Charles Frederick Back was born in Plymouth, Devon, England in 1875 and his birth was registered in the first quarter of that year. He was the son of John Back (1851-1931) and Henrietta Dulling (1852-1896). His father came from South Down, Cornwall and his mother from Warkleigh, Devon and they married in Plymouth in 1870.
Charles had eight known siblings: John Henry (b. 1873), Henrietta Jane (b. 1878), Florence Fanny (b. 1880), Edwin Herbert (b. 1883), Frank (b. 1884), Alfred (b. 1889), Percival Ashton (b. 1891) and Kathleen Elsie (b. 1894).
Sometime after 1875 the Back family moved from Plymouth to London and on the 1881 census they are living at 366 Corfield Street, Bethnal Green where his father is listed as a bootmaker. On the 1891 census the family have shifted to 68 Buckhurst (?) Street, Bethnal Green. Charles is listed as a compositor apprentice.
Charles' mother Henrietta died in Hackney in 1896 aged 45 and his father was remarried three years later to Annie Augusta Fuller, née Troon, a widow originally from Peckham who had three children from her first marriage: Stanley, Percy and Charles.
On the 1901 census Charles is absent, perhaps at sea, but his family, including step-brothers and his own siblings, are listed at 8 Minson Road, Hackney.
Charles was married in Gravesend, Kent in late 1901 to Sarah Jessie Davie (b. 1871 in Charmouth, Dorset) but they had on children.
On the 1911 census Charles and his life are listed as living at 38 Weymouth Terrace, Southampton and Charles was described as a mariner in the mercantile marine.
He was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 38 Weymouth Terrace, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic. As a first class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Back died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow Sarah never remarried and resettled in Swindon, Wiltshire where she died in 1939.
Geoff Whitfield, UK
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)