Mr John (aka Samuel) Collins was born in Ramsgate, Kent on 19 January 1874, the son of John Collins and Mary Lawrence.
He enlisted in the Royal Marines on 27th December 1890. Although he was underage he was retained and transferred from Walmer to Chatham on 1 Jan 1891 for further training but discharged as "invalided" on 8 March 1892. It is thought he later reenlisted and served during the boer war.
He was married in Ramsgate on 16 March 1902 to 17-year-old Harriett Farley (1885-1967) giving his occupation at the time as 'groom'.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as the Sailors' Home, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Highland Laddie. As a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
Collins was rescued in Emergency Lifeboat 1 and was later called to testify at the British Inquiry into the disaster.
Samuel married for a second time to Florence Milly Grant (nee Green) on 25 June 1916 in London giving his name as John Lawrence Collins (Lawrence being his mother's name). There is no evidence that Samuel and Harriett were ever divorced, it seems that Samuel wanted to move to Canada but Harriett did not wish to leave Ramsgate.
He and his second wife moved to Canada but Samuel soon returned across the Atlantic to serve in France with the CEF. He was wounded and discharged still in 1916, whereafter he returned to Canada.
Florence Grant had two children by a previous relationship with a medical practitioner and bore Collins a further two girls. Mary Ypres Collins and Doris Mons Collins (1920-1990).
Harriett Collins, John's estranged wife, herself remarried in 1927 to George Edward Page (1885-1975) and had a daughter Laura (born 1924) and possibly other children as well, in addition to helping raise George's son George Henry Thomas Page born 1911.
On 15 April 1939 Collins, together with Elizabeth Mellinger, Madeline Mann (née Mellinger) and Emma Bliss met for a Titanic reunion dinner at the Royal York Hotel, Toronto.
Samuel Collins at the cenotaph in Toronto with other veterans, c.1946.
Courtesy of Malcolm Collins
He died on 28 September 1950 at the Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and he was buried in the veterans section of Pine Hills Cemetery in Toronto.
John Collins grave
Courtesy of Jason Tiller