(Public Record Office: BT350/CR10 Reproduced with Permission)
Mr Walter John Perkis was born on 11 August 1874 in Ryde, Isle of White, the son of James Perkis and Emily Ricketts. He was baptised on 17 January 1875 at All Saints Church, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 9 April 1912, he gave his address as Victoria Rd, Bitterne, (Southampton). He had been transferred from the Olympic. As a quartermaster he received monthly wages of £5.
Perkis had served 16 years at sea as A. B. seaman, lookout and quartermaster. Perkis was married and on this trip he and his brother-in-law Alfred Olliver would both serve as quartermasters.
When the collision took place, Perkis was below in his bunk and felt nothing. A 'joiner' (carpenter) came in and said they had better turn out; he told them they had 'struck something'. Perkis' duty resumed at midnight and he relieved Hichens at the wheel until he was released to assist with the boats. At his assigned station he helped lower lifeboat 4. He had just finished helping with a few other boats when he heard a seaman in boat 4 yell, "We need another hand down here." With that, Perkis slid down the falls, about 70 feet, into the boat and took charge. He estimated there were 42 passengers in the lifeboat plus 3 crew members. After the sinking, they picked up 8 swimmers from the water, 2 of which died later - a steward (Siebert) and a fireman (Lyons). "After we had picked up the men I could not hear any more cries anywhere. Everything was over," he would later testify. Then, just before daylight, they saw the oncoming lights of the Carpathia. He remembered that the discipline on board the Titanic was excellent. "Every man knew his station and took it."
Walter Perkis re-joined his old ship, the Olympic, on 5 June 1912.
Walter John Perkis died in Southampton General Hospital on 4 August 1954 at the age of 79 and buried 5 days later. His grave, at Bitterne Parish Church, Southampton, where he lies beside his wife and their only son, remained unmarked until July 2001.