Mr William Spence Hepburn

William Spence Hepburn was born in Raphoe, Co Donegal, Ireland on 15 June 1883.1 Hailing from a Church of Ireland family, he was the son of Samuel Hepburn, a labourer, and Mary Jane Spence.

The eldest of ten children, in the 1890s the family moved to Old Kilpatrick in Dunbartonshire, Scotland where they appear on the 1891 census as residents of 7 Swindon Place. By the time of the 1901 census they were living at 15 Livingstone Street in Old Kilpatrick and William was described as a factory labourer.

In October 1900, at age 17, William enlisted in Clydebank with the 91st Foot Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. In following years he was recruited into the Royal Naval Reserve as an ordinary seaman.

Hepburn’s ship prior to Titanic had been the Egret. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.

What became of William Hepburn remains unclear but there is a possibility he and his family remained in Scotland. 


  1. His date of birth was given as 21/25 June 1882/1884 in his RNR records

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Gavin Bell, UK
Alison Pollock, UK

References and Sources

Crew Signing-On Particulars of Engagement, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (2A/45/381, A-H)
1891, 1901, 1911 Census
Search archive Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) William Spence Hepburn (ref: #2396, last updated: 24th September 2020, accessed 13th April 2021 04:36:44 AM)

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