Mr Albert Haines (Boatswain Mate) was born in Sandhurst, Kent, England on 5 May 1880, later being baptised on 11 July that same year.
He was the son of Emmanuel Haines (1853-1914), a labourer and former police constable, and Mary Ann Hallett (b. 1847), both Kent natives who had married in Tunbridge Wells in 1863.
He had ten known siblings: Anne Maria (b. 1864), Olive Hannah (b. 1865), Charles Henry (b. 1867), Kate Mary (b. 1870), Lilly (b. 1872), Lotty (b. 1876), Oliver George (b. 1874), Ernest Reuben (b. 1878), Rosie (b. 1883) and Edith (b. 1886).
Albert first appears on the 1881 census whilst a resident of 110 St John's Road, Tonbridge, Kent. At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at 74 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. When the family appeared on the 1901 census they were living at 76 Queens Road but Albert was not present.
Albert had joined the Royal Navy on 2 July 1896, his first ship being the Impregnable, soon rising to the rank of able seaman by 1899. Other ships he served aboard included Pembroke I, Cruiser, Cambridge and Vernon, among others. Serving until 27 October 1903 his last ship was Pembroke I following which he was invalided. Of very good conduct, he stood at 5' 4" and had brown hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion. He had a large scar over his left knee and sported various tattoos, including a heart on his left forearm and an anchor on his right.
By the 1911 census Albert is now a boarder in Southampton at 52 Grove Street. He is described as a steamship seaman and unmarried.
Haines had joined Titanic in Belfast for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again in Southampton for the maiden voyage, on 6 April 1912, he gave his local address 52 Grove Street. His last ship was the Olympic and as Boatswain's mate he received monthly wages of £5, 10s. Whilst aboard he had the starboard watch.
Haines recalled an uneventful crossing up until the night of the accident. At the time of the collision Haines was standing under the forecastle deck awaiting orders when he felt a "blow" and could hear air escaping from right forward right so he crossed to the exhaust from the forepeak tank which was filling with water, pushing the air out. Just as he arrived there chief officer Wilde and lamp trimmer Samuel Hemming also stopped to investigate. A storekeeper (presumably John Foley) went to the forepeak but found no water there but the forepeak tank was by now full and the chief officer left for the bridge to report. He reported seeing small chunks of ice in the forward well deck.
Haines then went to the number 1 hatch and noticed how the tarpaulin covering it was "bellying up, raising, showing that the water was coming in..." so he left and also made for the bridge and reported this to Wilde who instructed him to get the men up and get to work putting the boats out. After all the boats were swung out Haines went and stood by his own assigned boat, number 9 with his crew that consisted of James McGough and William Peters, and some stewards and firemen.
Whilst waiting by boat 9 first officer Murdoch arrived with a crowd of passengers and they filled the boat with ladies among the crowd, including a few male passengers. One lady refused to enter the boat and retreated into the crowd.
Once the boat had a compliment of an estimated 60 bodies it was lowered and Haines had been ordered to lay off and keep clear. Not realising the severity of the situation during the evacuation, Haines stated that he only realised the ship was in danger after he had reach the water and saw how much she had sank by the head. As a precaution, he decided to pull out further from the ship to around 100 yards.
After the ship went down and the cries could be heard of those left behind, Haines pondered whether to return.
"... I called the sailors aft, and I passed the remark to them: "There is people in the water." I said, "Do you think it advisable?" I said, "We can't do nothing with this crowd we have in the boat," because we had no room to row, let alone do anything else, sir; and it was no good of our going back. by the time we got back there, we could not have done anything. We could not move in the boat, let alone row. I thought it unsafe to go back there, sir, having so many in the boat."
Haines thought it useless to row anywhere and had the boat remain stationary until daylight. It was with the break of daylight that the lights of the Carpathia became visible and all around Haines reported numerous icebergs and growlers--between 30 and 50--and an ice field which stretched for several miles.
Haines was called to testify at the American Inquiry into the sinking before returning to England.
He continued to work at sea until at least the early 1920s and was married in Southampton in mid-1914 to Florence Elsie Southwell (b. 9 November 1890), a native of that city. Their only child, a son Ronald Jesse was born on 29 July 1917. The couple later moved to the Grosvenor Road area of Southampton.
On 6 June 1933 Albert Haines was crossing the road on The Avenue, Southampton that he was struck by a motor car; he sustained a fractured skull and died in a fire department ambulance en route to hospital. He was aged 53.
His widow Florence remarried the following year, becoming Mrs Alexander Holmes. She remained in Southampton where she died in 1975. His son Ronald was later married, in 1940, to Beryl Barter and he remained in Southampton where he died on 1 February 1995.
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Brian Ticehurst, UK
- On his 1920 Board of Trade identity card (CR10) he is shown as serving aboard the Mauretania.
References and SourcesBritish Census
United States Senate Hearings, 25 May 1912, Testimony
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
National Archives CR10 Identity Card, 1920