Mr Joseph Pierre Duquemin

Mr Joseph Pierre Duquemin was born in Guernsey 1 in the Channel Islands on 24 November 1887 2.

He was the eldest child of Joseph Pierre Duqemin (b. 1866), a stonemason, and Ann Louise Quentin (b. 1866), both natives of Castel, Guernsey who had married around 1887. One of ten surviving children from a total of fourteen, Joseph's known siblings were: Walter (b. 1888), Elise (b. 1890), Nora (b. 1891), Nelson (b. 1893), Lillian (b. 1895), Harry (b. 1898), Florry (b. 1899), Adele Emilie (b. 1897), Rita (b. 1900) and Gerald (b. 1904).

Joseph and his family appear on both the 1901 and 1911 census records living at Port Grat in St Sampson and by the time of the latter record Joseph was described as an unmarried labourer in a quarry.

Joseph DuqueminHe boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number S.O./P.P. 752 which cost £7 11s) and he was travelling with  Howard Hugh Williams. Another friend, Albert Denbuoy, was travelling in second class. Joseph's destination was Albion, New York.

On the night of the sinking Joseph Duquemin aided the women to find lifeboats. At one point he took off his overcoat and wrapped it around a shivering seven-year-old girl Eva Hart. He claimed that he helped others until he was waist-deep in water before turning to Howard Williams (some sources say Albert Denbouy) to tell him that he was jumping. He jumped and made for collapsible D, but his friend fell victim to the suction. Joseph said that at first he was refused permission to board the lifeboat but was soon allowed on when he told the crew that he could handle an oar.3 Later he claimed to pull another swimmer out of the water. Another male passenger in the lifeboat, Frederick Hoyt, is believed by family to have later assisted Duquemin in obtaining work in Stamford, Connecticut.

News of the sinking reached Joseph's family back in Guernsey later on that day. His brother Gerald related that his mother was in severe shock and a doctor had to be sent for. Word of Joseph's safety arrived by a telegram, which is reported to have read: "Joseph Duquemin reported safe, Ismay." The telegram and envelope are still in the hands of Joseph's descendants.

Duquemin would never return to his native Guernsey and for a time he was plagued by nightmares about the disaster. He also suffered badly from the frostbite in his legs, derived from his time in the water.

Arriving in New York and following recuperation Joseph went to work in upstate New York before moving to Sterling, Windham, Connecticut in the late 1910s. He later served in the US Army as an infantryman following the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914-1918. He eventually settled in Stamford, Connecticut and worked at the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company and, during the 1930s, helped build Stamford High School's Boyle Stadium.

He was married in the 1920s to a Connecticut-born Irish-American, Marion Flanaghan (b. 1900) and had two daughters, Mary (1929-1976, later Mrs Robert Knapp) and Marilyn (1931-1985, later Mrs Frank Marro4) and a son, Joseph (b. 1932). The family continued to reside in Stamford.

In later years Joseph's physical health deteriorated, likely as a result of his frostbite and he would lose two toes to gangrene before both his legs were amputated by the time of the mid-1940s. Despite his ailments Joseph is remembered as being very strict, honest and independent but the subject of the Titanic was rarely discussed in the household. He would often lament, however, over his birthplace of Guernsey which he is said to have missed terribly.

Joseph died in Stamford Hospital on 1 June 1950. He was buried in the Veterans' Plot in Spring Grove Cemetery, Darien, Connecticut. His widow Marion died in 1979.

Less than two years after Joseph's death, on 26 April 1952, his son Joseph was serving in the US Navy during the Korean War and was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp when that vessel collided with and sank another US Navy ship, the minesweeper Hobson, whilst conducting night flying operations en route to Gibraltar.  Whilst there were many casualties aboard Hobson, Wasp was badly damaged but saw no fatalities. Joseph Jr would also, in later years, visit his father's birthplace in Guernsey where several family members still resided, including his youngest brother Gerald.

Years after his death Eva Hart visited the Duquemin family in Guernsey where she told of Joseph's gallantry and thanked his family.

Notes

  1. Census records differ on his precise place of birth. The 1891 census gives his birthplace as St Mary De Castro, Guernsey whilst the 1901 and 1911 censuses state St Sampson.
  2. Age disputed. When he was travelling on board Titanic he gave his age as 24 which supports the 1887 birthdate. The 1891, 1901 and 1911 census records give his age as 4, 14 and 24 respectively suggesting he may have been a year older. In later years his given year of birth fluctuated between 1889 and 1896, depending on source. It is generally accepted that Joseph was 24 (+/- 1) in 1912
  3. Some historians speculate that he did not swim to a boat, to date, as no independent verification of the story has boeen found.
  4. Obituary gives the name as Merrill
 

