George William Beauchamp was born in Totton, Eling, Hampshire, England on 9 March 1888. He was the son of George Beauchamp (b. 1850) and Maria Jane Walton (b. 1857). His father was from Langley, Wiltshire and his mother from Millbrook, Hampshire and they had married in Eling in 1882.
George was one of six children born to his parents, two dying in infancy. His siblings were: Emma Jane (b. 1883), Nellie Blanche (b. 1884), Fanny Elizabeth (b. 1890), John Frederick (b. 1892) and Annie (b. 1897).
George first appears on the 1891 census living in Totton, Eling, Hampshire. His father is described as a labourer. On the 1901 census the family are living in Redbridge Lane, Millbrook and his father is now described as a sawyer in the railway works. By the time of the 1911 census George is absent, already having commenced a career at sea since leaving school, working for various Lines, including the Union Castle Line. His parents and younger brother John are listed at Redbridge Road, Millbrook on the 1911 census.
When George signed on to the Titanic he gave his address as Redbridge Road, Millbrook and his previous ship as the Kinfauns Castle. As a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.
At the time of the collision George was on duty and described the impact a being like a "roar of thunder." He was then ordered to shut the dampers just as the watertight doors began to close off. After a few minutes he was ordered to draw the fires by which point water was starting to come into the stokehold around his feet. George made his way topside and positioned himself on the aft starboard boatdeck where he assisted women and children into the boats. He was ordered into lifeboat 13 when asked by an officer if he could handle an oar. He described the difficulty in getting boat 13 clear of the ship due to the discharge from the ship's exhaust. George's boat was later picked up by the Carpathia around 9.30 am.
George was later called to testify at the British enquiry into the disaster.
''....I went on the starboard side near No. 13 boat and stood there. It was quite full and held 60 to 70 people.
Raymond Asquith: Where any male passengers in the boat?
-Yes; but I can't say how many.
-Who took charge of the boat?
-I think it was Barrett, the leading stoker. (Br. Report, p. 30)
Charles Hendrickson (left), George William Beauchamp (centre) at the British Inquiry
(Courtesy of Paul Lee)
George Beauchamp continued to work at sea into the 1920s and beyond and later served on the Cape Mail boats for the Union Line as a leading fireman. Upon leaving the sea he worked at the docks in Southampton and latterly with Kennedy's Builders Merchants in Commercial Road where he befriended Titanic survivor Bertram Vere Dean.
George never married and spent the last few years of his life living at the Woolpack Inn in Redbridge, Southampton where he was reportedly a popular figure with the regulars. He died on 5 April 1965 aged 77 and he was cremated at South Stoneham Crematorium three days later.