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Frank Archibald Robert Mason

Frank Archibald Robert Mason
Frank Archibald Robert Mason

Mr Frank Archibald Robert Mason was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 10 April 1880.1

He was the son of John Mason (1843-1919), a dock labourer, and Elizabeth Dawson (1842-1903), both natives of Southampton who had married in 1866. 

One of eight children, Frank’s siblings were: John Harry (1866-1900), Sarah Jane (b. 1869), Alfred Edward (b. 1871), Richard (1873-1875), Richard Ernest (1876-1950), George Sellence (1878-1932) and Thomas William (b. 1883).

Frank first appears on the 1881 census living with his family at 5 Birmingham Street, Southampton. The family were shown on the 1891 and 1901 census records living at 6 Chandos Street, Southampton but Frank would be absent from the latter record, presumably at sea.

The earliest available record for Mason being at sea was in October 1901 when he was a fireman aboard the Haverford, then operating out of Liverpool; at the time he was giving his address as 6 Chandos Street, Southampton.

Mason was married in the latter months of 1910 to Ruth Cooper (b. 9 October 1888), also a native of Southampton, daughter of William Cooper and Elizabeth Parkes.

The 1911 census shows the freshly married couple living at 20 Nelson Street, Frank's occupation given as a fireman for the White Star Line. Their daughter Elizabeth Ruth was born later that year on 17 August 1911.

When he signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Mason gave his address as 30a Waverly Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Oruba and as a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.

Mason survived the sinking; some accounts have him escaping atop collapsible B but some sources believe it is more likely that he escaped in lifeboats 3 or 9. He was not called to testify at either the American or British inquiries into the sinking but did receive expenses of £7, 16s, 6d for his detention at the latter.

He later returned to England and continued to work at sea into the 1920s and beyond; by May 1922 he was a fireman aboard the Caronia and was described as standing at 5’ 6” and weighing 135 lbs. Prior to that he had served aboard the Adriatic.

He and his wife would have another child, a daughter named Gwendoline Iris (b. 30 October 1922) and at the time her birth certificate listed him as a 'Boiler (Ship Yard)" and gave their home address as 43a Orchard Lane, Southampton.

By 1939 Frank had left the sea and was working as a stevedore at Southampton docks; he and his wife were listed as living at 74, The Drove, Southampton.

Frank Mason died in Southampton in February 1953 aged 72. He is buried in Hollybrook cemetery Southampton (section E 1, plot 21) in an unmarked grave. His widow Ruth later died 8 May 1958.

Both his daughters remained residents of Southampton; Elizabeth later married labourer Reginald H. Williams and had a son, also named Reginald. She died in 1996. Daughter Gwendoline, later known as Mary (and later Mrs Peter McQuillan) died in 2001.


  1. Birthdate as per CR10 identity card from circa 1919. His birth was registered in Southampton in June Q 1880 (2c/28). However, on the 1939 register, he gives birthdate as 12 April 1880. Other sources (public family trees etc.) give a birth date of 28 February 1880.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Frank Archibald Robert Mason
Age: 32 years and 5 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Ruth Cooper
Occupation: Fireman
Embarked: Southampton
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Buried: Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, England

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References and Sources

United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
1881-1911 British Census
CR10 identity card (#348742, National Archives)
GRO Register of Births Marriages and Deaths


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