Mr Percy Ball

Percy Ball

Mr Percy Ball (Plate steward) was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 23 February 1894.1

He was the son of Henry Ball (b. 1856) and Adelaide Brewer (b. 1859), both Southampton-natives who had married in 1878.

Percy was one of six children born to his parents, five of whom lived past infancy and his surviving siblings were: Rose (b. 1878), Alice Louisa (b. 1880), Frank (b. 1887) and Doris Dorothy (b. 1896).

Percy's father was a ship's fireman and does not appear alongside him in any census records. Percy first appears on the 1901 census when he, his mother and siblings are resident at Imperial Terrace, Portswood, Southampton. By the time of the 1911 census Percy and his family are living at 7 Windsor Terrace, All Saints, Southampton and he is described as a newsagent's assistant aged 16.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Percy gave his address as 7 Windsor Terrace, Southampton. The Titanic was his first ship and as a plates steward he received wages of £3, 15s per month.

Ball was rescued (possibly in lifeboat 13) but was not required to give evidence at either the British or American Inquiries into the disaster. He returned to Southampton and continued his career at sea and would serve in the merchant service throughout WWI.

He was married in Southampton on 9 March 1916 to Violet Mary Boast (b. 1895 in Southampton) and they had four children: Robert F. (1917-1925), Percival Henry (1920-1984), Muriel V. (b. 1925, later Mrs Alfred Manning) and Cyril (1926-1961).

Percy worked for several years aboard Homeric as a steward, the last known record of him serving aboard that ship being in September 1931 when he entered New York. Afflicted with tuberculosis, Percy died on 20 August 1933 aged 39, his condition being attributed by his family to his time at sea. At the time of his death, he was living at 73 Brintons Road, Southampton and his effects worth £119, 5s, 11d were left to his wife.  He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (section C9, Plot 223) in an unmarked grave.

His daughter Muriel, who now continues to live in the English Midlands, remembers Percy as a man strict about table manners. She recalls how the family's fairly comfortable circumstances were straightened following his death, necessitating their move to a smaller, more affordable house. Percy's widow Violet reportedly became invalid following the death of her husband and she herself died on Christmas Day 1941.


  1. Date of birth often given as 23 February 1893, a date he would give himself in his circa 1919 crew sheet. His birth was registered in the second quarter of 1894 in Southampton and early census records also confirm that he was born in 1894.


Percy Ball

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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

1881,1911 Census
Coventry Standard (2012) Percy Ball who survived the Titanic
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Percy Ball (ref: #1729, last updated: 4th August 2018, accessed 14th September 2020 20:50:00 PM)