Mr Richard Fry was born in Islington, London, England around 1873. He was the son of George Fry (b. 1849), a photographer and artist, and Eliza Emma, née Willshire (b. 1850), both Marylebone, London natives who had married on 29 May 1866 in Westminster.
His known siblings were: George (b. 1868), Anne (b. 1870), Keziah (b. 1875), Adelaide (b. 1878), Charles (b. 1880), Archibald (b. 1882) and Rosalind Gladys (b. 1890).
The entire family shifted from London to the northeast of England around 1880 and settled in Coatham, a village near Redcar in north Yorkshire. The family appeared there on the 1881 census living at Station Road. They would move before the turn of the century to Sheffield in southern Yorkshire and appeared there on the 1891 census living at 39 Spring Hill, Hallam in that city. Richard was not listed with his family and is recorded elsewhere as a footman in the home of a wealthy manufacturing family in Meltham near Huddersfield in western Yorkshire. His mother is believed to have died shortly after the 1891 census was conducted and his father was still living by the time of the 1901 census, then a visitor with his youngest daughter Rosalind, at the home of his eldest daughter Keziah (then Mrs Sidney Harris) and her family in Hallam, Sheffield. What became of him is not certain.
By the time of the 1901 census Richard is a butler to the wealthy Pilkington family of Rainford Hall in Rainford near Prescot in Lancashire.
He was married on 24 August 1904 in St Anne's Church, Aigburth, Liverpool to Mary Ann Burton 1 (b. 1875), a native of Cardiff, Wales. He described himself then as a butler and his wife as a domestic servant. The couple had two children: Winifred (b. 1906) and Ronald (b. 1907).
The family appeared on the 1911 census living at 24 Rose Lane, Mossley Hill, Allerton, Liverpool and he was described as a manservant.
Richard was the personal valet to Joseph Bruce Ismay and had reportedly been in his employ for close to a decade. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton (ticket number 112058) with Mr Ismay and Ismay's secretary William Henry Harrison. During the voyage he occupied cabin B-102.
Richard Fry died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Following the disaster, what became of his wife and children is not currently known.
- Records vary in spelling between Barton and Burton
References and Sources
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Gavin Bell, UK