Mr William Chapman Peters was born in Poplar, London, England on 10 January 1886.
He was the youngest son of Joel Peters (b. 1823), a plasterer, and Eliza Lydia Robinson (b. 1853), natives of Cornwall and Yorkshire (1) respectively. The couple already had a brood of four children before their marriage, which took place in Hackney on 4 October 1885.
William's siblings were: Lydia Edith (b. 1878), Eva Annie (b. 1879), Joel Edgar (1881-1954) and John Robert (1882-1952).
First appearing on the 1891 census, William and his family were residents of 173 Quinn's (?) Square, Bethnal Green, Middlesex. His father died on 16 June 1898 and was buried in Plaistow, with the remaining family appearing on the 1901 census living at 42 Essex Street, Mile End, William being described as a bricklayer's labourer, possibly in the employ of his brother Joel, also a bricklayer. He would lose his mother in 1909.
When Peters went to sea is not clear but when he appeared on the 1911 he was described as an unmarried Royal Navy able seaman aboard the Jupiter, then docked at Portland, Dorset.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Peters gave his local address as 114 Ludlow Road, Southampton. He had transferred from the Royal Naval vessel H.M.S. Hercules and as an able bodied seaman he received monthly wages of £5.
He survived the sinking, escaping in lifeboat 9.
William returned to England and continued working at sea. In late 1913 he married Mary Ann Niblock (b. 1894 in Liverpool) in Southampton. The couple settled in Southampton and had three children: Florence Jean (b. 1915), Norah (b. 1917) and Robert J. (b. 1919).
Peters went on to serve on the Lusitania and was (according to his family) on board when she was torpedoed on 7 May 1915 (although he appears on no official lists and his presence on that ship's final journey is unlikely). He later went on to serve on the Duchess of Richmond, the Media and finally the Queen Elizabeth where he was the Master-at-Arms.
William Chapman Peters died in Liverpool in 1950 aged 64.
Neil B. McClemens, UK (Grandson of William Chapman Peters)
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA
- The 1901 census states his mother was from Lincolnshire. Her birth was registered in Doncaster, Yorkshire in 1853.