Mr Charles Barnes

Charles Barnes had previously been working as fireman on the Oceanic when he signed-on  to the Titanic at 6 am on 10th April 1912.  He gave his birthplace as Bristol,  his age as 29 and his address as 45 York Road, Southampton.


Charles Barnes died in the sinking and his body was never recovered.

Very little else is known about Charles Barnes and the following information is very much open to question.  It follows-up the assertion that Charles Barnes was an alias of a man named Robert Barnhouse

The only evidence for this so far is a 1913 newspaper article but certain details do tally with available records including Census returns however further research will be needed to establish whether Robert Barnhouse and Charles Barnes were one and the same, or whether the 1913 testimony of George Barnhouse and Edith Curtis was in fact a ruse to obtain compensation.

Robert Barnhouse was born in Barnstable, Devon on 8 December 1870. The son of George Barnhouse and his wife Susan, the fifth of eight children1.  According to a 1913 article he became estranged from his family and moved to Bristol.

In 1891 he was living with his common law wife Daisy at 3 Elton Street Bristol and working as a Colt breaker.  According to the 1891 census they are living as man and wife but are unmarried.  No record of a marriage has been found.

By 1901 he was living in Southampton with William and Edith Curtis.  According to the 1913 article he had been badly burned whilst at the Curtis's bar and ended up settling in with them, and, if her 1913 testimony is to be believed, Edith became his principal carer during the troubled years that lay ahead.  

When the Curtis's moved to Southampton Robert went with them at some point along the way adopting the alias Charles Barnes.

He worked in the Curtis's bakery and later became a seaman.

He apears to have maintained contact with his brother Arthur who and at some point effected a reunion with his parents.

When Charles Barnes signed on he gave his address as 45 York Road, Southampton which was where, in 1911 at least, William and Edith Curtis lived.

After the sinking his father George Barnhouse claimed sizeable compensation from White Star on the pretext that he had become financially dependent upon the regular payments he alleged to have received from his son, however Edith Curtis disputed his claim, her own claim having been rejected by White Star.  The judge agreed a more modest settlement.


The others were: Mary (b.1864), George (b.1865), Martha (b.1867),
Elizabeth (b.1868), Ellen Louise (b.1873), John (b.1874), Sarah(b.1876), Arthur (b.1878), Alice Maude (b.1881)

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2017) 
Torquay Times (1913) 
Torquay Directory (1913) 

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Steve Coombes, UK
Mike Holgate, UK

References and Sources

Torqay Times (25th April 1913) Echo Of The Titanic Disaster : The Strange Story Of The Man With Two Names
1871 Census
1881 Census
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People CD ROM
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) Charles Barnes Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1392, updated 12th December 2019 01:43:43 AM)