Encyclopedia Titanica

Archie Jewell

Archie Jewell
Archie Jewell

Mr Archibald "Archie" Jewell, was born on 4 December 1888 at 34 King Street, Bude, North Cornwall, the son of John Jewell (sailor) and Elizabeth Jewell (née Hooper). He was the youngest brother of Clara, John Henry, Ernest W., Albert Richard, Elizabeth and Orlando. His mother died in childbirth on 9 April 1891.

At about age 15 he went to sea, initially serving on sailing ships. By 1904 he had joined the White Star Line and was living in College Street, Southampton. He first served aboard Oceanic for about 7-8 years during which time he married Bessie Heard, also a native of Bude and lived with her at 50 Bond Road, Bitterne Park, Southampton, Hampshire.

From Oceanic he transferred to Titanic as one of the 6 lookout men. He signed-on the Titanic on 6 April 1912. He gave his local address as 32 College St. (Southampton). As a lookout his monthly wages were £5.

On the night of 14 April 1912 he had worked the 8pm to 10pm shift with George Symons of Weymouth, Dorset and was in his berth when the ship struck the iceberg at 11.40pm (had the ship not struck the iceberg his next watch period would have been 2am to 4am). He was one of the first to leave the ship in lifeboat 7 at 12.45pm. It left from the starboard side with 28 people on board, the capacity was 65.

The lifeboat reached the Carpathia at 5.10am. The ship subsequently arrived in New York at Pier 54 in the evening of Thursday 18 April. By 9.35pm the Carpathia was moored and the crew and passengers began to disembark.

Archie arrived back in England on 29 April 1912 on board the Lapland which docked at Plymouth. He along with other crew was detained there overnight by the Board of Trade, accommodation being provided in the dock's 3rd class waiting room. He was eventually released at 1.30pm the next day and travelled back to Southampton by train.

Archie was the first of the survivors to testify at the British Inquiry (3 May 1912) which was held at the Scottish Drill Hall, Buckingham Gate, London. Archie was examined by the Solicitor General and also earned a rare word of thanks from Lord Mersey for his answers to a lengthy series of questions (331 in all).

Members of Jewell's family believe he later served aboard, and survived the sinking of, the Britannic along with fellow Titanic veterans John Priest and Violet Jessop.

In a letter to one of his sisters he described his escape from Titanic's sister ship:

"... most of us jumped in the water but it was no good we was pulled right in under the blades...I shut my eyes and said good bye to this world, but I was struck with a big piece of the boat and got pushed right under the blades and I was goin around like a top...I came up under some of the wreckage ... everything was goin black to me when someone on top was struggling and pushed the wreckage away so I came up just in time I was nearly done for ... there was one poor fellow drowning and he caught hold of me but I had to shake him off so the poor fellow went under."

Archie then left White Star and served aboard SS Donegal as an able seaman. Donegal had been launched in 1904 and was originally a passenger steamship, built by J Caird & Co. It was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted for use as a hospital ship put to use ferrying wounded soldiers back to England from France. The ship had an encounter with a German submarine on 1 March 1917 but escaped damage as it was able to outdistance the enemy. However, on 17th April, 1917 the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine without warning 19 miles south of the Dean Light Vessel in the English Channel and was sunk. Archie lost his life aged 28 along with 10 other crew members and 29 of the wounded soldiers. One of the survivors was John Priest!

Archie Jewell is mentioned on the Tower Hill Memorial in the gardens of Trinity Square, London which commemorates those Merchant Navy men with no known grave. He is also mentioned on the war memorial at Shalder Hill in his home town of Bude, North Cornwall.

His son, Raymond Hope Jewell (born 1916, died 10 December 1930 in Exeter) was buried in the parish churchyard of Burlescombe, Devon, and the stone mentions Archie Jewell.

