William Charles Lindsay

William Charles Lindsay

Mr William Charles Lindsay (Fireman) was born in Bedminster, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England on 9 November 1881.

He was the son of John Lindsay (1853-1901), a seaman, and Mary Tanner (1858-1935). His father was born in Antigua to English parents and his mother was a native of Bristol; they had married in Bristol in 1878. The family first settled in Bristol then moved to Dorset around 1888 before settling in Southampton sometime before the turn of the century where they ran a boarding house at 30 Chantry Road.

William, better known as Charles, was one of eleven children, six of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: John Robert (b. 1877), May Gertrude (b. 1886), Alice Amelia (b. 1888), Elizabeth Ann (b. 1891) and Mabel Gladys (b. 1898).

In the months prior to Charles' birth his family were living at 10 St John's Road, Bedminster. He first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were residing in Kinson, Dorset at Granville Road and his father was by now described as a Line Foreman for the Western Counties Telephone Company. Charles was listed as a Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers Mounted and Imperial Yeomanry at the time of the 1901 census and he was stationed at Aldershot, Hampshire. His father had died just months prior to this census and his widowed mother and siblings were by now living at 30 Chantry Road which they would eventually turn into a boarding house.

Lindsay had signed up for service in the Royal Engineers in Southampton on 29 August 1900, his previous calling given as wireman, perhaps in the assistance of his father. At the time he stood at 5' 4½", weighed 136 lbs and had black hair, grey-green eyes and had a fresh complexion. Sporting at least one tattoo, he came from a Church of England background and went on to serve as a driver and Lance Corporal and saw combat in South Africa during the Boer War until 1902 after which he joined the Merchant Service, seemingly around 1902/1903.

Charles was married in Southampton on 20 September 1910 to Harriett Maria Gates (b. 1882 in Southampton). The couple appear on the 1911 census living at 3 Coleman Street, St Mary, Southampton and Charles was described as a ship's fireman.

Lidsay Family

Family Group c.1912: Charles, his wife Harriett, and his parents

He joined the Union Castle Line on 24 September 1910 and served on the Edinburgh Castle as a fireman on "Cape Mail" voyages to South Africa.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April, 1912 Charles gave his local address as 3 Coleman Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Briton and he had also served aboard Olympic. As a fireman he received monthly wages of £6. He was apparently acquainted with the Clench brothers (Frederick and George) and Charles Newman who were also serving aboard the Titanic.

Charles recounted shortly after the disaster that he was standing at the first funnel of the Titanic when the ship plunged and he was washed off, finding refuge atop upturned collapsible B. Surviving fireman Walter Hurst related in a televised 1956 interview that his mate Charles Lindsay offered him a hipflask. Believing it to be whisky or brandy, Walter took a mouthful but nearly choked when it turned out to be peppermint essence.

Following the disaster, Charles was reportedly deeply upset by his experiences and he returned to England aboard the Lapland. He was later discharged from the Royal Engineers on 28 August 1912.

Charles' wife had been pregnant at the time and gave birth to a daughter, Mabel Gladys on 20 October 1912. Another child, a son named William Alfred was born in 1914.

During the first world war he joined the Royal Navy as a Greaser, serving in several ships between 1915 and 1917 including HMS Morea.  He supposdly survived a second shipwreck when the ship he was serving on was torpedoed.1  He suffered loss of hearing as a result.

Charles and his wife lost their son William in 1926 and he became a widower in 1944. In 1958 Charles was one of a handful of survivors to attend a special screening of A Night to Remember at the Odeon, Leicester, Square, London.

William Charles Lindsay

William, aged 62, with his Dog 'Molly, in 1943.

Charles Lindsay spent the last years of his life living at 159 Manor Farm Road, Bitterne Park, Southampton. He passed away on 19 November 1960 aged 79.

His daughter Mabel was married in 1937 to Frederick Chivers and they had one daughter, Sylvia, in 1943. Mabel died in Southampton on 4 January 1990.


  1. The family story is that this was the HMS Morea however that ship was never torpedoed, although it survived a near miss while on convoy duty in the channel.

References and Sources

Photographs courtesy of Colin and Sylvia White.
RMS Morea (www.shipnostalgia.com)

Research Articles

Titanica! (2017) Shipwrecked again!
Titanic passengers and crew that experienced shipwrecks either before or after the Titanic disaster.

Newspaper Articles

Unidentified Newspaper (22 April 1912) William Lindsay
Southern Evening Echo (3 July 1958) Titanic men for premiere of new film


William Charles Lindsay
William Lindsay's Discharge A book.
Discharge A book
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Arne Mjåland said:

    Have any of you met any descendants of him? According to the obituary from Southern Evening Echo November 21 1960 he had two children and one grandchild: LINDSAY-Charles William (Bill) of 159 Manor Farm road, loving Dad of Mabel and Fred and dear Grand-dad of Sylvia, passed away suddenly on November 19, aged 79.

  2. George Behe said:

    Hi, Arne! I've corresponded with a descendant of Mr. Lindsay. (Please contact me privately if you'd like to know more.) All my best, George

  3. Beryl Bauld said:

    William Charles Lindasy is the brother of May Gertrude Lindsay, paternal grandmother of my sister-in-law Sue Harris, born Hants, lives in Perth Western Australia. William is the second son of John Lindsay b c 1853 Antigua, and Mary Tanner of Bristol, who married 1876 Bristol Registry Office. In 1891 the family are at Kinson, Dorset. John died 1901, Mary at 30 Chantry Rd, Southampton

  4. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Dear Beryl, Here is some background information on Mr. Lindsay: LINDSAY, WILLIAM CHARLES. Saved in Lifeboat number 3. Lived at 3 Coleman Street, St Marys, Southampton. Occupation - Fireman. 30 years old. (Born in Bristol). Ship before the R

  5. Beryl Bauld said:

    Many thanks, I have passed this message on to my sister-in-law in Giddgegannup, Western Australia. I also found John Lindsay his elder brother on the Ellis Island site, went to US in 1903 - a linesman like his father. Now busy checking the "History of Antigua" for father's family. Beryl in hot and humid Sydney, ready for the Rugby!

  6. lois lindsay said:

    does any one have any info of a william thomas lindsay or william lindsay on board the titanic as he was a steward and carnt find his name any where

  7. Chris Dohany said:

    William Charles Lindsay (also known as Charles William Lindsay) was a fireman aboard Titanic; his name and bio appears under the Engine Department of the crew lists on this site.

  8. Robert Lindsay said:

    Charles' brother John Robert Lindsay is my Grandfather. Did you find anything on Charles' father's birth in Antigua? Specifically looking for their grandparents ( possibly John Lindsay and Elizabeth)

  9. Mark Baber said:

    Hello, Robert--- Please note that the message you're responding to is from 2003 and its author is no longer a registered member of this message board, so it shouldn't be a surprise if Beryl doesn't answer.

  10. Robert Lindsay said:

    Thank you for your reply

Reply Watch Thread


Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden Colin and Sylvia White

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) William Charles Lindsay (ref: #1559, last updated: 2nd August 2017, accessed 30th July 2021 00:06:06 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/william-charles-lindsay.html

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