Encyclopedia Titanica

George Combes

Mr George Combes was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 7 September 1877 and he was later baptised on 23 May 1881 in St James' Church. 

He was the son of William Combes (1823-1891), a stone mason, and Elizabeth Staples (1841-1901). Both his parents were natives of Southampton and had married on 12 December 1863.

George had eight siblings, several of who died in infancy: John (b. 1864), William James (b. 1866), Harry (b. 1869), Elizabeth Alice (b. 1870), Walter William (b. 1873), Eliza Rachel (b. 1875), Rose (b. 1880) and Charles (b. 1882).

George first appears on the 1881 census and was then living with his family at Court 1, 13 King Street, St Mary, Southampton. His father died in 1891, just weeks prior to the time that the 1891 census was conducted; the remnants of the family were listed as living at 12 King Street, Southampton.

George was married on Christmas Day 1900 to Emma Jane “Imogene” Taylor (b. 5 July 1879). Imogene hailed from Poole, Dorset and was the daughter of mariner Joseph Taylor and the former Emma Robins. 

The couple appear on the 1901 census living at 5 Henry Street, St Mary Southampton and George was then described as a ship's stoker and, sadly, he had lost his mother just prior to this. 

George and Imogene would go on to have six children: Rosalie Emmy Elizabeth (b. 18 September 1901), George Walter William (b. 1903), Charles Frederick (b. 1907), Catherine Imogen (b. 23 February 1909), William Henry (b. 11 April 1911) and John Albert (b. 11 January 1913). Their second-born George did not reach his second birthday and died in early 1905.

George was absent from the 1911 census but his family are listed at 45 Coleman Street, St Mary, Southampton.

When he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 Combes gave his address as 45 Coleman Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as a fireman he would receive monthly wages of £6.

George survived the sinking (exactly which boat is unknown, but possibly lifeboat 3). He was not required to give evidence to either the American or British inquiries into the disaster but was recorded as having received expenses of £7, 16s, 6d with regards to his detention at the latter.

George had to England aboard the Lapland and continued his career at sea. His health took a downturn and in years to come he suffered from tuberculosis. He died on 13 August 1916 aged 38 and was buried in Old Common Cemetery, Southampton, Section N153, plot 107.

His widow Imogene never remarried and remained in Southampton where she died in 1940. 

His daughter Rosalie married in 1928 to window dresser Albert Ernest Victor Summers (b. 11 March 1899) and they had a daughter named Pamela. She remained in Southampton where she died in 1968 aged 66.  Son Charles later worked as a merchant seaman and served during WWII. In 1930 he married Elsie Palmer and had two daughters, Iris and Doreen. What became of him is unknown.  Daughter Catherine married in 1935 to housepainter Arthur Ernest Alexander (b. 20 March 1895) and raised a family before migrating to Australia in the 1940s. She died in Campbelltown, New South Wales in 1989.  Son William later worked as a stevedore and was married in 1934 to Minnie May Ruth Cotton (b. 12 November 1911) and they had four children. William died in Southampton in 1977. Son John later worked in the scrap metal industry; he was never married and died in Southampton in 1968.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr George Combes
Age: 34 years 7 months and 8 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Imogene Taylor
Last Residence: at 45 Coleman Street, St Mary Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 13th August 1916 aged 38 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: Old Cemetery, Southampton Common, Southampton, Hampshire, England

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References and Sources

United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Gro Register of Births Marriages and Deaths
British Census
George Combes Family Tree
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