard Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Wilf Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Sherri Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Brian Ticehurst
Gavin Bell, UK
George Behe, USA
Gary Cooper, UK
Bob Godfrey, UK
Denis Griffiths, UK
Anne Hilary Reader, UK
Wilf Hodgkinson, UK
Sherri Hodgkinson, Canada
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Articles and Stories
Staffordshire Advertiser (1912)