© Bob Knuckle, Canada
Mr Alfred Arnold Deeble (1st class saloon steward) was born on 4 December 1877 in Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England and was baptised on 17 February 1878 in St Mary's Church, Islington.
He was the son of Alfred Deeble (1851-?) and Florence Fanny Williams (1857-1891), natives of Islington and Clerkenwell, respectively, who had married in 1876.
Alfred had six known siblings: Lily Florence (b. 1876), Charles William (b. 1881), Albert Edward (b. 1882), Ernest Frederick (b. 1885) and Ada Gertrude (b. 1888).
Alfred first appears on the 1881 census living at the Prince of Wales public house on Margravine Road, Fulham, London where his father was the manager, and the family were still at this address by the time of the 1891 census. His mother Florence passed away later in 1891. His father may have remarried but his further whereabouts are unknown.
Alfred initially pursued a career as a steward before this would take him to sea. He joined the Royal Navy on 10 July 1900, shaving two years from his true age and firstly serving aboard HMS Brilliant. He would only make two more voyages, his last trip being aboard Duke of Wellington before he went ashore at his own request on 9 April 1901. With an exemplary record of conduct, physically he stood at 5' 5" and had dark brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion.
On the 1911 census Alfred is listed as a visitor at 24 Clarence Gardens, Lower Clapton, London, the home of a Mr and Mrs William Baker. At this time he was described as a ship's steward and unmarried. He was reportedly a Freemason and member of Neptune Lodge 1264.
When Alfred signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912 he gave his local address as 81 Atherley Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic and as a first class saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Deeble died in the sinking and his body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3 May 1912.
NO. 270. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 23. - HAIR, BROWN.
CLOTHING - Black pants; white coat with buttons; green rain coat; no shirt.
EFFECTS - Gold watch; gold ring marked "A. D."; one bunch keys; shirt marked "Deoble."
Alfred's estate worth £175, 11s 2d was left to his brother Charles (1881-1950).
Geoff Whitfield, UK
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)