Alfred Pirrie Middleton 1 was born in Ballysadare 2, Co Sligo, Ireland in 1885 and his birth was registered in the first quarter of that year. He was the son of Adam John Middleton (b. 1856) and Annie Jane McKim (b. 1857), both Sligo-natives who had married in 1877 and who belonged to the Plymouth Brethren Sect of Christianity.
Alfred was one of five children born to his parents, two of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: William Athol Bruce (b. 1882) and Wilbreham Adam Gerrald (b. 1889).
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.
He was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip to Southampton. When he signed on again, in Southampton, on 6 April 1912, Albert 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.
Middleton died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His parents continued to live in Sligo. His father Adam passed away in 1936.
Articles and Stories
Sligo Times (1912)
Denis Griffiths, UK
- His birth registration gives the spelling as Alfred Perrie Middleton.
- Also spelled Ballisodare; and in Irish Baile Easa Dara, meaning "settlement of the oak by the waterfall"