Pictures

Joseph Pierre Duquemin
JOSEPH PIERRE DUQUEMIN
 

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2018) 
COLLAPSIBLE LIFEBOAT D, THE LAST BOAT TO BE LOWERED.
Unidentified Newspaper (1950) 
Guernsey Evening Press (1912) 
Guernsey Evening Press (1912) 
Guernsey Evening Press 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. roger whittingham said:

    hello everyone im from jersey in the channel islands and im looking for info on my grandmothers relative who was called joseph duqemin he was 3rd class and survived the sinking escaping on collapsible D at around 2.10am (luckily for him!) i have a little info on him but not much i know he died around 1967 (i was born in 68 and have always had a curious facination with titanic)he was originally from guernsey channel islands if any one can help i would be most gratefull thanks

  2. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Hi Roger, Joseph Pierre Duquemin was born in Guernsey on November 24, 1892, the son of Joseph Duquemin and Louise Quentin, also natives of Guernsey. As you said, he was a third class passenger and survived, settling for awhile in New York and later in Stamford, Connecticut. He married Marian Flanagan, a Connecticut native who was born November 14, 1900. They had a daughter who died in 1985 and a son who is still living. Joseph was a stone mason for Yale and Towne Company in Stamford and served in the 42nd Infantry, USA, in World War I. He died of a pulmonary embolism on June 1, 1950 and was... Read full post

  3. Michael Findlay said:

    Roger and Phil, All of the Duquemin info is correct but the real interesting tidbit is that Duquemin's relocation to Stamford, Connecticut, from Albion, New York, was influenced by Frederick Hoyt, a fellow survivor who escaped in collapsible D. Although it has never been confirmed, Joseph Duquemin may very well have been the one to haul Mr. Hoyt into the boat from the icy water, and his actions were rewarded by the latter. The Hoyt family was prominent in Stamford, Connecticut. Of course, there also remains the possibility that the two men simply met in boat D, and became friendly... Read full post

  4. kenneth marsh said:

    HAS ANYBODY GOT ANY INFO ON JOSEPH DUQUEMIN, IF SO EMAIL ME AT REGARDS KEN.

  5. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Hi Ken, After spending some time in New York, Joseph Duquemin moved to Connecticut where he was a stone mason and also served in World War I. He married Marion Flanagan and had a son and a daughter. He was born in Port Grat, Guernsey on November 24, 1892 and died in Stamford, Connecticut on June 1, 1950 leaving his wife, a son and a daughter. His wife died in 1979, the daughter married but only outlived her mother by a few years. The son is still living. Regards, Phillip

  6. Arne Mjåland said:

    25 May 1991 there was an article in Guernsey Press about Joseph Duquemin jr, son of Joseph on the Titanic. He visited his uncle Gerald in Guernsey at that time. There is a picture of those two together in the paper. The granddoughter Deborah was also with them. According to the article Gerald had still pieces of the lifeboat jacket from Joseph senior worn on the Titanic. At that time Joseph jr. ran a icecream frenchise in Westport, best known as home of film stars then

  7. Arne Mjåland said:

    Mr Duquemin jr. pronounced his name Doo-quem-inn. He was in the US navy and was onboard the carrier Wasp when it collided with another ship with a loss of 240 lives. I had a letter from a Guernsey woman relative in May 2000. She told me that Joseph jr. still was alive then, but according to her, it was useless to write to him, as he never answered letters. The obituary about Joseph senior was in a Stamford newspaper the same day he died. 6.1.50. "Joseph on Thursday. Beloved husband of Marion Flanagan. Funeral service was at Leo P. Gallagher Funeral home, 20 Suburban Ave on Saturday... Read full post

  8. ian Hough said:

    Hi folks - Happy new year to all

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  9. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Houghie, That information is quite wrong. He died in Connecticut as stated and is buried with his wife Marion Flanagan Duquemin in Spring Grove Cemetery and still has family there. Phil

  10. ian Hough said:

    Phil You are a gent for clearing up yet another part of my totally confused and insane mind. All the best Houghie

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  11. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Houghie, Please read below to expand on the above - its quite a tragic story. DUQUEMIN, MR. JOSEPH. Saved in Lifeboat D. Porgros, St. Sampsons, Guernsey, Channel Islands. UK. (Died January 1950) (From A Stamford Connecticut, News cutting dated Thursday 6th January 1950). Joseph Duquemin of 47 Tormuck La., a veteran of World Ward I, died this morning at Stamford Hospital after a lingering illness. Born in England on November 24th 1892 Mr. Duquemin was a resident of Stamford, for 24 years. he was formerly employed at the Yale and Towne Mfg. Co.. He served in the supply company of... Read full post

  12. ian Hough said:

    Brian Many thanx Houghie

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Arne Mjåland, Norway
Hermann Söldner, Germany

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Jersey Topic, April 1967 "They sailed on the Titanic"
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
Orleans American, 2 May 1912: Survivors of Titanic
Guernsey Evening Press, 19 April 1990: Local folk on the first and last voyage of the Titanic
Unidentified newspaper (Guernsey), 25 May 1991: Survivors at Sea - Like father, like son
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Joseph Pierre Duquemin Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #789, updated 17th February 2020 10:19:51 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/joseph-pierre-duquemin.html