Encyclopedia Titanica

Fred Harris

Mr Fred Harris was born in Middlesex, England around 1873 but about his background and family remain uncertain.

He appears on the 1911 census living at 57 Melville Road in Gosport, Hampshire and was described as a married labourer in the public works and aged 38. His wife of eight years is not listed at the same address and her identity currently remains unknown; however, the census indicates that they were childless.

He had served 12 years as a member of the Portsmouth Division of Royal Marines.

He had previously served the Duke of Wellington and the Oceanic immediately prior to joining the Titanic.

When he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Harris gave his address as 57 Melville Road, Gosport. As a fireman, he could expect monthly wages of £6.

Frederick Harris survived the sinking:

Fredk. Harris of Gosport said when the last boat had gone and it was realised that the vessel was going to sink, there was wild confusion, and deck chairs and anything that would float were seized by the men as they jumped overboard. He saw the captain jump into the water and swim to a child, which he placed on a raft. - The Western Times, 30 April 1912. 

In another interview related in the Western Daily Mercury (29 April 1912) he claimed that first officer Murdoch shot himself. He got into a "small raft" but was afterwards taken into a lifeboat, finding himself half dead with the cold.

The reliability of these accounts is questionable and other reports suggest Frederick Harris escaped in lifeboat 14. 

Fred Harris, surviving fireman, was in boat 14, 'the last but one to leave the port side.' - Portsmouth Times, 4 May, 1912.

Harris was not required to give evidence to either the American or British Inquiries into the sinking.

What became of Frederick Harris is not certain.  The Western Morning News published an obituary for a Fred Harris who passed away 18 February 1929, aged 57.

SUDDEN DEATH AT PLYMOUTH
Mr Fred Harris, who has been in the servcie of Mr. Herbert T. Lapthone, building contractor, of Plyouth, for 35 years, died suddenly at the works yesterday morning. He was widely known and greatly respected. - Western Morning News - 19 February 1929

He was buried as Frederick Harris in Weston Mill Cemetery and crematorium Plymouth, Devon (Section 3 plot B8836).  It is likely that this was the Titanic survivor. 

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Fred Harris
Born: circa.1873 in
Age: 39 years (Male)
Nationality: English
Last Residence: in Gosport, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Embarked: Southampton
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912

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Research Articles

Titanica! (2018) Titanic: The Disappeared
Which Titanic survivors have never been found?

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Western Daily Mercury (29 April 1912) Titanic survivor tells graphic story
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Acknowledgements

Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Bill Wormstedt, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2021) Fred Harris (ref: #1510, last updated: 29th November 2021, accessed 26th January 2022 11:45:51 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/fred-harris.html