Encyclopedia Titanica

Deaths of Shipyard Workers


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Eight Harland and Wolff workers were killed during the construction of the Titanic five of whom have been identified. In addition to the fatalities there were 28 serious accidents and 218 minor accidents recorded by the firm. Compensation paid out for these incidents amounted to £4849 3s 5d.

Date of Death
Cause of Death

Samuel Joseph "Sam" Scott

Templemore Street
Catch Boy
20 April 1910
Accidentally fell 23 feet from a ladder or staging while at work. Fracture of skull. Died instantly.


John Kelly
Convention Street
Catch Boy [1]
23 June 1910
Accidentally fell from ship 401 while at work at Queen's Island 23 June 1910. Shock following injuries.


William "Billy" Clarke
Coulter Street
7 November 1910
Died from Broncho pneumonia 2 days after a fall from staging.


James Dobbin
25 Fremel Street [2]
1 June 1911
Crushed by timber strut when Titanic being launched on 31 May 1911 [3]. See The Untimely Death of James Dobbin.


Robert James "Bob" Murphy
6 Hillman Street
Rivet Counter
13 June 1911
Shock following compound fracture of skull resulting from an accidental fall on 13 June 1911 [4].
Rivetter’s Terrible Fall.
Yesterday afternoon, just before the ending of work for the day at six o'clock the Queen's Island, a rivetter named Robert Murphy. Hillman Street, when employed on-the Titanic, missed his hold and fell from one the upper decks, a distance of fifty feet. Assistance was immediately forthcoming, and the injured man was conveyed in the ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital. In that institution it was discovered that he was suffering from a fracture to the base of the skull. Recovery from the first was quite hopeless, and he expired some time after admission. What makes the accident a peculiarly sad one is the fact that the son of the deceased man, Robert Murphy, was fatally injured some time ago when working on the Olympic.
Belfast News-Letter - Wednesday 14 June 1911

1. Identified in other records as a "heater-boy"
2. Cameron (1998) gives the address as Merret Street, Belfast.
3. The death certificate gives the date of the accident as 1 June 1911 and the date of death as 2 June 1911.
4. His son, Bob Jr. had been killed while working on the construction of the Olympic.

Stephen Cameron (1998) Titanic: Belfast's Own. Wolfhound Press, Dublin. ISBN 0 86327 685 7
Harland and Wolff Director's minute book, Public Record Office, Belfast (D2805/MIN/A/2)

Comment and discuss

  1. J. Lans

    J. Lans said:

    "I had this one marked and I thought the guy was behind me, so I said "Okay, give me a bolt." I didn't turn around because I was on my knees. When I finally turned I found he was not there. So, where is he? Lying on the ground. He just burst into nothing. I never heard him go." From Pappy. Working on little houses that cover the electrical on the short end of the crane.

  2. liam (3114)

    liam (3114) said:

    thomas adams 82 wilton street belfast. platers helper fell from staging in ship yard at queens island while trying to save himself from injury died royal victoria hospial 9th april 1906 i believe he worked on the titanic but unsure of this but assume it right time period for that

  3. Kerry Aldridge

    Kerry Aldridge said:

    My Gt Grandfather died as a result of the injuries sustained during the construction of the Titanic. John William Kirton was a boilerman and died in 1913 in Belfast Union Workhouse Infirmary (death certificate Cerebral haemorrhage and cardiac failure). His skull was fractured during an incident in the boiler room.

  4. Tracy (4308)

    Tracy (4308) said:

    My great uncle, John Kelly was one of the eight who died - he was 19 years old. I visited Belfast in 2017 from Australia where I live. His grave in City Cemetery on the Falls Rd is unmarked but close to Samuel's, I wonder if they knew each other? I have an 18 year old son and cannot imagine loosing him. May they all rest in peace.

  5. Clive Sweetingham

    Clive Sweetingham said:

    It is known that on June the 11th 1911, Rivet Counter Robert James Murphy, whilst working on the Coroner is reported as saying “A fact that made that inquest a singularly pathetic one was that... Read full post


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Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) Deaths of Shipyard Workers (Titanica!, ref: #1158, published 28 August 2003, generated 30th November 2021 12:19:39 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/deaths-of-shipyard-workers.html