Encyclopedia Titanica

Wilfred Cyril Foley

Wilfred Cyril Foley
Wilfred Cyril Foley

Mr Wilfred Cyril Foley was born at 10 Fisher Street in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales on 9 May 1890.

He was the son of Michael Foley (b. 1862), a blacksmith, and Sarah Tanner, née Daley (b. 1859), both Swansea-natives who had married in 1889. 
His mother Sarah had at least three children, Ellen (b. 1880), Charlotte Harriet (b. 1882) and William John (b. 1886) from a previous marriage in 1879 to William Tanner (d. circa 1888) and he had one full sibling, Winifred Gladys (b. 1892).

When Wilfred first appears on the 1891 census he and his family were living at 10 Fisher Street, Swansea, the place of his birth. He was listed at the same address by the time of the 1901 census but his parents were absent, he perhaps being cared for solely by his elder step-sisters whilst his parents were away elsewhere working. He left Swansea around 1907 and settled in Southampton with his family.

By the time of the 1911 census Wilfred and his family were living at 15 Andersons Road, Chapel, Southampton. His father was then described as a dredging master and Wilfred as a seafarer in the merchant service.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Wilfred gave his address as 15 Monson's Road, Chapel. His last ship had been the Oceanic and as a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Foley was rescued, probably in lifeboat 13. Early reports suggested that he was amongst the lost, possibly confusing him with third class passenger William Foley, and his family became grief-stricken until it emerged that he had indeed survived.

He was not called to testify at either the American or British Inquiries into the sinking and it is not clear if he ever returned to sea in a working capacity again.

Wilfred resettled in Britain after the disaster and never married; he and his family moved to Woolwich, Kent, settling at 220 Albert Road. 

With the outbreak of war in 1914 Foley signed up for service in August 1915 with the 10th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment; he was described as standing at 5' 3" weighing 125 lbs and he had brown eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion; his profession was listed as that of a general labourer and he stated inaccurately that he was 27 years old. Private Foley never saw the battlefields and was discharged from service in Maidstone on 6 December 1915 as he was ".... not likely to become an efficient soldier on Medical grounds" and it was recorded that he was afflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Wilfred returned to his family at 43 Congreve Road in Eltham, London and worked in the Royal Arsenal.  His tuberculosis worsened and he died on 3 April 1916 aged 26. He was buried four days later in the grounds of St John the Baptist Church, Eltham.

What became of Wilfred's family remains uncertain although it would appear his mother survived him by only a few years, dying in 1919.


1. In the 1891 census (taken 5/6 April 1891) his age is given as 11 months.

References and Sources

1891,1901,1911 Census of England and Wales
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
South Wales Daily News, 17th April 1912  p.5, 18th April 1912 p.5
Western Mail, 18th April 1912 p.5
British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920
GRO Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Search archive online


Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Sian Prescott, Wales

Comment and discuss

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Wilfred Cyril Foley
Age: 21 years 11 months and 6 days (Male)
Nationality: Welsh
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 15 Monson's Road, Chapel Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: 3rd Class Steward
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Rescued (boat 13)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Monday 3rd April 1916 aged 25 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: St John the Baptist Church, Eltham, London, England on Friday 7th April 1916

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch