Mr William Watson Lucas was born in Poplar, London, England on 31 January 1881.1 At the time of his baptism, on 24 June that year in All Saints, Poplar, he was a resident of 56 Cotton Street.
He was the son of Clement Orestes Lucas (1840-1885), a mariner, and Martha Tanner (1848-1932), both natives of Hampshire who were married in Southampton on 22 January 1872. One of five children born to his parents, William's siblings were: Totty Jane Ann (1872-1962), Martha Mathilda (1875-1916), Thomas Kelson (1878-1951) and Orestes Clement (1884-1908).
William's father worked as a steward and pantryman in the Merchant Service. He was serving aboard the Eastern Extension Telegraph steamer Magneta, bound for Malta, as third steward when that ship foundered on her maiden voyage on 9 March 1885 during a storm in the Bay of Biscay with the loss of all aboard.
The remaining family apparently returned to Hampshire shortly after and appear on the 1891 census living at 27 Trinity Road, St Mary, Southampton, with William's mother Martha working as a domestic cook to support her family.
By the time of the 1901 census William was still living with his family, now at 3 Cardigan Terrace, Southampton, he being described as a hotel porter. Still present at that address in 1911 for the next census, William was by now described as a waiter in the Merchant Marine and was still living with his mother and siblings, including a nephew James Frank Lewis Lucas (b. 1894).2
Lucas initially signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed-on again, on 4 April 1912, he gave his age as 30 and his address as 3 Cardigan Terrace, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic and as a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Lucas survived the sinking, managing to climb into the waterlogged collapsible A.
William returned to Southampton and resumed his career at sea. At the time of his surviving identity card (circa 1919) he was again serving aboard the Olympic as a bedroom steward. He remained in Southampton for the rest of his life and, like most of his siblings, was never married. He passed away on 7 May 1944 aged 63. His last surviving sibling, Totty, died in Southampton in 1962 aged 89.
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- He gave his birth date as 31 January 1880 in his circa 1919 crew card. Birth and baptismal records confirm his year of birth as 1881.
- The parentage of James Frank Lewis Lucas is not certain although it is likely that he was the illegitimate son of one of William's sisters, either Totty or Martha who both remained unmarried in their lives.
References and SourcesAgreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906
1881 -1911 Census
CR10 Identity card #820369 c.1919 (National Archives)
General Register Office Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths