Mr Alfred White

Mr Alfred Albert White was born in Southampton, Hampshire on 25 January 1880 1. He was the first child of Alfred Samuel White (1852-1902) and Charlotte Harriet Light (1856-1938). He was Christened on 16 May 1880 in St Mary's Parish Church in Southampton.

On the 1881 census the family are listed as living at 13 York Square, Southampton. His father is described as a master French polisher. At the time of the 1891 census the family have moved to 33 Orchard Lane, Southampton and Alfred has gained four siblings: Annie, Emily, Edwin and Henry.

Alfred was married on 29 September 1902 to Florence Ada Watson (b. 1879 in Hampshire). He appears on the 1911 census as living with his wife at 3 Southampton Place, Southampton. Also present are his two daughters: Charlotte (b. 1904) and Florence (b. 1908) though it is indicated another child had died in infancy. He is described as a ship's fireman. Another child, Doris, would be born later in 1911.

When signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912. He gave his address as 3 Southampton Place, Southampton. He had transferred from the Oceanic. As a greaser he received monthly wages of £6 10s.

White was rescued in lifeboat 4 after being pulled from the water.

Shortly after the sinking the Newton Abbot Western Guardian reported:

White, Alfred, one of the Titanic's crew who is reported to be among the survivors, resided at Shaldon before going to Southampton and at the last General Election made himself prominent at the Liberal meeting by asking questions with regard to the Merchant Shipping Act.'

Following the Titanic disaster Alfred returned to sea and continued to work as such until his death. Another child was born to he and his wife in 1913, a son named Alfred.

Alfred White died whilst queuing in the City and Midland Bank, Southampton on 7 January 1922 2. He was buried in the Old Common Cemetery, Southampton on 12 January.

Mr. Alfred Albert White, aged 44. a beer retailer, of 16. Grove Street, Chapel, entered the premises, asked for £2 worth of coppers, and became suddenly ill.

Other customers in the bank rushed to his assistance, but in a minute or two death ensued.

 

WHITE-January 6th (sic), at Grove Inn, Grove Street, Alf, the dearly loved husband of Florence White, aged 41. Funeral at 1.30 Thursday, to Southampton Cemetery.

Notes

  1. Family give his birthdate as March 25, 1880
  2. Disparity over actual death date: according to family his death took place 7 January 1922 (apparently corroborated by his death certificate). His death notice gives the date as the 6th.
 

Pictures

Titanic Survivor Alfred White
TITANIC SURVIVOR ALFRED WHITE
 

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2017) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1922) 
Teignmouth Post (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Paul Lee said:

    Hi all, Do people place much credence in the story as related in "Ghosts of the Titanic" relating to Alfred White (his miraculous escape etc.)? Best wishes Paul --

  2. Peter Engberg-Klarström said:

    Paul, I have seen a few different interviews with Alfred White, and I don't really know exactly how he escaped. In one interview he hints at being one of those picked up by boat 4, in others it is difficult to tell what he means. He said he was in a lifeboat which was quite full and there were five firemen in this boat. My, admittedly far-fetched, theory is that he might have been one of the many firemen/trimmers in boat 15. On the other hand, he may well have been the eighth, hitherto unknown, person picked up by boat 4. Best regards, Peter

  3. Bob Godfrey said:

    Peter, it does seem most likely that White was in boat 4 but his manner of arrival is questionable. Craig Stringer's bio of White has him climbing down the falls. Hemming spoke to the unidentified man taken from the water, and had no doubt that he was a 3rd Class passenger who spoke perfect English but with an accent that Hemming didn't recognise. That would rule out White, who was born and raised in Southampton and would have spoken with an accent very familiar to Hemming.

