Thomas Charles Prowse Reed, better known as Charles, was born in Dawlish, Devon, England on 27 September 1857.
He was the son of Thomas Mitchell Reed (b. 1830), a baker, and Mary Ann Prowse (b. 1833), both Devonshire natives who were married in 1855. His known siblings were: Emma (b. 1856), John Prowse (b. 1859), William George (b. 1864) and Fanny Louisa (b. 1868).
He appears on the 1861 census living with his family at Manor Road in Dawlish before moving to Stoke Damerel, Devon by the time of the 1871 census, then living at 40 Monument Street. He initially followed in his father's footsteps and pursued a career as a baker.
He enlisted with the Royal Navy on 24 November 1872 aged just 15, although he made a lie and stated he was three years older. His first and only ship with the navy was the Narcissus, his term ending on 13 January 1873 after which he was put on shore rest. Described then as standing at 5' 4", he had brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. It was also stated that he had a scald scar on one of his breasts.
His movements over the next years are currently unknown but he and his brother John ended up in Australia; he was married in Sydney on 15 July 1880 to an American woman named Laura Ellen Norton (b. circa 1860) who hailed from Brooklyn, New York and who was the daughter of English parents. The couple had three children: Reginald Charles (1881-1893), Florence May (1883-1886) and Harold George (b. 1886). They seemingly lived in Brisbane, Queensland and would lose their two elder children during childhood before they returned to live in England.
The family appeared on the 1901 census living at 110 Oxford Avenue, Southampton and Charles was described as a ship's steward. That same year he was working out of Liverpool aboard Orotova, having previously served aboard Danube. When the 1911 census was conducted Charles was absent but his wife and son Harold were listed as living at 140 Derby Road, Southampton.
When he signed-on to the Titanic in Southampton on 4 April 1912, Reed gave his address as 140 Derby Road, Southampton. His previous ship was the Majestic and as a bedroom steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Reed was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Laura was never remarried and remained living in Southampton, living at 140 Derby Road for the rest of her life, dying just shy of a decade after the death of her husband on 7 April 1922.
Charles' son Harold emigrated around 1913 and settled in America, firstly in New York where he was married to a woman named Charlotte. The couple later moved to Los Angeles and Harold died in 1962.
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References and SourcesBritish Census 1881
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)