Edward Bessant was born in Freemantle, Southampton, Hampshire, England on 15 June 1880. He was the son of Henry Bessant (1832-1896) and Elizabeth Ann Meech (1840-1914)..
His father was from Hampshire and his mother from Dorset and they had married in Southampton in 1867. They went on to have at least five children: Lucy (b. 1871), Charles Henry (b. 1874), Agnes Ann (b. 1875), Harry (b. 1878) and Edward.
Edward first appears on the 1881 census living at Carlton Place, Millbrook, Hampshire and his father is described as a gardener. The family are living at 44 Wellington Road, Millbrook on the 1891 census. His father died in 1896 aged 65. Edward is still listed at this address on the 1901 census with his now widowed mother and sibling Harry. Edward is described as a journeyman bread baker.
Edward was married in Southampton on 2 September 1908 to Mary Jean Gear (b. March 9, 1880 in Freemantle) and they had one son, Edward George (b. July 24, 1909) and one daughter Winifred Mary (b. June 30, 1911).
On the 1911 census Edward and his family are listed as living at 39 Shirley Park Road, Southampton. Also living with them was his widowed mother-in-law Elizabeth Gear. Edward was described as a shipping clerk.
When Edward signed on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 he gave his address as 39 Shirley Park Road, Southampton and his previous ship as the Olympic. As baggage steward he earned £4 per month.
Titanic Barber Augustus Weikman recalled: “I went forward to the steerage on ‘G’ deck and saw one of the baggage-masters [Edward Bessant], and he told me that water was coming in in the baggage room on the deck below."
Edward was lost in the Titanic disaster. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Edward's widow and children, as Class-C dependents, would receive aid from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund. His widow Mary Jean never remarried and died in Southampton in 1934 aged 54. His son Edward George was married in 1935 to Marjorie A. Matthews. He died in 1990 in Southampton aged 81. His daughter Winifred was never married and died on the Isle of Wight in 1994.