Mr Percy Edward Keen was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 9 August 1881.
He was the son of James Keen (1841-1912), a house decorator, and Ellen Barnes (1845-1906); his father hailed from Wiltshire and his mother Southampton and they were married in 1875. He had two known siblings out of a total of three: Frederick Charles (b. 1878) and Gertrude Ellen (b. 1886).
On the 1881 census, taken only months before Percy's birth, his family were living at 4 Woodbine Terrace, Portswood Road, South Stoneham and they would still be present here on the 1891 census. The 1901 census would see Percy still with his family at 242 Portswood Road, by now working as a printer. His circa 1905 seaman's card described him as 5'5", with blue eyes, brown hair and a medium complexion.
Percy was married in 1908 to Adelaide Martha Jane White (b. 1886 in Southampton). Together they would have two daughters, Kathleen Frances Ellen (b. 1910, later Mrs Charles Goff) and Vera Winifred Lucy (1913-1989, later Mrs Edward Ings and again Petrie).
On the 1911 census Percy is absent and most likely at sea. His wife and first child are listed as living at 14 Rigby Road, Southampton.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Percy gave his address as 14 Rigby Road, (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Keen is believed to have been rescued in lifeboat 15; he was not required to give evidence at either of the American or British Inquiries into the sinking and he returned to England and resumed a career at sea. He would lose his father before the end of the year.
He continued a long career at sea and crew manifests in 1931 and 1934 show that he was serving as a lounge steward aboard Olympic, later as a printing steward, and he was still at sea as late as 1938. One shipboard acquaintance on numerous voyages was his friend and colleague Edenser Wheelton. His circa 1920s discharge card describe him as standing at 5' 5" with brown hair, blue eyes and a medium complexion.
Percy later lived with his wife and family at 59 Hillside Avenue, Bitterne and died in The General Hospital, Southampton on 2 November 1954 aged 73. His widow passed away on 30 May 1964.
Peter Engberg, Sweden
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Southern Daily Echo (2002)