Master Neville Leslie Coutts was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England on 16 October 1902.
He was the son of William Coutts (b. 1876), a gold and silver engraver and former soldier who hailed from Haddingtonshire, Scotland, and the former Minnie Trainor (b. 1876), who hailed Ireland. His parents had married in 1902 and he had an elder brother, William Loch (b. 1902).
The 1911 census shows Neville and his family living at 5 Knox Buildings, Caledonian Road, Islington, London.
In early 1912 his father emigrated and after a while sent enough money to book second class passage on a ship to join him at their new home, 143 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. His mother instead purchased third class tickets, hoping to save some money towards setting up their new home in America. They boarded Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 (ticket number C.A. 37671 which cost £15, 18s).
At the time of the collision the Coutts family were asleep in their cabin. The crash was slight but was enough to stir his mother who got up and dressed and went to investigate where she overheard murmurs of trouble. She returned to the cabin and dressed her two sons, tying lifebelts on them both. She looked around the cabin for a life vest for herself but could not find one and wasting no more time left the cabin with her boys in tow.
The family made their way to the communal areas of steerage but could not find any way of getting anywhere close to the lifeboats. When they had begun to give up hope a seaman came along and said "Hurry now, all women and children to the lifeboats..." and he led her to the boat deck. Arriving there Mrs Coutts explained to the crewman that she had no lifebelt for herself; an unidentified American man overheard this conversation and stepped forward, raised his hat and removed his own lifebelt, giving it to her, saying "Take my life preserver, madam." He then patted the heads of her two young sons and asked "If I go down, please pray for me." In another account Mrs Coutts related that it was a crewman or officer who offered up a lifebelt after he brought her to his own cabin.
Neville, his mother and brother escaped in lifeboat 2 and he was reunited with his father in Brooklyn.
By 1930 Neville was still living with his parents, now at 2615 Ocean Avenue, Dormont, Allegheny, Pennsylvania and he was a steelworker. He was married on 18 July 1941 to Edna Mary Jordan (b. 4 June 1910), also from Pennsylvania, but the couple had no children.
Neville later worked as a stocks and bonds salesman in New York City whilst maintaining a home in Maplewood, New Jersey, and he cared for his aged mother in her final years.
In 1958 Coutts was one of the dozen or so survivors who attended the premiere of the movie A Night to Remember in Manhattan
Neville and his wife later retired to Florida and he died in Islamorada, Plantation Key on 29 March 1977 aged 78 and was later cremated. His widow Edna died in 1996.
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