Percival Albert Blake

Mr Percival Albert Blake was born on 16 October 1889 in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

He was the son of Edwin Oscar Blake (1862-1942) and Clara Cartwright (1861-1942). His father and mother, who were natives of Winchester and Guildford, Surrey respectively, had married in 1885 and would have six children, three of whom died in infancy.

Blake's siblings were: Edwin Ernest (1885-1928), Herbert George (1887-1889), Millicent May (1891-1970, later Mrs James Calnan), Reginald William (1896-1904) and Dorothy Edith (1902-1902).

Percival first appears on the 1891 census living at 15 Gramville (?) Place in St Peter, Cheesehill, Hampshire, his father by then working in the building trade. The family had moved Southampton sometime around 1895 and appeared on the 1901 census as residents of 27 Dock Street in that city. Percival was not listed at the time of the 1911 census, perhaps at sea, but his parents and sister Millicent were shown residents of 18 Endle Street, Southampton. His brother Edwin was also a marine fireman. 

When Percival signed on to the Titanic in Southampton on 6 April 1912 he gave his address as 2 Floating Bridge Road, Southampton although his family were still resident at 18 Endle Street. He had transferred from the Olympic and as a trimmer, he could expect monthly wages of £5, 10s.

Percival survived the sinking of the Titanic, escaping in an aft lifeboat with Ernest Allen, but was not required to give evidence to either the American or British Inquiries into the disaster. He received expenses of £9, 7s for his detention at the latter inquiry. 

Known as "Nunk" to family and friends, Percival never married. He continued working at sea for a while but later took land-based jobs; by the time of the 1939 register, he was living at 120 Caldbeck Street in Sutton, Surrey and was described as an unmarried blacksmith's worker. 

Percival Blake's last address, as per his probate, was 50 Meadowbank Road, Fareham, Hampshire. He died aged 78 on 15 September 1968 and was cremated at Portchester Crematorium, Portsmouth on 20 September; his ashes were scattered in section North Border, post 3/4. His probate, dated 28 October 1968 lists his effects at totalling £3736. He left behind his sister Millicent and several nieces and nephews. Millicent passed away just two years later in 1970. 

References and Sources

1939 Register
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. John Creamer said:

    Percival Albert Blake was a trimmer from the Titanic, and like so may other crew members, he resided in Southampton. On the night of 14/15th April 1912, Percival survived the Titanic disaster by escaping in lifeboat 15. It is believed, he continued to work for the White Star Line following the catastrophe, and he remained a resident of Hampshire until his death in the late 1960's. Percival Blake bequeathed a number of documents relating to his career, including a Discharge Book and a rare photo of him standing with other surviving Titanic crew members. For reasons not entirely clear, does... Read full post

  2. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    John - Ref your enquiry about Percival Albert Blake - recently while looking at some old videos trying to trace something else I remembered seeing the Discharge Book you mention displayed in an exhibition case by the British Titanic Society (then Joint Secretary) Steve Rigby at their 1998 Convention at the Southampton Hilton Hotel - it shows Steve Rigby actually showing the book to the well known BBC Auctioneer Lars Tharp and they are discussing it. The video I have was taped from the Channel Five documentary call Titanic Tales - I hope you have a copy?. I hope this information is of some... Read full post

  3. John Creamer said:

    Hello Brian, yes, I do indeed have a copy of the Titanic Tales documentary (thanks), and had already noted the parts you mention. Do you know that pictures of the Percival Blake Discharge Book and crew photograph are also published in the Leo Marriot book, Titanic? In anticipation of your next question; Steve Rigby from the BTS, told me these items were returned to the Blake family, but unfortunately, they mysteriously disappeared in transit and were never received (!). Given the material and sentimental value of these items the Blake family are understandably very upset about it. If... Read full post

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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Brian Meister, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Percival Albert Blake (ref: #1413, last updated: 20th August 2019, accessed 23rd July 2021 20:11:58 PM)

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