William George White was born on Gigant Street in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England on 21 October 1888 and he was later baptised on 4 November that same year at St Martin's Church, Salisbury.
He was the son of Alfred Thomas White (b. 1855), a dock labourer, and Edith Ellen Weeks (b. 1868), both natives of Salisbury who had married around 1886.
One of ten children, William's known siblings were: Alfred Thomas (b. 1887), Agnes Jessie (b. 1890), Frederick Charles (b. 1891), Florence Ellen (b. 1893), Bertie (b. 1894), Samuel (b. 1896), Walter Frank (b. 1898) and Annie Matilda May (b. 1900).
William appears to have moved around as a young child, spending time in Devon and Cornwall before settling in Southampton around 1894. When he first appears on record on the 1891 census he and his family were resident at 5 Strand, South Brent, Ilfracombe, Devon. The 1901 census shows them living in Southampton at 6 William Street, Northam. By the time of the 1911 census they had moved several doors down to 12 William Street and William was described as an unmarried dock labourer.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, William gave his address as 9 Colbert Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a trimmer he could expect to earn monthly wages of £5, 10s.
William survived the sinking, escaping in lifeboat 15. He was not called to testify to either to British or American Inquiries into the disaster.
William George White in a 1920s ID card
(National Archives / Gavin Bell)
He later returned to sea and was still working as of the early 1920s. Details of his later life are sketchy and it is uncertain as to whether he ever married or had children. He later worked as a dock labourer in Southampton docks and spent his last days living at 12 William Street in that city. He died from complications of influenza on 1 February 1927 aged 38 and was buried in Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (Section B3, Plot 168).