Encyclopedia Titanica

Fred Toms

Mr Fred Toms, 29, was born in Hampshire1 on 3 October 1882 the son John Toms (1848-c.1908) and Matilda Ann Mullens (1849-1936).  He was baptised in Southampton on 3 June 1883. He had 6 siblings: William Charles Toms (1875-1962), John Henry Toms (1878-1948), Fanny Toms (1880-1882), Emily Toms (1884-1980), Kate Toms (1887-1909) and Ernest Toms (born 1890).

Toms signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast as a steward on 1 April 1912. When he signed-on again in Southampton on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as Hillside Rd. B.P. (Bitterne Park, Southampton)2. As a steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. He had transferred from the Olympic.

Toms was rescued, in which boat is not known, (although possibly lifeboat 15, with his friend, Saloon Steward Benjamin Thomas).

Toms continued to work for White Star, he signed-on to the Oceanic on 10 July 1912 but his health was impaired by his Titanic experience and he left the Oceanic, returned to Southampton and married Norah Louisa Phillips (born 1885).  

The same year, 1912, they emigrated to Los Angeles3, California where for 20 years he worked as a railway clerk / cashier for the Southern Pacific Railway4,5,6.  Nora's family, including her parents, had also emigrated to America but they returned to England on several occasions to visit other relatives. Fred would also write regularly to his Southampton relatives.

He suffered from heart disease for some time prior to his death on 24 July 1937. He was cremated and the remains interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Los Angeles on 28 July 1937, but Nora later had them returned to England and interred at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (section A2, plot 41).

Nora remained living in Los Angeles for a time, although in 1940 she was listed as staying at her brother Archie's home in Nevada.


  1. When he signed on he gave his age as 31.
  2. The address (Allandale, Hillside Avenue, Portswood, Southampton) was that of his elder brother William Charles Toms who resided there until his death in 1962.
  3. 1920 census says they emigrated 1913.
  4. In his draft registration card his address is given as 919 West 3rd St. Los Angeles. 
  5. In the 1920 census they were shown living at 901 35th Street, Los Angeles.  They were being visited by Nora'a brother Albert (a theatre stage manager).  Fred was listed as a 'Check clerk, Railway'.
  6. In the 1930 census they were living at 3836 Seneca Street, Los Angeles and were being visited by Benjamin J. Thomas (now a railway steward, who had also emigrated in 1912) and his wife Polly.  The 1930 Lost Angeles City Directory gives their address as 2254 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Fred Toms
Age: 29 years 6 months and 12 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Occupation: Saloon Steward
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast on Monday 1st April 1912
Rescued (boat 15)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Cause of Death:
Buried: Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, England on Wednesday 28th July 1937

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References and Sources

Christening Record
Crew Particulars of Engagement, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, Agreements and Crew Lists Oceanic January ? August 1912
1920,1930 US Census
1891-1911 British Census
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People CD-ROM
Death Certificate
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