William John House was born in Freemantle, Hampshire, England in early 1874 and he was baptised on 1 March that same year. He was the son of William House (1840-1901), a general labourer, and Sarah Ann Flux (1849-1899), Hampshire natives who had married in 1871.
William had six known siblings: Sarah Jane (b. 1871), Isaac Harry (b. 1876), Ellen Louisa (b. 1879), Frederick W. (b. 1881), Isaac (b. 1886) and Sylvan (b. 1889).
For reasons unknown William is not listed with his family or anywhere else on the 1881 census. At the time his family were resident at 13 Vincent Street, South Stoneham. By the time of the 1891 census William is again absent. His family are now living at 14 Vincent Street and his father is described as a whiting maker.
William was married in Southampton in late 1893 to Bessie Martha Rabbetts (b. 1873 in Sherborne, Dorset). The couple settled in Southampton and would welcome seven children, with six living past infancy. Their surviving children were: Bessie Martha (1895-1963), Reginald William (1897-1969), Leonard Victor (1902-1930), Hilda May (b. 1905), Stella Mabel (1907-1982) and Leslie Sydney (1911-1980).
William is absent from the 1901 census but his wife and first two children are resident at Millbrook Road, Freemantle, Southampton. The family are resident at 44 Derby Road, St Mary, Southampton according to the 1911 census but William is once again absent although it is indicated that he is a ship's steward.
He initially signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 44 Derby Road, (Southampton). As a first class steward William received monthly wages of £3 15s. His last ship had been the Olympic.
William House died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Bessie never remarried and remained at 44 Derby Road, Southampton for the rest of her life. She died on 12 October 1950 aged 77.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Gavin Bell, UK