Frank Osman in 1912
Frank Osman was born in Gosport, Hampshire, England on 28 March 1885 1.
He was the son of William Osman (1848-1902), a brewery worker and later publican, and Emma "Emily" Kate Gue (b. 1847), both hailing from Romsey, Hampshire and who had married in 1868.
Frank had five known siblings: Frances Emily (b. 1870), Alice Jane (b. 1873), Florence Eliza (b. 1875), Percy Curtis (b. 1878) and William Fred (b. 1883).
Frank first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at 93 Avenue (?) Road in Alverstoke, Hampshire. He joined the British Navy as a young man, a role he served for just over eleven years, and would be absent from the 1901 census, his family by now living at 14 Cobden Street, Alverstoke. Frank later joined the White Star Line.
Frank was married in Alverstoke in 1907 to Clara Kate Sherwin (b. 1885 in Gosport), a tailoress, and the couple would have seven children: Percy Frank (1909-1976), Frank (1911-1911), Maud (1912-1993), William James (1915-1992), Emily Kate (1920-2003), Grace Frances (1924-1993) and George Joseph (1928-1998).
Frank would be absent from the 1911 census but his wife and first two children appear living at 27 Zetland Road, Gosport.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Frank gave his address as the 43 High Street, (Southampton). He transferred to the Titanic from the Oceanic and as an able seaman he received monthly wages of £5.
Frank was outside the seaman's mess on C Deck when the Titanic collided with the iceberg. The noise of the collision brought him up to the Forward Well Deck where he observed chunks of ice.
When the seaman were ordered to clear away the lifeboats, Frank helped load 4 lifeboats before leaving the ship in lifeboat 2.
According to Frank, lifeboat 2 was 60 to 100 yards off from the Titanic when she went under. From this distance, he saw the ship explode, break in two, and all the engines slide out. The stern then came up for a bit, then go down again. When questioned about the explosions, he thought they were the boilers exploding, and said he saw steam and smoke and lumps of coal coming out of the funnels afterwards.
When questioned as to why lifeboat 2 did not return to the wreck site to pick up people in the water, he said the lifeboat was almost full.
Frank survived the disaster, and testified at the U.S. Inquiry on 30 April 1912.
Frank returned to his family in England and continued to work at sea, serving on various ships for the White Star and Cunard Lines, including Olympic, Homeric and Mauretania.
Frank Osman c.1921
(National Archives/Mike Poirier)
Frank died in Southampton on 8 June 1938 aged 53. His widow Clara died in 1964.
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA
- He would later give his birth date as 28 March 1884.
George Behe (1991) Titanic Tidbits #1: The Launching of the Lifeboats: A New Chronology
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Colonel Archibald Gracie (1913) The Truth about the Titanic. New York, Mitchell Kennerley
Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (1997) Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage, Sutton Publishing, Southampton City Council. ISBN 0 7509 1436 X
Quinn, Paul (1997) Titanic at Two A.M.
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Wyn Craig Wade (1979, 1986) The Titanic: End of a Dream. London, Penguin