  4. Peter Engberg-Klarström said:

    Bob, that's the point. I don't think Alfred White climbed down the falls - at least he didn't do it at the same time as fellow greasers Scott and Ranger. I am still undecided as to what boat he was in - No 4 is an option, certainly. On the other hand, so many men wanted to 'justify' their survival afterwards and being picked up from the sea was perhaps a more heroic thing to say than to state that they just entered a lifeboat without further ado. I believe 2/3 of the surviving male crewmembers entered a starboard boat. Best regards, Peter

  5. Iain Stuart Yardley said:

    Flicking through Charles Pellegrino's Ghosts of the Titanic last night, I came across a passage about the survival of Alfred White. I read that he escaped by climbing up the inside of the fourth funnel just before the Titanic broke in two and that he rolled into the sea with the funnel as it broke away. He was alleged to have suffered permanent memory loss from an impact injury at this point as he had no recollection of how he managed to get into a lifeboat, although it has been determined he was pulled from the sea into the same boat as Rhoda Abbott. Also, he mentions that several... Read full post

  6. Peter Engberg-Klarström said:

    Hello, Iain. Alfred White gave several interviews but it has to my knowledge never been established how he in fact escaped the ship. He says he was in a lifeboat with 70 people in it, including five firemen, in one interview which perhaps is a bit less dramatic than other ones he gave. I do not believe he was in boat A.

  7. JILL K. KIRBY said:

    Alfred White is my grandmother's brother....I never knew him ...he died before I was born, I do however have his family history as I am a genealogist.....I'll be in Southampton soon and will update the info for anyone who may be interested...hoping to see his grandchildren while there. Jill Kirby....Duarte California

  8. Iain Stuart Yardley said:

    Thanks for that, Peter. Cheers, Boz

  9. Iain Stuart Yardley said:

    I'd be interested to hear how he got off the Titanic. It has been suggested he climbed up the inside of the fourth funnel and rolled off the ship into the water when the funnel broke away. Cheers, Boz

  10. Wesley Burton said:

    Wow I didnt know anyone had survived by doing that. It is amazing.

  11. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    >>It is amazing.

  12. Guest (R17) said:

    I wonder what would have been in the 4th funnel? Obviously it was a dummy and had nothing, but I mean in the way of climbing ? Why just have a ladder when it would have been A) so large and B) such a climb from the bottom of the ship c) surly safer not to... Must have been more than a ladder - no ? I would not fancy climbing up if that is all there was. Do we know what the way from the bottom of the ship up threw the dummy funnel was like or is this down to logical guess work ?

  13. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    >>Why just have a ladder when it would have been A) so large and B) such a climb from the bottom of the ship c) surly safer not to... Must have been more than a ladder - no ?

  14. Wesley Burton said:

    When you are on a sinking ship and your only escape route is a ladder going up almost 200 feet, it looks better than drowning. Even if it would be an exhausting and difficult climb.

  15. Bob Godfrey said:

    There was nothing very unusual about using stairs and ladders beneath the dummy funnel as a route from the engine room to the upper decks. On the way up there were exits at various levels. That was the means used by another greaser, Thomas Ranger, to get to the boat deck after he had finished his work of switching off all the electric fans. The last of these were actually inside the dummy funnel (or in the casing beneath it), but I can't think of any reason why anybody would have needed to continue up into the funnel itself as a means of escape. .

  16. JILL K. KIRBY said:

    Re: September 27th 2006 Please note that I now have all of the relevant data on Alfred White His birth name is Alfred Albert White As follows: Alfred Albert White was born on March 25th 1880 at 17 Northam Street Southampton, he was the eldest of 7 children. His parents were Alfred Samuel White who was a french polisher and his mother was Charlotte Harriet Light. My Grandmother who was his sister was born on 11th May 1892 her name Kate Ellen White. I have him listed in all of the census records from 1881, 1891 and 1901. In 1891 he was living at... Read full post

  17. Andrew J. Kahl said:

    I read somewhere online that he survived by going down with the ship on the fourth funnel and blacked out, or something like that. On the web site it says it got this info from some of his old letters! Hope this helps and I'll retry to find this site.

  18. karen smith said:

    Alfred White is my partners great grandfather and it is true that he went up through a dummy tunnel and was rescued, I know little else but this is a true fact. He came originally from Shaldon.

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

Crew Particulars of Engagement
Newton Abbot Western Guardian
Daily Echo, 10 January 1922 (Death notice)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Alfred White (ref: #1698, last updated: 15th February 2013, accessed 27th September 2020 17:36:37 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/alfred-white.html