Encyclopedia Titanica

John Pearce

John Pearce
John Pearce

John Pearce 1 was born in Hedge End, South Stoneham, Hampshire, England on 9 February 1879.

He was the son of John Pearce (b. 1816) and Mary Jane Powell (b. 1851), natives of Plymouth and Hampshire, respectively who were married in 1873.

His siblings were: Mark (b. 1874), James (b. 1876), Ellen (b. 1877), Carrie (b. 1880), Lavinia (b. 1883), Elizabeth (b. 1885) and William Joseph (b. 1887). 

The 1881 census records the family living at 6 Pitt Street in St Helier, Jersey where they had apparently been living since not long after John's birth; at the time his father was described as a Greenwich pensioner. By the time of the 1891 census the family had returned to Britain and were shown living at 1 Green Hill Cottages, Woolston, Southampton.

Adding one year to his age and giving his birth date as 9 February 1878, young John Pearce signed up for the Royal Navy as a fireman; he was described as standing at 5' 7" and with light brown hair, dark grey eyes and with a fair complexion, sporting two "scars on [his] loins." Joining on 30 October 1896, Pearce's first ship was Victory II, serving eight months until August 1897 before serving on the Mars until the close of the 19th century. By January 1900 he was serving aboard Duke of Wellington, followed by Gladiator

Although he was at sea at the time, Pearce's family are listed on the 1901 census as residents of 105 Manor Road. 

Despite a clean record of conduct, Pearce was invalided from service in December 1902 whilst serving again aboard the Duke of Wellington, after which he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve, albeit not being in receipt of any pension. During this period he commenced a career with the Merchant Fleet.

On 23 November 1911 Pearce signed on to the Oratava as a fireman on a voyage bound for the West Indies. On 9 February 1912 he signed on for a voyage aboard the Danube.

When Pearce signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 he gave his address as 14 Drummond Road2 in Southampton and his previous ship as the Danube; as a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.

John Pearce survived the sinking but in which lifeboat is not clear (sometimes placed in boat 15 with other firemen); he was not called to testify at either of the British or American Inquiries into the disaster. He returned to England and resumed his career at sea.

On 11 July 1912 Pearce signed on as a fireman aboard the Arcadian, apparently, a Belfast-registered yacht that was bound for Norway. On 6 December 1913 he signed on as a greaser aboard Wellpark.

With the outbreak of war in Europe Pearce was reenlisted with the Royal Navy, rejoining Victory II as a stoker on 7 September 1914. From January 1915 to June 1919 he also served aboard the Hecla and the Dido before being demobilised on 10 June, again with an exemplary record. 

During peacetime, John Pearce continued to serve aboard merchant vessels, including La Rosarina, Oligarch, Hilman, Trinculo and Mountnairn.

John was serving onboard the ship British Yeoman in 1933 as a Donkeyman when he died from injuries sustained to his head after falling 20 feet in the engine room on 17th March 1933 and was buried at sea 13º 57''N, 49º 32''E.


  1. Sometimes listed as Pearse.
  2. As per the 1911 census 14 Drummond Road in Itchen was the home of a Samuel Mortimer and his family.

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People, CD-ROM
Historical RFA
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Maria Pearce

    This is John Pearce in 1919. He was the brother of my great grandad, Joseph Pearce. I have been trying to find out more about his life after the Titanic.

  2. Maria Pearce

    And a picture of his brother Joseph. Clearly, he resembles the first man in the photo. My grandmother the niece to of John Pearce born Wolston 9th Feb 1879 to John Pearce and Mary Powell, told me her uncle John was a fireman/stocker on the Titanic. Yet the information I find on this site has different information. I would love to get to the bottom of this.

  3. John Pearce

    John Pearce

    The photo of John Pearce is the same as the one we obtained from the merchant records.A year after the Titanic sinking my father was born.

  4. Maria Pearce

    John so are you saying you are the son of William Henry Pearce born 1913? If so I would love to know what happened to John after the Titanic. I know he survived and went on to have a family , but very little after that.

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr John Pearce
Age: 33 years 4 months and 25 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 14 Drummond Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Danube
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 17th March 1933 aged 54 years
Buried: at Sea

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