William Vear was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in the first half of 1878. He was the son of William Vear (1841-1916), a labourer, and Hannah Maria Handcock (1844-1918). Both his parents were born in Mitchalmas, Romsey and had married in 1875 in Southampton.
William was one of seven children born to his parents, one of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: Naomi Jane (b. 1877), Henry (b. 1879), John (b. 1881), Rose (b. 1883) and Isabella (b. 1889).
William first appears on the 1881 census when he and his family were living at 62 Craven Street, St Mary, Southampton. They would appear at 2 Hanover Place, All Saints when the 1891 census was conducted. Listed as a dock labourer on the 1901 census, he and his family were residing at 2 Spa Gardens, Spa Road, Southampton and he would live here for the rest of his life, remaining a bachelor. He would be absent from the 1911 census, but his parents, brother Henry and nephew George were still living at 2 Spa Gardens, his 70-year-old father described as a messenger at a relief office.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 2 Spa Gardens, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Braemar Castle. As a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6. Also serving aboard the Titanic as a fireman was his brother Henry Vear.
Both William and his brother were lost in the sinking. William's body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and buried at sea.
NO. 59 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 35 - HAIR DARK; MUSTACHE LIGHT
CLOTHING - Dark mixture suit; striped flannel shirt; black silk muffler; black shoes.
EFFECTS - Pocket book; knife; razor; shaving brush; 1s.; Union Book No. 1568, giving name:
NO MARKS ON CLOTHING; SCAR ON CHIN.
NAME - W. VEAR.
His father died in 1916 and his mother in 1918, both in Southampton.
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett" Including Bodies Buried at Sea and Bodies Delivered at Morgue in Halifax
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List