Mr Charles Proctor was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in late 1866.
He was the son of Irish parents William Proctor (b. 1838), a ship's baker, and Anna McLay (b. 1839). His father was native to Dublin and his mother to Newry, Co Down and they had married around 1860. He had five known siblings: Anne (b. 1862), Mary C. (b. 1865), William (b. 1869), Sarah Elizabeth (b. 1871) and Thomas John (b. 1874).
He first appears on the 1871 census living at 24 Rockingham Street, Kirkdale, Lancashire. What became of his parents is not certain and they do not appear on further census records. Charles and his siblings would be listed as visitors at 5 Rockingham Street by the time of the 1881 census and Charles, aged 14, had already left school and was working as a shop boy. By the time of the 1891 census Charles had already began his seafaring career and was described as a ship's cook and was living with his siblings at 56 Blair Street, Bootle.
He first appears on crew manifests in the capacity of assistant cook as early as October 1887 when aboard Aurania; his pay at the time was £2, 15s. In 1891 he was working aboard Augustine; by 1897 he was working board Majestic, then as 2nd cook, and by the start of the 1900s was working aboard Cymric, having risen through the ranks to become head chef; his pay at that time was £8. Sometime after 1901 he began serving as chef aboard Cedric; his home address at the time was 146 Fountains Road, Kirkdale, Lancashire and his monthly wage as £10.
Charles was married in West Derby in 1899 to Beatrice Sarah Bagnall (b. 1873 in Aston, Birmingham). The couple would have four children, one of whom died in infancy. Their surviving children were: Gladys Beatrice (1900-1997), Phyllis (1906-1997, later Mrs James William Pickard) and Hilda (b. 1909, later Mrs Ronald Drew).
Charles was absent from the 1901 census but his wife Beatrice and first child were listed at 146 Fountains Road, Kirkdale, Lancashire, the home of his parents-in-law, George and Sarah Bagnall. Perhaps at sea by the time of the 1911 census, Charles was again absent but his family were recorded as living at 11 Wyresdale Road, Walton, Liverpool. They would apparently move to Southampton shortly after, settling in 29 South-View Road, Shirley.
Proctor 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 29 South View Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as Chef he received monthly wages of £20 and was, after Captain Smith, the highest paid crew member aboard the ship. His younger brother William was also a head chef in the merchant marine.
Charles Proctor died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His effects, worth £219, were administered to his widow on 1 August 1912. Beatrice Sarah Proctor never remarried and elected to remain in Hampshire where she remained for the rest of her life. She later lived at The Mill House, Horsebridge, Romsey and died on 26 August 1951.
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Daily Sketch 18 April 1912