Archie Jewell Memorial
(Courtesy: Steve Coombes, UK)

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Archie Jewell
Age: 23 years 4 months and 11 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Bessie Heard
Last Residence: at 32 College Street Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Lookout
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Belfast
Rescued (boat 7)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Tuesday 17th April 1917 at Sea aged 28 years
Cause of Death:

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References and Sources

British Census 1891
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
The Descendents of Archie Jewell
Daily Sketch 4 May 1912

Research Articles

Captain Laurence V. Wade Titanica! (2003) Lookouts : The Human Perspective
The role of the lookouts on the Titanic from the eye of an experienced seaman.
Senan Molony Titanica! (2008) 12.45am - A Time to Go!
What time did the first lifeboat depart the Titanic?
Titanica! (2017) Shipwrecked again!
Titanic passengers and crew that experienced shipwrecks either before or after the Titanic disaster.
Titanica! (2017) Titanic Survivors' Untimely Deaths
The tragic stories of Titanic survivors who died prematurely...

Newspaper Articles

Cornwall & Devon Post (24 January 1936) AT SEA IN A BLIZZARD: Bude Seaman Found Wrapped In The Mainsail


Archie Jewell
Memorial Stone to Archie Jewell

Documents and Certificates

(1917) Archie Jewell (Death Certificate)


Bill Headdon (2008) Archie Jewell, Bude Boy
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Comment and discuss

  1. Christine Geyer

    Christine Geyer said:

    Hello everyone... Just a short note to remember lookout Archie Jewell, who died 84 years ago April 17, 1917. I can't really explain why but I've always liked Archie specially. And it makes me sad and ashamed that he died by the torpedos of a german submarine, only 28 years old. So there's not even a grave for him. Nevertheless he's not forgotten. Christine

  2. Sam Brannigan

    Sam Brannigan said:

    Christine Please let me concur with your message about Archie Jewell. I have seen the photo of him with his smiling face outside the Titanic enquiry in New York and he looked like quite a character! It is such a shame that Archie did not live to have grandchildren around him to reminisce in later life, but then what a hell of a life he packed into his 28 years. God rest his soul.

  3. Christine Geyer

    Christine Geyer said:

    Sam, thank you for your message

  4. Riki Jewell

    Riki Jewell said:

    Hi, I'm just wondering if anyone here knows much about Archie Jewell, relatives of him etc, I would like to know if somehow I am related, however it is hard to find this sort of information due to my grandfather who would be able to provide the info being deceased. Maybe if anyone could also point out any places I could look for this type of info? Regards, Riki J

  5. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    There's plenty of stuff on the public record. You could start by tracing your own ancestors. Go into the Mortlock Library in the Jervois Wing of the State Library of SA. That's the old wing next to the museum. They have stacks of stuff on microfiche, some of it from interstate and overseas. They also have The Advertiser going back well into the early days of SA, plus other papers. The Poms will have their 1901 census on the Internet, if they ever get it working. There are all sorts of things if you have time and patience. Carn the 36ers!

  6. David Haisman

    David Haisman said:

    To David Gittins, When on the internet it's advisable to refrain from derogatory and snide remarks about any nationals. Never forget that many of us have lived in your country too, and have heaps of retaliatory ammunition if needs be. So be a good chap and behave yourself !! David Haisman.


    BILL HEADDON said:

    I was born in same street as Archie Jewell, knew his family. A real sea-going family. Though much older than me, I remember them well. Am currently reading background to Archies' interesting career at sea. Bill Headdon

  8. Marshall Garvey

    Marshall Garvey said:

    Hey everyone, Absolutely LOVE Archie, and saw a thread saying there's a photo of him smiling outside the inquiry. If so, can anyone please provide it? I think it may be in my "Titanic Interactive Journey" graphic novel-esque CD-ROM, but I just want to make sure. If it's indeed the one I'm thinking of, it's a great photo! God bless Mr. Jewell and I will henceforth have a moment of silence for him every April 17th. Thanks, Marshall

  9. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    I can't see the photo online. It's on page 232 of Titanic Voices. Archie looks ready for a cold day.

  10. Marshall Garvey

    Marshall Garvey said:

    Thanks! I'll be sure to get that book.

  11. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    The book is well worth having. I think there is a new edition available.

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