Mr Albert Edward James Horswill

Albert Horswill

Mr Albert Edward James Horswell [1] was born in West Ham, Essex, England [2] on 26 March 1879 [3], the son Roger Horswill (Police Constable) and Mary Jane Rouse. Roger and Mary were natives of Devon and it was there that their first two children were born. Around 1871 they moved to Essex. In 1881 Albert, aged two, was living at 328 Romford Road, West Ham, Essex together with his parents and elder siblings: Henry (20), Fanny (15), Clara (13), Susan (10), William (8), Mary (6), Alfred (4) and younger sister Alice (1 m). Albert later spoke of living in Edinburgh, Scotland so it is possible that the family moved yet again.

In a 1934 radio broadcast Albert told how, at age 11, he had run away from home to sail on a windjammer out of Liverpool. In 1896 he joined the Royal Navy and was aboard the Royal Sovereign when it blew up off Malta killing 24 men. He then worked aboard the Cornwall but was finally invalided out of the Navy in 1902 when his work with heavy guns damaged his hearing. That year he joined the White Star line.

Between 1904 and 1912 he worked on the Oceanic variously employed as an able seaman, quartermaster and lookout. It was from this ship that he transferred to the Titanic. When he signed onto the Titanic on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 44 Derby Rd, (Southampton). As an able bodied seaman he received monthly wages of £5.

Horswell told how he had been in his bunk when the Titanic struck the iceberg. After rounding up passengers to fill the boats he was finally rescued in Emergency Lifeboat 1 [4]. He subsequently testified at the British Inquiry into the disaster.

He continued with the White Star line until 1913 and moved to Gary, Indiana where he worked in a powder factory, later as a painter and finally as a carpenter. He retired in 1946. It was only in October 1940 that he applied for naturalized status in the United States.

Albert Horswill was married to Augusta (born 29 July 1892) and they had four children Agnes, Walter [5], Albert, Jr., and LeRoy.

In later years the family moved to Humble, Texas where Albert died on 7 April 1962 at the Keightley Nursing Home, Harris County, aged 83. He was buried at Rosewood Memorial Park on 10 April 1962, the 50th anniversary of Titanic's departure. His wife died on 18 February 1967. He has children currently living in Nashville, Tennessee and in Louisiana. Grandchildren still live in the Houston, Texas area

Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Bob Nix, USA (Descendant of Albert Horswell)
John Kelly, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK

1. Some sources give the surname as "Horswill".
2. He alternately listed his place of birth as Forest Gate, Essex, England and Upton, Essex, England. The 1881 census gives his birthplace as West Ham, Essex.
3. When he signed on he gave his age as 30.
4. In a radio interview he gave the boat number as 16 and states that there were 43 people in it, in fact ity was boat 1 and there were only 12 aboard.
5.Walter was born in Gary, Indiana on 27 January 1920 and died in Houston, Texas in July of 1985. His son Albert E. Horswill, Jr. now resides in suburban Nashville, Tennessee.
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
Exeter Flying Post
Newton Abbot Western Guardian
Western Morning News

Articles and Stories

Radio Interview with Albert Horswill




New York Times  (1914) 


Ugborough Man's Graphic Story of the Great Ocean Tragedy

Totnes Times & Devon News  (1912) 


Ugborough Man's Story

Western Morning News  (1912) 


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