Walter George Ridout was the son of Frederick and Martha. His birth was registered at Blandford in Dorset in the 2nd quarter of 1882 but he was born in the nearby village of Tarrant Gunville. He was one of at least six children. His father was a coachman (groom) also from Tarrant Gunville. The family were in Christchurch, Hampshire in the 1891 census (ref: RG12-906-57-15) and in the 1911 census, Walter was ashore and recorded as a boarder at the address shown in the ship's records: 6 Queen Anne's Buildings, Canal Walk, Soton (see: RG14-5985-158). The entry shows that Walter was single and gave his occupation as 'steward (sea)'.