Encyclopedia Titanica

William Nutbean

William Nutbean
William Nutbean

Mr William Nutbean 1 was born in Sherborne, Dorset, England 2 on 16 September 1881.

He was the eldest child of William Lionel Nutbean (1864-1933) and Georgina James (1858-1933), both natives of Southampton who, at the time of his birth were unmarried. They were later married in early 1884 and went on to have a further four children. William's siblings were: Esmeralda (b. 1884), Lionel (b. 1886), Arthur (b. 1894) and Amy Ethel (b. 1897). At the time of William's birth his father was a gunner and dock labourer in the militia, later working as a general labourer and porter.

William first appears on the 1891 census living at 6 Castle Square, All Saints, Southampton. The family later moved to the Horseman's Buildings near High Street in Southampton, appearing there on the 1901 census. William was absent at this point, perhaps already at sea. When he appeared on the 1911 census he was again listed with his family at Horseman's Buildings and described as a married dock labourer. His wife, who was not listed at the address, was the former Emily Heard (b. 1883). They were married in 1908 3 and had no children.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, William gave his address as the Sportsman's Arms, High Street, (Southampton). He transferred to the Titanic from the Parana and received monthly wages of £6.

On 10 April 1912 he had been drinking with his watch-mate John Podesta as well as the Slade brothers Alfred, Bertram and Thomas Slade and trimmer Penney. Nutbean and Podesta just made it to the Titanic as she prepared to sail but the Slades and Penney were left behind when a passing train blocked their path.

On 14 April Podesta and William Nutbean went off duty at 8 pm and later had supper in the mess. As they left the mess they heard the ship's lookouts cry "Ice ahead, sir!" Podesta and Nutbean went out on deck to look around, but saw nothing and returned back inside to their bunkroom where they talked together for a little while before turning in. Podesta later said that the lookouts repeated their ice warnings to the bridge several times, but to no avail.

After the collision occurred Podesta and Nutbean tried unsuccessfully to get other crewmen out of bed, but soon Boatswain Nicholls came in and ordered everyone to their boat stations. Podesta and Nutbean went on deck and helped to lower lifeboat 7. Later Murdoch told the two men to lower themselves down the falls into a lifeboat which just then being lowered (Collapsible D?), after which he ordered the boat to remain close by in case it had to return to the ship. Their boat was 500 yards from the ship when she went down. The boat was later picked up by the Carpathia, and Podesta and Nutbean did their best to help revive some of their half-frozen mates. The surviving crewmen later returned to England on the Lapland.

Nutbean continued to work at sea after the Titanic. Ships he served on included the E J Reddy, Almanzora, Briton, Bayeskimo, Majestic, Brandenberg, Orca, Nictheroy, Metagma, Alcantara, Arlanza, Empress of Canada, Saxon, Andes, Berengaria and Braemar Castle.

He continued to live in Southampton for the rest of his life and was widowed in 1940. William himself died on 7 May 1947 aged 65. He is buried in Hollybrook Cemetery Southampton (section A 11, plot 224, Nutbeam on grave).


  1. Birth registered as William James in third quarter of 1881 in Sherborne. Surname sometimes spelled as Nutbeam.
  2. He would later claim his birthplace as Southampton.
  3. Their marriage was registered at the same time as that of another Titanic crewman, William Robert Pusey.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr William Nutbean
Age: 30 years 6 months and 29 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Emily Heard
Last Residence: at Sportsman's Arms, High Street Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Parana
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Rescued (boat D)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Buried: Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, England

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(1920) Titanic survivor William Nutbean

Documents and Certificates

1891, 1901, 1911 Census (England)
Agreement and Account of Crew, National Archives, London; BT100/259
General Register Office: Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Central Register of Merchant Seamen (including CR10 Identity Cards), Southampton City Archives / National Archives, (BT348, BT349, BT350)


Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People (CDROM)
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Comment and discuss

  1. nilla 5

    nilla 5 said:

    The titanic was a beautiful ship and it is a dissapointment that it sunk. I am sorry if any of you lost a loved one and I am grieving with you. I can't belive it sunk and so easily to. since it was supposed to be unsinkable. If any of you have any info on William Nutbean. He was a fireman. Please send it to me it would be very helpful. Thank you.

  2. mark jeremy nutbean.

    mark jeremy nutbean. said:

    was he on board with any other people of the same surname? we think william may have been related to us, as our family is also from the south hampton area.

  3. Angela Mew

    Angela Mew said:

    Can any one help me any info on William Nutbean. he was my Grandfather's cousin. Where can i find the crew lists for Parana from which he transferred to join Titanic? Where did he go after Titanic? I know he survived as i have his death certificate dated 1947 Southampton. I do know that the grave location on other websites is wrong and they show the grave of his Parents William and Georgina.

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