Charles Cope was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 14 March 1882. He was the son of James Martin Cope, a lamp lighter, and Abigail Lowndes and had at least seven siblings.
First working as a mill labourer, Cope went to sea in the following years and worked aboard Saxonia, Carmania, Cedric and Empress of Britain prior to joining the crew of the Carpathia. By April 1912 Coleman was serving as a waiter aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
In 1915 he married Elizabeth Cummins (b. 1880), an unmarried woman with several children. He survived WWI whilst working in the merchant fleet, serving at sea for a number of years later. Widowed in 1941, Charles Cope later died in Liverpool in 1949 and was buried in Anfield Cemetery (section 20, grave 1339) on 7 June.