Mr William Harder

Titanic window cleaner William Harder

William Harder, known as Bill, was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 2 June 1872.

He was the son of James Harder (1831-1889), general labourer and former railway porter, and his wife Eliza Jane, née Bradford (1833-1898). His father was native to Ringwood, Hampshire and his mother to St Helier, Jersey in the Channel Islands and they were married in Hampshire in 1854, producing a further seven children (that are known of) besides William: James (b. 1856), Sarah Jane (b. 1858), Mary Ann (b. 1860), Alice (b. 1863), Eliza (b. 1881), Harry (b. 1868) and George (b. 1876).

William first appears on the 1881 census and by that time he and his family were living at 4 John Street in St Mary, Southampton. His father passed away in 1889 and the 1891 census shows William, now described as a bricklayer's apprentice, still living with his widowed mother, now at 2 Isaacs Court, Southampton. His mother would not last the decade and died in 1898. William would be absent from the 1901 census but it is likely that he was by then living with an older sibling, possibly his married sister Elizabeth White, who then lived with her family at 18 Lower York Street, Southampton.

William was married in Southampton in 1905 to Mary Elizabeth Green (b. 1878 in Southampton) and the couple went on to have a total of nine children: William George (1906-1989), Alfred James (1906-1976), Ernest Charles (1909-1911), Lilian Emily Maud (1910-1981), Mabel Alice (1911-1983), Daisy Florence (1912-1989), Edith K. M. (1914-1915), Gladys Rose (1916-2005) and Walter J. (1920-1920).

William, his wife and first four children were recorded on the 1911 census living at 46 Winton Street, Kingsland, Southampton and he is described as a labourer for a corporation (electrical).

When William signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 46 Winton Street, (Southampton). The Titanic was his first ship and working as a window cleaner he could expect to earn monthly wages of £4.

William survived the sinking, escaping in lifeboat 14.

Returning to England, William reportedly never returned to sea, opting instead for land-based work, later working for the corporation electric department. Apparently reluctant to discuss his experiences on the Titanic, William, and his wife later lived as 6 Brinton's Road, Southampton and he died in the Borough Hospital on 6 December 1947.  He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (section A14, Plot 178) as Bill Harder.  His wife died four years later in 1951.

 

Comment and discuss

  1. vanessa beecham said:

    Hi there i am new to this site so thought I had better introduce myself.I am Vanessa and I had a great uncle who drowned in the diaster. He was Edward Charles Biggs a fireman aged 21. However I have recently discovered ( I am a family historian)that I also had a great great uncle who survived the diaster,yiphee, he got off in lifeboat 14 and he was a window cleaner called William Harder. Basically I know next to nothing about him, I know he was not called to testify at either enquiry,so if anyone knows anything atall I would be delighted to know. Thanks Vanessa nee Biggs Southampton.

  2. Trent Pheifer said:

    Hi Vanessa, Welcome aboard I don't know if this is any help. Again welcome aboard, This is an awesome site. -Trent

  3. vanessa beecham said:

    Hi Trent thanks for responding, yes I had checked out William's details on this site and to have a photo is great, I guess I shall have to carry on digging here in Southampton.I am fortunate in that the library here has a huge amount of stuff kept in the archives, it's just a question of finding time to visit. Vanessa.

  4. Ashley Jean King said:

    Hi my name is Ashley here is a tiny bit of information He was 39 years of age and lived in Winston street Southampton.

  5. Andrew Williams said:

    Hi Vanessa, First, welcome aboard on this famous Message Board Vanessa! I actually live in West Wellow ten miles away from Southampton. I was just wondering if you might have known that another Crew under the name of Phillimore also survived. Phillimore was rescued by Lifeboat Number 14. Dare I ask those question's? Did you at any stage Vanessa get a chance to interview Edward Charles Biggs? Also, do you know if there's any relations who are still alife today and could give an in-depth discussion on what they inherited? My reasons for asking is that I aim my research directly... Read full post

  6. Andrew Williams said:

    What I meant to say, did you have any success in finding the relations to William Harder family? Andrew W.

  7. vanessa beecham said:

    Sorry it's taken me so long to reply but I have been very busy and yes I am happy to report that I have found and am in contact with William's grand-daughter.In fact his youngest daughter is still alive but sadly does not know very much as he never talked about his experience, I wonder why!!!!! other than to say it was his first time at sea and his last! He was after all a window cleaner.Anyway I am shortly to meet with my newly found relative so am very excited. Vanessa.

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Credits

Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Chris Dohany, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) William Harder (ref: #1336, last updated: 4th August 2018, accessed 27th May 2020 21:18:53 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/william-harder.html