Mrs Dorothy Ann Turpin

Mrs William John Turpin (Dorothy Ann Wonnacott) was born in Plymouth, Devon, England on 25 April 1885.

She was the daughter of Arscott Wonnacott (1852-1917), a carpenter and joiner, and Mary Jane Rees (1858-1937), natives of Holsworthy, Devon who were married in 1878 who would go on to have seven children, four surviving infancy. Dorothy's siblings were: Charles Thomas (1879-1966), Lucy Jane (b. 1882, later Mrs George Gordon Gilbert) and Gertrude May (1894-1985, later Mrs Stanley Kirk).

Dorothy appears on the 1891 census with her family living at 1 Caprera (?) Place, St Andrew, Plymouth and on the 1901 census at 2 Sladden Terrace and by which time she was described as a shop assistant.

She was married to William John Turpin (b. 1882), a carpenter, on 23 March 1908 at Eldad Presbyterian Church in Plymouth. The couple lived at 59 Chaddlewood Avenue, Lipson, Plymouth for a period when later that year William secured work in the USA. They later lived in Garfield in Salt Lake City, Utah and show up there on the 1910 census. They remained childless.

In August 1911 Dorothy and her husband returned to England to visit their respective families. Her parents were by then living at 17 Endsleigh Place, Plymouth. For their return to Utah the Turpins boarded the Titanic at Southampton and travelled in second class (ticket number 11668 which cost £21). On the night of the sinking second officer Lightoller encountered a West-Country couple late on during the evacuation. Advising the lady that lifeboats were still being filled and that she should try and board one, she replied "Not on your life." It is possible that this couple were the Turpins.

The couple died in the sinking and their bodies were never recovered.

Her father died in 1917 and her mother in 1937. Her last surviving sibling Gertrude died in Barnstaple, Devon in 1985 aged 91.


Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2018) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Illustrated Western Weekly News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 

Comment and discuss

  1. avatar

    Mike said:

    Mr. and Mrs. Turpin are listed with the destination of Salt Lake City, Utah. Is it known whether they were Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)? If so, could they perhaps have been traveling in company with Mrs. Corbett, the daughter of a Mormon bishop?

  2. David H. said:

    As of April 1999 the church records available through the family search program and the "IGI" for baptisms of living individuals did not list either Turpin while they do list Mrs. Corbett. This does not eliminate the possibility of their membership as not all the Europan records from that time have been made available for computer searching. Records are available on both microfilm and microfiche if you are interested. They would most likely be under "British Mission" for the area where they were from.

  3. daran emond said:

    Mr & Mrs Turpin are distant relatives of mine and as far as my family remember they were christian and not mormon. Unfortunately over the years the tragedy was hidden from the children in my family and is now only begining to be researched if any one could help with information we would be very grateful.

Leave a comment


Laura Barbetti, Australia
Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Arthur Merchant, USA
Graham Naylor, Plymouth
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Anita West, New Zealand

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Dorothy Ann Turpin (ref: #584, last updated: 11th September 2015, accessed 16th January 2021 14:22:27 PM)