Encyclopedia Titanica

Alfred Pirrie Middleton

Alfred Pirrie Middeton

Mr Alfred Pirrie (or Perrie1) Middleton was born in Ballysadare2, Co Sligo, Ireland on 11 December 1884.

He was the son of Adam John Middleton (b. circa 1852), a clerk, and Annie Jane McKim (b. circa 1857), both Sligo-natives and Plymouth Brethrens who had married in Ballysadare Parish Church on 16 August 1877.

Alfred was one of five children born to his parents, two of whom died in infancy. Arriving first was Edith Mabel (b. 27 July 1878) who died in early childhood; she would be followed William Athol Bruce (b. 30 April 1882). Following Alfred's birth son Wilbreham (Wilbram) Adam Gerrald was welcomed on 4 September 1889. An unnamed stillborn daughter arrived on 31 October 1891. His brother William died from a lung abscess on 17 April 1906, just shy of his 24th birthday.

His father was a manager at a corn and flour mill in Ballysadare. The family appear on the 1901 census of Ireland living in Ballysadare, with Alfred still a student. He was educated at the Intermediate School, Sligo and was placed with a firm of electrical and mechanical engineers in Glasgow, Scotland for practical training. During this time he studied at Glasgow Technical Institute and later worked for Telford, Grier & Mackay Ltd of Glasgow and superintended electrical work for them in Ireland.

On the 1911 census Alfred is listed as a boarder at 37 Lomond Avenue, Victoria, East Belfast and he was described as an unmarried electrician. His parents were still listed as living in Ballysadare.

In July 1911 he was engaged by Harland & Wolff but joined the Aberdeen White Star Line`s ship Demosthenes in August 1911 for its maiden voyage to Brisbane. After that voyage he returned to Harland & Wolff and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Titanic alongside his good friend Albert George Ervine, also an electrician, whose parents were Brethren and likely how they knew each other. Indeed, both men reportedly petitioned the White Star line to be transferred to the Titanic for her maiden voyage.

Middleton was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip to Southampton and when he signed on again in Southampton on 6 April 1912 he gave his address as Ballysadare, Sligo and his previous ship as the Demosthenes. As electrician he could expect monthly wages of £8.

His friend Albert Ervine related in a letter to his mother that he and Alfred scaled the aft funnel of the Titanic and from his vantage point witness the near-collision with the New York as Titanic left Southampton.

Alfred Middleton died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His parents continued to live in Sligo but his mother died from pneumonia in Glasnevin, Dublin on 11 March 1931. His father Adam died in Sligo on 17 August 1936 after being knocked down by a motor car. His brother Wilbreham succeeded his father in the running of the mill; he had married Lillian Martin in 1925 and died in Sligo in 27 January 1960.


  1. His birth registration gives the spelling as Alfred Perrie Middleton.
  2. Also spelled Ballisodare; and in Irish Baile Easa Dara, meaning "settlement of the oak by the waterfall"

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Sligo Times (20 April 1912) Sligo Mourns

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Alfred Pirrie Middleton
Age: 27 years 4 months and 4 days (Male)
Nationality: Irish
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Assistant Electrician
Last Ship: Demosthenes
Embarked: Belfast
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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