Encyclopedia Titanica

Joseph George Scarrott

Joseph George Scarrott
Joseph George Scarrott

Mr Joseph George Scarrott was born in Plymouth, Devon, England on 25 April 1878. He was the son of Joseph Timothy Stephen Scarrott (1847-1897) and Bessie Grace Ryder Truscott (1854-1935). His father and mother were from Portsmouth and Plymouth respectively and had married in Plymouth in 1876, going on to have three children: Elizabeth Bessie (b. 1882), Edwin (b. 1888) and Joseph.

Joseph Scarrott first appears on the 1881 census living at 18 Duke Street in Portsea, Hampshire, his father being described as a seaman in the Royal Navy. On the 1891 census he and his father are visitors at his uncle's house at 34 East Street in Portsmouth. 

Joseph was married in mid-1898 to Annie Elizabeth Till (b. 1879 in Portsmouth). They appear not to have had any children.  In 1914 he would serve a month in prison for bigamy having in 1907 married Agnes Laura Payne while Annie was still alive and living nearby.

Scarrott had previously worked on White Star and other vessels, mainly out of Plymouth, sometimes as a bosun'. When he signed onto the Titanic on 6th April 1912. He gave his address as 36 Albert Road, Southampton; he had transferred from the Kildonan Castle. As an Able Bodied Seaman his monthly wages were £5.

Scarrott was rescued in Lifeboat 14.

Writing in 1932 he recalled his experience:

I signed on the "articles" as 'A.B.' on Monday 8th April, 1912 [sic] (note the total of numbers in the year). The signing on seemed like a dream to me, and I could not believe I had done so, but the absence of my discharge book from my pocket convinced me. When I went to the docks that morning I had as much intention of applying for a job on the Big 'Un as we called her, as I had of going for a trip to the moon. I was assured of a job as a Q.M. on a Union Castle liner, also I was not in low water for "Bees and honey". When I went home (36 Albert Road) and told my sister what I had done she called me a....... fool. Now this was the first and only time that she had shown disapproval of any ship I was going on. In fact she would not believe me until she found I was minus my discharge book.

I was under orders to join the ship at 7am. Wednesday, April 10th, the time of sailing being 12.0 that morning. The trip was to be a 'speed up' trip, meaning that we were to go from Southampton to New York, unload, load and back again in 16 days. Although it was unnecessary to take all my kit for this short trip, I did not seem to have the inclination to sort any of it out, and I pondered a lot in my mind whether I should her or give it a miss. Now in the whole of my 29 years of going to sea I have never had that feeling of hesitation that I experienced then, and I had worked aboard the Titanic when she came to Southampton from the builders and I had the opportunity to inspect her from stem to stern. This I did, especially the crew quarters, and I must say that she was the finest ship I had ever seen.

Wednesday 10th. I decide I will go, but not with a good heart. Before leaving home I kissed my sister and said 'Goodbye', and as I was leaving she called me back and asked why I had said 'Goodbye' instead of my usual 'So long, see you again soon'. I told her I had not noticed saying it, neither had I. On my way to join the ship you can imagine how this incident stuck in my mind. On joining a ship all sailors have much the same routine. You go to your quarters, choose your bunk, and get the gear you require from your bag. Then you change into your uniform by that time you are called to muster by the Chief Officer. I took my bag but did not open it, nor did I get into uniform, and I went to muster and Fire and Boat Drill without my uniform. 11.45am. Hands to stations for casting off. I am in the Starboard Watch, my station is aft, and I am still not in uniform. My actions and manners are the reverse of what they should be.

'12.00 noon. The order to "let go" is given.'

'Our first port of call was Cherbourg and before we arrived there I had resigned myself to the inevitable and had settled down to my proper routine. After embarking continental passengers and mails we left for Queenstown which was our last port of call before crossing the Atlantic which we hoped to do at record speed.'

Southend Pier Review, Number 8, 1932

After his rescue Scarrott testified at the British Inquiry

He described the iceberg as seeming like the shape of the Rock of Gibraltar with gleaming icy sides and a dark patch of earthy matter.

Iceberg by Scarrott
Drawing of the iceberg that sank the Titanic by Joseph Scarrott
(The Sphere, May 1912)

I myself took charge of No. 14 as the only sailorman there. The Chief Officer ordered women and children to be taken in. Some men came and tried to rush the boat. They were foreigners and could not understand the orders I gave them, but I managed to keep them away. I had to use some persuasion with a boat tiller. One man jumped in twice and I had to throw him out the third time.

I got all the women and children into the boat. There were fifty-four women and four children--one of them a baby in arms. There were myself, two firemen, three or four stewards and Mr Lowe, who got into the boat. I told him the trouble I had with the men and he brought out his revolver and fired two shots and said: "If there is any more trouble I will fire at them." The shots fired were fired between the boat and the ship's side.

The after fall got twisted and we dropped the boat by the releasing gear and got clear of the ship. There were four men rowing. there was a man in the boat who we thought was a sailor, but he was not. He was a window cleaner [William Harder]. The Titanic was then about fifty yards off and we lay there with the other boats. Mr Lowe was at the helm.

We went in the direction of the cries and came among hundreds of dead bodies and lifebelts. We got one man [William F. Hoyt], who died shortly after he got into the boat. One of the stewards tried to restore him, but without avail. There was another man who was calling for help, but among the bodies and wreckage it was too late for us to reach him. It took half an hour to get to that man. Cannot say exactly, but think we got about twenty off of the Engelhardt boat ("A")

Joseph Scarrott, A. B. (Br. Inq., pp. 29, 30)

Joseph Scarrott continued to work at sea. He was widowed in 1915 and remarried in Middlesex in 1919 to Elizabeth Minnie Henrietta Koster (b. 12 February 1888 in Tower Hamlets, Middlesex) and they settled in Essex.

