Thomas Kelland was born in 1894 1 in Chalton, Wiltshire, England. He was the son of William Kelland (b. 1848) and Isett 2 Berryman, née Spiller (b. 1850). His parents, both natives of Somerset, were from Wiveliscombe and Taunton respectively.
His mother Isett was first married in Wellington, Somerset in 1876 to Robert Berryman (b. 1851 in Milverton, Somerset and a painter by trade) and had at least three children from that marriage as per the 1881 census: Agnes (b. 1876), Elizabeth (b. 1879) and Edwin (b. 1881). Another child, Fanny, would be born in 1883 and it is possible there were further children. She was widowed in 1885.
His father was first married in 1874 in Bridgwater, Somerset to Sarah Dibble (b. 1852 in Cannington, Somerset) and they had seven children: Henry (b. 1876), John (b. 1878), Albert Thomas (b. 1879), Eliza (b. 1881), Ernest (b. 1887), Sarah Ann (b. 1888) and William George (b. 1890). He was widowed in 1891.
William Kelland and Isett Spiller Berryman were married in Tisbury, Wiltshire in 1892 and would go on to have two sons: Thomas and Edgar (b. 1895 in Southampton).
Thomas, for reasons unknown, does not appear on the 1901 census with his family who are listed as living at Commercial Street, Commerical Road, Bitterne, Southampton. His father was described as a blacksmith. Thomas' father died around 1902.
On the 1911 census Thomas is listed with his widowed mother, brother Edgar and a married step-sibling, still at the Commercial Street address. Thomas' age was given as 17 and his profession as "steward on board Adriatic". His younger brother Edgar was listed as a blacksmith's apprentice in the shipbuilding trade.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as Commercial Street, Bitterne, (Hampshire). His last ship had been the Olympic. As library steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Second class passenger Lawrence Beesley later recalled the events of Sunday April 14 and the activities of the second class library steward:
"Looking over this room, with his back to the library shelves, is the library steward, thin, stooping, sad-faced, and generally with nothing to do but serve out books; but this afternoon he was busier than I have ever seen him, serving out baggage declaration-forms for passengers to fill in."
Following the collision and in the lead-up to the evacuation order being given, Lawrence Beesley again observed the library steward:
".... and on the way back to my cabin passed some stewards standing unconcernedly against the walls of the saloon: one of them, the library steward again, was leaning over a table, writing. It is no exaggeration to say that they had neither any knowledge of the accident nor any feeling of alarm that we had stopped and had not yet gone on again full speed: their whole attitude expressed perfect confidence in the ship and officers."
Thomas Kelland died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His mother Isett and brother Edgar would benefit from the Titanic Relief Fund as Class C dependents. They later relocated to Paddington, London where his mother died in 1939 aged 88. His brother Edgar was married in 1920 to Rosina Sellick née Maskell and they had two children, a daughter named Coralina (b. 1922) and a son named after his lost uncle, Thomas (b. 1923). Edgar Kelland died in 1969 in Horsham, Sussex.
- He gave his age as 21 in crew agreements. The 1894 birth date is derived from the 1911 census as his birth appears not to have been registered. His parents were not married until 1892 and he does not appear on the 1891 census.
- Name spelled differently on various records: Isat, Isett, Isolt, etc
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Gavin Bell, UK