Mr George Alexander Prangnell

George Alexander Prangnell

Mr George Alexander Prangnell (Greaser) was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 12 December 1881.

He was the son of Alexander Prangnell (b. 1847), a labourer, and Caroline Curtis (b. 1853). His father hailed from Romsey and his mother from Dorset and they were married in Southampton in the earlier months of 1881. He had an older sister, Amelia (b. circa 1874) but it is not clear if they shared the same mother.

In the months prior to Prangnell's birth his family were listed on the 1881 census as residents of 35 Bellevue Street, St Mary, Southampton. What became of his mother is not clear and when George first appears on the 1891 census he is living with his father and sister at 4 Pear's Court (?), St Michael, Southampton and his father is now described as an unmarried corn merchant.

In the autumn of 1906 George was married in Southampton to Elizabeth Louisa Dack (b. 1885). By 1912 they had two sons, William "Billy" (b. 1903) and George (b. 1906) and were expecting a third child. The 1911 census shows Mrs Prangnell and her two sons as residents of 13 Oriental Terrace, Southampton whilst the elder George is absent and presumably at sea.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6th April 1912, Prangnell gave his address as 3 Brew House Court, (Southampton). He transferred from the Olympic and as a greaser he received monthly wages of £6, 10s.

It is generally believed that he was rescued on overturned collapsible B; he later claimed to have been rescued by a ship other than the Carpathia 1. Whilst in America he was treated for frostbite to his hands and feet. After his rescue was confirmed Mrs Prangnell was quoted by a reporter as saying:

''My two little boys wanted to keep awake all night, they were very anxious to see their father, but I told them to go to sleep and I would bring daddy home.''

Prangnell returned home following the disaster and he and his wife welcomed a daughter on 15 May 1912, Amelia Elizabeth Louisa. Another three children would follow: Louise Elizabeth (b. 1918), Robert A. (b. 1921) and Jessie Alice (b. 1925) .2

Prangnell continued working at sea and continued to do so for the duration of WWI. In 1919 he was awarded the Mercantile Marine Medal for his services during that conflict. He remained at sea until 1924 3 and then worked at Vosper Thornycrofts Shipyard in Woolston and as a grain-runner for Fear & Colebrook in Chapel Road.

He lived a full and active life until his death on 3 December 1953. Earlier that year he had been to see the 20th Century Fox film Titanic, a movie depiction that he was less than impressed with and described as "eyewash."

George is buried in South Stoneham Cemetery, Southampton, section P03, plot 31 in an unmarked grave.

Notes

  1. A 1980 newspaper interview with Prangnell's daughter Louise Parker related how her father had clung onto life aboard a life raft alone, strapping himself to the hull with his braces and being picked up by a cargo ship three days later and revived by a fellow Southampton acquaintance, Mickey Shields. Treated for frostbite, exposure and enlarged genitalia, he returned to England some three months after his fellow crew survivors from Titanic. Many details in this account are questionable and the fact that he was photographed alongside other surviving crew members in the Illustrated London News on 4 May 1912 debunks this version of events. 
  2. Billy: b. 1 April 1904; died 1971 in Southampton); Frederick George: b. circa 1906; d. ?; Amelia Elizabeth Louisa: b. 15 May 1912; died in Southampton in 2000 as Mrs Bertie Baker; Louise Elizabeth: b. 16 October 1918; died in Southampton in 1996 as Mrs Frank Parker; Robert A.: b. 1921; d. ?; Jessie Alice: b. 28 Dec 1925; died in Southampton in 1982 as Mrs Frederick Flight.
  3. A 1923 Board of Trade identity card (CR2 index) places him aboard the Ishtar.

Newspaper Articles

Daily Mirror (30 April 1912) In The Town Of Sorrow
Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) George Prangnell after his rescue
Hampshire Magazine (1980) Did this man survive three days in the icy ocean?

Images

George Alexander Prangnell

Documents and Certificates

Agreement and Account of Crew, National Archives, London; BT100/259
World War One Medal Roll, National Archives
Central Register of Merchant Seamen (including CR10 Identity Cards), Southampton City Archives / National Archives, (BT348, BT349, BT350)
(1912) United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List, Titanic Inquiry Project

Bibliography

Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People (CDROM)
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Arne Mjåland said:

    In Southampton Echo April 9 1975 there weas an article about him. Sisters Jane and Leigh Russell had brought Titanic documents to Mike Fenton. The two sisters were great grandchildren of Mr, Pragnell. Mr Fenton was a teacher at St. Mary s Primary School in Southampton, and at that time the school was involved imn maritime topics. During the rescue Mr. Pragnell s extraordinary ability as a swimmer is mentioned. He claimed he had been picked up by a Southampton based cargo ship, being revived with whisky (medically illadvised) by a crew man from his home port who recognised him. I do not... Read full post

  2. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Dear Arne, Below you will find the answer to your questions about Mr. Prangnell - the truth always comes out. Regards Brian PRANGNELL, George. Saved in Lifeboat B. Lived at 3 Brew House Court, St Marys, Southampton. Occupation - Greaser. 31 years old. (Born in Hampshire). Ship before the Titanic was the RMS Olympic. In The Town Of Sorrow (From our Special Correspondent) Southampton April 29th. Joy and sorrow, elation and depression are mingled in the homes here of the seamen, firemen and stewards of the Titanic. Feelings of compassion for the heroes who died... Read full post

  3. JANE RUSSELL said:

    Re: I AM THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF GEORGE PRANGNELL,MY NAME IS JANICE RUSSELL ,IM 65 AND STILL LIVE IN GOLDEN GROVE,AND THE OLDESST LIVING SON OF GEORGE IS BARN PRAGNELL WHO IS 88 AND STILL HAS ALL THE DOCUMENTS MENTIONED ABOVE. I REMEMBER BEING TOLD THIS STORY AS A GRANDCHILD,WHICH WE PASS ON TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN, WHO ARE FASINATED ESPECAILLY WITH SCHOOL TOPICS,HE DIED AT THE AGE OF 72 OF CANCER AND HIS BURIED IN STONEHAM CEMEMTERY,NEXT TO ANOTHER TITANTIC SURVIVOR

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Acknowledgements

Bill Wormstedt, USA
Gavin Bell, UK
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Trevor Baxter, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) George Alexander Prangnell (ref: #1626, last updated: 25th July 2017, accessed 11th June 2021 13:27:33 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/george-alexander-prangnell.html

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