Joseph died in Rochford, Essex on 19 August 1938 aged 60. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Sutton Road Cemetery and Crematorium, Southend-on-Sea, Essex (section P, plot 10418). His widow Elizabeth was remarried in 1949 to George Turrant. She died in Southend-on-Sea, Essex in 1981.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Joseph George Scarrott
Age: 33 years 11 months and 20 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Annie Elizabeth Till
Last Residence: at 36 Albert Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Able Seaman
Last Ship: Kildonan Castle
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 19th August 1938 aged 60 years
Buried: Sutton Road Cemetery and Crematorium, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England

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References and Sources

National Archives (CR10 ID cards / Courtesy of Gavin Bell)
Paul Lee Iceberg Dead Ahead

Newspaper Articles

Joseph Scarrott The Sphere An account of the Titanic disaster by a survivor
Able Seaman Joseph Scarrott's Story of the Titanic Sinking
Portsmouth Evening News (10 February 1914) AN UNHAPPY MARRIAGE
Sentenced to only a month’s imprisonment.
Hampshire Advertiser (14 February 1914) One Month for Bigamy
Married Agnes Payne whilst his former wife was still alive.


Joseph George Scarrott c.1919
Sheffield Daily Telegraph (1912) Joseph George Scarrott at the British Inquiry
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Comment and discuss

  1. jennifer burton

    jennifer burton said:

    mr joseph scarrott, im pleased to say is and was my cousin im very proud that he saved the live of the people on life boat 14. he resembles my father, who to was a scarrott. j burton

  2. Joolz Amanda

    Joolz Amanda said:

    04 AUG 1883 : Joseph's father Joseph Timothy Stephen states in personal column of Portsmouth Evening News that he will no longer be responsible for his wife's debts . This was not long after Josephs sister Elizabeth aged 11 months had died at Duke Street . Putting a notice in the newspaper was common amongst folk who wanted a divorce but couldn't afford one . Edwin who was born in 1888 is probably not Josephs brother .

  3. Joolz Amanda

    Joolz Amanda said:

    15 SEPT 1907 Joseph George Scarrott marries Agnes Laura Payne in Southampton Registry Office . His first wife was still alive and living in Portsmouth . He married Agnes using the name George Scarrott . On 10 FEB 1914 Portsmouth Evening News , page 4 Joseph George Scarrott pleads guilty to Bigamy and is... Read full post

  4. Joolz Amanda

    Joolz Amanda said:

    Joseph George Scarrott's sister : Portsmouth Evening News : dated 28 OCT 1882 : Yesterday afternoon another inquest was heard at ' The Dolphin ' , the daughter of Joseph Scarrott a merchant seaman of Duke Street . The child had on the 20th instant , exhibited symptoms of measles and some medicine was procured from a neighbouring chemist for her but at 7.50 on Wednesday morning the mother found her dead in bed by her side . Dr Smart attributed her death to supressed measles... Read full post

  5. John ford (3145)

    John ford (3145) said:

    Is a very small world I just happen to randomly look up joseph scarrot because I Remember my grandmother telling me about him she was directly related to him her name was Joan Ford her mother was Alma Scarrot And father Major Tom Scarritt who started the Trinadad militia!

  6. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey said:

    I am trying to find out exactly where A B Scarrott was the Titanic collided with the iceberg. I have not been able to find a definitive answer. Can someone please direct me to a link which clearly states Scarrott's anatomical location (where on which deck etc) just before the collision?

  7. Kate Powell

    Kate Powell said:

    Have you seen this page from the Titanic British Inquiry? There's some information about Joseph Scarrott's location in the testimony.

  8. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey said:

    I did but the sequence of the questioning confused me. I would have thought it was more proper to ask where Scarrott was at the time of the collision first and then about what he saw and felt. Therefore, when he started that he was on the Forecastle head, I wanted to confirm that he was there just before the collision and he was not referring to another timeline. In the previous sentence he talks about "5 to 8 minutes after the bells" etc. Then he talks about seeing the iceberg after he came (back) up with his mate. But if Scarrott was on the Forecastle Head just before the collision, he... Read full post

  9. Kate Powell

    Kate Powell said:

    I see what you mean. It would be strange if he hadn't seen it coming towards them if he had been on the forecastle head. He gives more information in this account saying that they all rushed up on deck to see what was the matter. Doesn't seem as if he was on the forecastle at the time of the collision.

  10. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey said:

    That's what I meant. Scarrott says that he was "underneath the forecastle enjoying a smoke" when the collision occurred. Does he mean a deck below? Yet, he says he heard the 3 bells. By trying to combine various somewhat disjointed statements it would appear that Scarrott was supposed to be on the forecastle head at the time (the man depicted there in Cameron's film?) but from his article we assume that he was on a lower deck in the same area having a smoke. That would explain why he did not see the iceberg as it closed in front of the Titanic (at least Scarrott does not say that he saw the... Read full post

  11. Samuel Halpern

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Scarrott was on duty at the time, but the on-duty deck crew were mostly hanging around the seamen's mess down on C deck, it being Sunday night. If he was stealing a smoke he may have been near to stairs going down the the seamen's quarters on E deck, possibly hanging around D deck near the door... Read full post

  12. Arun Vajpey

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Thanks Sam. I can understand Scarrott feeling a bit overwhelmed at the British Investigation and the convoluted line of questioning by Aspinall would not have helped. But his testimony does suggest that there was a significant interval between the 3 bells and the first impact, doesn't it?

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