Mr Charles Donald McKay

Mr Charles Donald McKay 1 was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 10 January 1882 2.

He was the son of John McKay (1857-1930) and Ellen Harriett Field (1857-1914), who had married in Southampton in mid-1880, his father being a native of Navan, Co Meath, Ireland and his mother from Southampton. Charles had one sibling, Thomas Roy, who was born in 1885 and died prior to 1911.

Charles first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family are living at 17 Manchester Street, All Saints, Southampton and his father is described as a Sergeant in the Royal Marines. Charles is absent from the 1901 census when his family are living at 18 Milton Road, Southampton, most likely being at sea at the time.

He was married in South Stoneham in 1908 to Lydia Jane Andrews (born 1888 in Southampton). They would have a child later that year, Nellie Doris, but the child lived only a short while.

On the 1911 census Charles is listed as living with his parents at 18 Milton Road and he was listed as a merchant steward. Also at this address as a visitor was Titanic stewardess Elizabeth Lavington. Charles' wife was listed at a different address, 175 Empress Road, Southampton, and was described as a housekeeper.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, McKay gave his address as 18 Milton Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

McKay was rescued in lifeboat 11.

Details about McKay's later life are vague. He is known to have worked at sea at least into the 1920s but details about his later family life are not certain and what became of Lydia McKay is not clear. He was remarried in 1949 to a lady named Doris M. Peartree, later moving to London where he spent the rest of his life.

He died 11 April 1956 in 2a Suttons Court, Fauconberg Road, Chiswick, London. His estate, valued at £2179, 9s was left to his widow Doris.

Gavin Bell, UK
Brian Ticehurst, UK

  1. Name frequently misquoted as MacKay
  2. He would give his birth date as January 10, 1878 in later documentation
References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
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

Articles and Stories

Titanic Stewards Describe Rescue

The Courier News  (1912) 


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