Mr Alfred John Carver was born in Burpham, Sussex, England in the latter months of 1884 and baptised on 2 November that year.
He was the son of John Carver (b. 1855 in Coates, Sussex), an agricultural labourer, and Eliza Ann Vidler, née Smith, formerly Grist (b. 1847 in Hambledon, Hampshire) who had married in early 1884. Alfred is believed to have been their only (surviving) child.
His mother was first married in Hampshire in 1868 to Charles Grist (b. 1825), an agricultural labourer and also a native of Hambledon. The couple had three children, Charles (b. 1868), Frances (b. 1870), and William Henry (b. 1872). Charles Grist died in 1874 and Eliza was remarried to a Mr Vidler (whose identity is unclear) and she had another son, Albert, in 1877. By the time of the 1881 census she was again a widow.
Alfred appears with his family on the 1891 census living at an unspecified address in East Preston, Sussex. His father passed away the following year aged only 36 and it seems he and his mother moved to Hampshire and settled in Southsea. Alfred would be listed there on the 1901 census as the only present member of the household, 48 Napier Road, and he described himself as a billiard maker and gave his age as 19. His mother is recorded elsewhere as a visitor at 11 Northam Road, Southampton, the home of her son Albert Vidler and his family. Mother and son eventually relocated to Southampton themselves; although Alfred would be absent from the 1911 census (perhaps already at sea), his mother was listed as living at 156 Dukes Road, Portswood.
Alfred had apparently been working at sea for several years when he boarded the Titanic as a third class passenger. In April 1912 the British coal strike had caused scheduling problems and Philadelphia's westbound voyage was cancelled, with Carver and several other shipmates: Andrew Shannon [Lionel Leonard], August Johnson, William Cahoone Jr. Johnson, Thomas Storey and William Henry Törnquist forced to travel aboard Titanic as passengers. Carver and his shipmates boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 370160).
Alfred Carver lost his life in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His estate, valued at £56, 12s, was administered to his mother; she also received a weekly allowance from the Titanic Relief Fund of 5s, 6d.
Gavin Bell, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany
References and SourcesContract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)