Alfred White


Re: Alfred White
September 27th 2006
Please note that I now have all of the relevant data on Alfred White
His birth name is Alfred Albert White
As follows:
Alfred Albert White was born on March 25th 1880 at 17 Northam Street Southampton, he was the eldest of 7 children. His parents were Alfred Samuel White who was a french polisher and his mother was Charlotte Harriet Light. My Grandmother who was his sister was born on 11th May 1892 her name Kate Ellen White. I have him listed in all of the census records from 1881, 1891 and 1901. In 1891 he was living at 33 Orchard Lane, Southampton with his parents (my father William Harry Kirby who was his nephew was born at the same address on September 5th 1911). In the 1901 census Alfred's family were living still at 33 Orchard Lane, however Alfred was not there; I found the only Alfred matching his identity living as a boarder in Birmingham, Warwickshire aged 20 years and having been born in Southampton. I do know that on September 29th 1902 he married a Florence Ada Watson a widow aged 26 years, he is listed as being 24 years old (in actual fact he was 22 years old). His residence at the time of his marriage was 33 Orchard Lane, Southampton, so I know this to be correct.
On April 6th 1912 he is listed on the Oceanic as being 36 years old (he must have been 32 yrs) he then appears on the Titanic survivor list as being 36 yrs but was 32 years old. Alfred Albert White died on January 7th 1922 he was buried at Southampton Common ,Old Cemetery in grave# 141 246 on January 12th 1922. His widow Florence Ada Watson lived to be 90 years of age and was buried with him on 15th April 1965. The Obituary in the Hampshire Advertiser dated January 14th 1922 says he died on January 6th at Grove Inn Grove Street, Southampton, but his death certificate (which I have) supports what my father always told me, he died on January 7th 1922 at the City and Midland Bank, High Street Southampton. His home at the time was the Grove Inn. My Dad always said that his Uncle Alf died in a bank while making a transaction across the counter. His death certificate says this "he had angine pectoris: in other words he died of a heart attack. He was only 41 years old at the time of his death and I believe that is why so much of his Titanic experience died with him, apart form what is recorded in A night to Remember and Mowbrays Book of Eye witness accounts. Titanic Voices which related storied of people from my home town of Southampton does not even mention him!!! I think his experience and heroic survival deserves being corrected. I do not know where Shaldon, Devon ever came from as far as I know our famliy has no connections there at all and the White family are Sotonian's through and through as I have traced them way back. And yes I do have a photograph of him that I have just recently obtained. I will be happy to forward a recent article I have just written for The British Isles family History Society here in Los Angeles about Alfred White who did indeed survive the Titanic....our family has always known this we just didn't talk much about it until the film came out. I would appreciate comments and additional information.
 
I read somewhere online that he survived by going down with the ship on the fourth funnel and blacked out, or something like that. On the web site it says it got this info from some of his old letters! Hope this helps and I'll retry to find this site.
 
K

karen smith

Guest
Alfred White is my partners great grandfather and it is true that he went up through a dummy tunnel and was rescued, I know little else but this is a true fact. He came originally from Shaldon.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Hi all,
Do people place much credence in the story as related in "Ghosts of the Titanic" relating to Alfred White (his miraculous escape etc.)?

I am still undecided as to what boat he was in - No 4 is an option, certainly.

Flicking through Charles Pellegrino's Ghosts of the Titanic last night, I came across a passage about the survival of Alfred White. I read that he escaped by climbing up the inside of the fourth funnel just before the Titanic broke in two and that he rolled into the sea with the funnel as it broke away.

Are these stories true or is Pellegrino spinning another good yarn?

I personally found Alfred White's "climbing up the 4th funnel" story to be a huge yarn. If, as Pellegrino describes, it happened just before the Titanic broke apart, then the stern would have been at an angle of 11 to 12 degrees to the sea surface. By that you can imagine the angle the funnel itself was at and the near-impossibility of climbing the ladder within it. Even if White somehow accomplished it, the actual break-up and the ripping away of the funnel from its moorings would have been so catastrophic that it would have thrown him around like a rag doll and broke just about every bone in his body and caused multiple lacerations. He would have died several times over right then.

It is more likely that he might have slid down some loose falls into the water around 02:00 am and was pulled on board a lifeboat, as per his own statement on 20th April 1912 to the New York Call. As to the boat in which he was rescued, while Lifeboat #4 is a candidate, one of White's own statements goes against it. In that same statement of 20th April, he is supposed to have said that his lifeboat was "near what the boys called the 'Millionaires Boat'". That description could only apply to Lifeboat #4 and White's statement suggests that he was in another boat alongside #4.
 
I personally found Alfred White's "climbing up the 4th funnel" story to be a huge yarn. If, as Pellegrino describes, it happened just before the Titanic broke apart, then the stern would have been at an angle of 11 to 12 degrees to the sea surface. By that you can imagine the angle the funnel itself was at and the near-impossibility of climbing the ladder within it. Even if White somehow accomplished it, the actual break-up and the ripping away of the funnel from its moorings would have been so catastrophic that it would have thrown him around like a rag doll and broke just about every bone in his body and caused multiple lacerations. He would have died several times over right then.

It is more likely that he might have slid down some loose falls into the water around 02:00 am and was pulled on board a lifeboat, as per his own statement on 20th April 1912 to the New York Call. As to the boat in which he was rescued, while Lifeboat #4 is a candidate, one of White's own statements goes against it. In that same statement of 20th April, he is supposed to have said that his lifeboat was "near what the boys called the 'Millionaires Boat'". That description could only apply to Lifeboat #4 and White's statement suggests that he was in another boat alongside #4.
It’s more likely he was in collapsible a and that while they were beating away people with oars, he was hit over the head with one. I think George rheims said they had to keep the boat away from others and that I will “spare you the details, they were horrible” or something like that
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
It’s more likely he was in Collapsible A

IMO that is unlikely. Collapsible A was waterlogged and those who managed to survive on it like Abelseth, Wennestrom, Rhoda Abbot etc had quite severe effects of exposure and near frostbite to their feet and lower legs; three or four died in the boat. I don't think Alfred White described any such issues with himself. Also, none of those who survived on Collapsible A seem to recall him.

As for George Rheims, I would take his statements with a chunk of salt. He was given to a touch of melodrama (his mention of the officer shooting incident in his letter to his wife, for example)

He could have been rescued on #4 or even #2. I confess I don't know if survivors on Lifeboat #2 claimed to have rescued anyone from the ocean.
 
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