Mr Alfred Ernest Pearce was born in Cranfield, Carlingford, Co Down1, Ireland around 1888.2
He was the son of English parents Benjamin Thomas Pearce (1856-1924), a coastguard, and Sarah Ann Symes (1855-1938), natives of Devon and Dorset respectively who had married in Weymouth on 9 June 1878 before going on to have eleven children, six surviving infancy.
Alfred's known siblings were: Susan Caroline (b. 1879), Alice Maud (b. 1890), John H. (b. 1892), Beatrice May (b. 1897), Florence Mabel (b. 1898), Albert Edward (1899-1900) and Gertrude Ada (b. 1902).
Alfred's life had been a nomadic one: His father had joined the Royal Navy in 1873, rising through the ranks before becoming a coastguard in 1886 when he was posted to Ireland, serving in Cranfield (1888-1890) and Annalong (1890), both in Co Down before moving southward and serving for a period in 1891 in Howth, Co Dublin. A return to Co Down for a two year spell between 1891 and 1893 saw him serving in Burr Point in Ballyhalbert. He and his family resettled in England in July 1893, initially in Worbarrow Bay in Dorset until early the following year after which they spent four years in Torcross, Devon until June 1898 before a spell in Sidmouth. They moved to Bournemouth in June 1906 and remained there, Benjamin being pensioned off in July 1911.
At the time of the 1901 census Alfred and his family were resident at the Coast Guard Station in Salcombe Regis, Devon where his father was Chief Officer. At the time of the 1911 census the family had relocated to the Coast Guard Station in West Cliff, Bournemouth. By now Alfred Pearce was described as an unmarried 23-year-old clerk who worked in a printing office. Exactly when he went to sea is not certain.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Pearce gave his local address as 27 Richmond Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Alfred Pearce died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His parents later resettled in Weymouth and lived out their lives; his father died in 1924 and his mother in 1938.
- On the ship's articles he specified his birthplace as Dublin. The 1911 census states that he was born in Cranfield.
- His exact birth date is not clear; naval records show that his father served in Cranfield from 11 May 1888 until 4 March 1890 which does not sit with him being 24 years old in April 1911. The 1901 and 1911 census records also record an age (13 in 1901 and 23 in 1911) that would suggest he had been born earlier than May 1888.